The Story of... Victoria Cross winner Corporal Joseph Kaeble

In terms of price appreciation, the value of militaria has increased about fivefold over the last two decades - and the most sought after medal remains the Victoria Cross.

Earlier this month, Spink held its sale of Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals and Militaria in London. It was easily the greatest collectible medals sale of the year, so far.

Among its successful sold lots were two Victoria Crosses: the first-ever VC awarded to a British soldier, Major J S Knox, for his services in the Crimean War; and the VC of the legendary Wing Commander H G Malcolm.

Thanks to the passion of collectors and enthusiasts, including the devoted expert Lord Ashcroft, VCs rightly demand the highest prices at auction.

Back in 1990, a VC was worth around £10,000. Twenty years later, the record price for the medal achieved at auction is £491,567.

That example was posthumously awarded, in 2006, to New Zealand-born Captain Alfred John Shout, who led a bayonet charge against Turkish machine gun fire at Gallipoli in 1915.

Later, in November 2009, the only VC and bar - or 'double VC' - to be awarded during the First World War - and one of only three awarded in history - was sold for an incredible £1.5m.

To mark Spink's successful sale, this week's 'Story of...' is about Canadian Corporal Joseph Kaeble, himself awarded the VC for his bravery in the Great War.

Corporal Kaeble was in charge of a Lewis gun section during a strong enemy attack, during which all but one of his section became casualties.

The barrage lifted, and about 50 of the enemy advanced. In response, Kaeble jumped over the parapet with his Lewis gun, emptying one magazine after another at the enemy...

Despite being hit several times, Kaeble continued to fire and successfully blocked the enemy advance, until he himself fell, mortally wounded.

The above video tells Corporal Kaeble's astonishing story, a tale of true bravery against all odds.



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