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Ashcroft VCs at the Imperial War Museum

Posted on Tue, 8 July 2008 by Phil Mussell - General News, Medal News

Lord Ashcroft’s Victoria Cross collection - the largest in the world - is to go on public display following his £5 million donation to the Imperial War Museum

The world’s largest collection of Victoria Crosses (VCs), belonging to the Michael A Ashcroft Trust, is to be displayed publicly for the first time in a new gallery at Imperial War Museum London

The 152 medals, which range from the Crimean to the Falklands wars, will be displayed alongside the 50 VCs and 29 George Crosses (GCs) already held by the Museum.

The medals to go on show in the new gallery are the result of a collection of VCs first started 22 years ago by Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer, international businessman and philanthropist. The new display, in what will be called the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, is due to open in the autumn of 2010.

It is estimated the new gallery will cost £5 million and the project has been made possible by a donation from Lord Ashcroft. The collection of VCs is also worth several millions of pounds.

Among the medals to go on display are the VC awarded to Lieutenant (later Rear Admiral) John Bythesea, who during the Crimean War became only the second man to earn and receive the award; the medal to Lieutenant (later Captain) William Leefe Robinson, who shot down the first Zeppelin over British soil during the First World War; and the posthumous medal to Sergeant Ian McKay, of the Parachute Regiment, which is one of only two VCs awarded during the Falklands War.