Glasgow man left “in tears” after being told his father’s WWII medal is worth £250,000
By News Desk
A Glasgow man was brought to tears upon learning that a medal earned by his father during World War II is valued at £250,000 during the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow filming in Glasgow’s Pollok Park.
The medal was a recognition for the valorous actions of his father and Sikh soldier Naik Gian Singh in Burma (present-day Myanmar) during the Second World War. His family was in the dark about the specific acts of heroism that led to this commendation until the filming of the documentary.
According to GlasgowLive, Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Smith spoke to the son of the brave soldier. He said: “My dad never talked to us about the story. He used to get emotional whenever he talked about it. Obviously, he lost a lot of his friends in that battle.”
The Mirror reported that Smith then disclosed that he had come across a book containing information about the reasons behind Naik’s Victoria Cross, the most prestigious bravery award bestowed by Great Britain. He said: “Firing his Tommy gun and throwing grenades, Naik Gian Singh made two lone charges against the Japanese in Burma, it was essential that the enemy be dislodged from this area and when a Punjab platoon from a nearby village came under very heavy fire Naik Gian Singh ordered his machine gunners to cover him as he rushed the enemy foxholes.”
Smith continued: “Our tanks had now moved up and come under fire but Naik Gian Singh, who had sustained several wounds, again rushed forward and annihilated the Japanese anti-tank gun crew capturing the weapon single-handed. He then led his section in clearing all enemy positions.”
The proud Singh family looked on as Smith said: “Wow, I know these things happen really in the heat of the moment, but that still takes some bravery to do that. To be that involved in the battle and to just keep going, even though he’s wounded, is absolutely incredible.”
He then proceeded to elaborate on the significance of the Victoria Cross, originally introduced as a symbol of bravery by Queen Victoria in 1856, and a distinction that has been conferred upon fewer than 1,400 individuals to date.
He said: “As a medal collector, this is the ultimate moment because there is only one medal really that every medal collector craves to have in their collection, it is the Victoria Cross, the highest award this country has for bravery.
“The medal itself is made of bronze and when this was instituted back in 1865 by Queen Victoria, one of the things she said was ‘I do not want this medal to be made of something precious, because it’s not about the medal, it’s about the deed behind the medal. That’s the important thing.”
The son had no idea what the medal was worth. When asked if he knew about it, he said: “Nope. My dad never wanted to be parted from it ever.” He and the rest of the attendees were visibly surprised when Smith told him: “It’s a quarter of a million pounds.”
Despite its worth, Singh’s son emphasised that he would never consider selling the medal, as it held immeasurable sentimental value to his late father. He added: “Even if it’s worth two million, 10 million, we won’t part with it. No way.”
Smith responded: “I can understand that. They are some of the most iconic things that we have in this country for our military, all across the world. And I will tell you now that meeting your dad and his medals today has been a true honour. Thank you so much.”
Following the valuation, he shared with viewers that due to the Victoria Cross medals’ soaring monetary value, these prestigious awards are primarily showcased in museums, safeguarded behind armoured glass, making them a rare sight outside of such settings. He added: “So when they do come out, it’s just an amazing moment to actually see one for real in the flesh”.
The guest also revealed that he was “in tears” when told how invaluable the medal is. He added: “The medals will be going straight to the bank [for security]. Then I think we as a family will collectively decide they should go to a museum so people can see and appreciate what my father did in the Second World War.”