A GLOBAL search has been launched by Bury’s Fusilier Museum to solve the mystery of a missing medal.

The ambitious hunt is on to track down the Victoria Cross (VC) in time for a new exhibition to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

The exhibition, titled 18 for 18, will open in October this year and aims to include all eighteen Victoria Crosses which were awarded to the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Great


If the search is successful, it will be the first time in 100 years that all 18 VC’s have been together and on display in one place.

The missing medal belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Bertram Best-Dunkley who was born on August 3 1890 and died on August 5 1917. He was a temporary lieutenant-colonel in the 2/5th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers.

During the First World War on July 31 1917 at Wieltje, Belgium, he was in command of his battalion when they came under attack with machine gun fire at close range.

Lt.-Col. Best-Dunkley dashed forward, rallied his leading waves, and personally led them to the assault of these positions, which, despite heavy losses, were carried.

He was awarded the VC for bravery and devotion to duty but died from his wounds a few days later.

Sarah Stevenson, collections officer at the Fusilier Museum said: “The location of the missing Best-Dunkley medal is a mystery.

“It seems to have vanished but someone must know of its whereabouts or still be in possession of it.

“This is an ambitious, global search to try and find the missing medal but we are determined to succeed so it can take its rightful place alongside the other 17 VC’s in the exhibition.”

The medal was last seen in Canada in 1983 when it was owned by Jack Stenabaugh of Huntsville,


He offered it for auction but it was never actually put forward so the medal is still believed to be in private ownership.

The museum currently has six Victoria Crosses — the highest military decoration awarded for valour — in its collection.

Eight will be loaned to the museum from Lord Ashcroft’s private collection of VC’s which is the largest collection of its kind in the world and currently on display at the Imperial War Museum.

Three of the medals are still in private ownership and will be loaned to the museum for the duration of the exhibition.

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration for valour and soldiers from the Lancashire Fusiliers have been awarded a total of 19, 18 earned during the First World War.

Colonel Brian Gorski, chairman of The Fusilier Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be able to develop this exciting exhibition to commemorate the end of the First World War and hope the general public get behind us to try and find the missing medal.

"We are extremely grateful to Lord Ashcroft for his generous loan of 8 VC’s to ensure the exhibition's success and we look forward to announcing further updates in the next few months.”

Lord Ashcroft said: "I am delighted that the eight VCs from my collection will be seen and appreciated by a wide audience at the Fusilier Museum.

"One of the key reasons that I have built up the world's largest VC collection is to champion acts of outstanding bravery and this exhibition will achieve


"I wish the Fusilier Museum the best of luck in its attempts to locate the 18th and final VC that was awarded to the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Great War."

The Fusilier Museum in Bury, Lancashire, is home to the collections of XX The Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

It documents more than 300 years of history and heritage through permanent and temporary exhibitions and tells the fascinating stories of the people who have served and continue to service in the regiments.

Anyone with any information about the missing VC can contact the Fusilier Museum on 0161 763 8962.