21 August 2014

Reeman Dansie - militaria auction 28th August

 
 
Lot 487 (above) also includes a death plaque. The soldier, 301617 Rifleman William Frederick Tindley of the London Rifle Brigade was killed on 1st July 1916 so you can probably add a 0 to the £100-£150 estimate.
 

6 August 2014

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred


As everyone goes First World War commemoration-crazy (and rightly so), a reminder that you'll find information on the ubiquitous WW1 trio on the following British Army Medals pages:

1914 Star
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Also see this post which details dates of issue for the 1914 Star, 1914/15 Star, BWM and VM.

Finally, don't forget the Territorial Force War Medal.

24 June 2014

Dix Noonan Webb auction, 25th-26th June


Lots of goodies coming under the hammer in this week's DNW auction including the group pictured above: a Delhi Durbar, 1914 Star trio and plaque to 9432 Pte William Smith of the Black Watch who DoW on 9th May 1915. This lot (866) is estimated at between £400 and £500 but will inevitably realise more than this. Visit the Dix Noonan Webb website to browse the catalogue or download a PDF version.

Image courtesy Dix Noonan Webb.

Footnote 26th June 2014.
I see that the above realised £460 at Hammer which means that DNW's estimate was spot on. Mind you, add buyer's premium at 20% and then VAT on top of that and the price moves north of £570; probably still a fair price for this group (albeit I find myself wanting to straighten the BWM).

12 February 2014

Dixons Gazette 77 - due soon

 
 
I love these multi-campaign groups and this one, albeit missing its LSGC, would be a good one to own.  It's currently up with Dixons for £1800. The write-up reads:
 
"William James Smith...  was born in the Parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Middlesex [and]originally enlisted in the 54th Foot in September 1870, aged 24 years. Subsequently advanced to Armourer Sergeant, he transferred to the 72nd Highlanders in February 1877 and witnessed active service in India and Afghanistan, October 1871-August 1882 and in Egypt, August-October 1882..."
 
Dixons' next catalogue is due out soon.


8 February 2014

Robert Victor Chapman's duplicate 1914 Stars


I picked these up on a well-known internet auction site a few months ago.  What's unusual here is the fact that the man apparently has two 1914 Stars, one correctly named to R V CHAPMAN:

 
the other incorrectly named to R V CHAPHAM:

 
The man has two medal index cards, neither of which shed any light on the duplicate. The first is incorrectly indexed as R Y CHAPMAN:
 
 
The second is correctly indexed as Robert V CHAPMAN.  Not a CHAPHAM in sight:

 
Despite the lack of evidence, I don't find anything deeply suspicious about the duplicate 1914 Star. I'm guessing that Robert Chapman received his incorrectly impressed Star and asked that a correctly impressed replacement be sent.  Perhaps he was asked to return the original, perhaps he wasn't; maybe his service record at the Guards' archives would tell me more.  In any event, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.  The impressed letters look correct on the CHAPHAM medal - note 1 / G. Gds. as opposed to I / G. Gds: on the CHAPMAN medal, but I tell myself that the impressing is different on the CHAPMAN medal because it's a later issue.  In any event, what of the man himself?
 
There is no service records that I could find on Ancestry but his number indicates that he joined the Grenadier Guards between 16th and 19th January 1912.  As he was born on 16th May 1897 (and baptised a couple of weeks later at Cadoxton-Juxta-Barry, Glamorgan), he can only have been 14 years old, a boy soldier, when he joined the Guards.  His medal index card notes that he arrived overseas on 6th October 1914 (still only seventeen years old) but interestingly there is no indication of entitlement to a clasp.  Does this suggest that although he arrived overseas he was not under enemy fire during the qualifying period?
 
He appears to have come through the war unscathed and on 31st December 1919 married

Ellison M Bamon at Pontypridd, Glamorgan.  His marriage certificate notes his age as 22 and profession as policeman (his father George is recorded as a baker). A son, Robert George Chapman, was born on 17th July 1921 (and I also purchased his Second World War medals in a separate transaction with the same vendor, below). 



Robert Victor Chapman died in 1976 aged 78 years.  His wife Ellison, born on 4th August 1897, survived him by nine years, dying in 1985.  Their son Robert died in September 2000.
 

14 November 2012

Charles Thomas Bothwell MC


I've had this photo for a while and until today I didn't know who this officer was.  This afternoon, I discovered the self-same photo on somebody else's tree (thanks Ancestry) and now know that this man is Lt Charles Thomas Bothwell MC (1887-1969).  His son Stan would later marry my father's cousin Olive and, whilst on active service, would be tragically killed in a road traffic accident in England in 1941. Olive never re-married and claimed a war widow's pension until she died in 2008 at the age of 93.

As for Charles Thomas Bothwell, he arrived in the Balkan Theatre of war as a sergeant, was commissioned second lieutenant on the 25th September 1916 and was awarded the Military Cross the following year.  His citation was published in the LG on the 16th August 1917 and reads:


I'd love to know where his medals are and reunite them with that of his son's.  Anyone know of their whereabouts?

7 April 2012

Lost Medals Australia



An honourable mention here to Lost Medals Australia and the associated Lost Medals Australia blog. Run by Lt Col Glyn Llanwarne, Lost Medals Australia has, since 2000, been returning lost medals to veterans or their families. This is a free service supported through donations of 'found' medals.  To date, an impressive 1111 medals have been returned.

The image on this post has been taken from the Lost Medals Australia blog and the fascinating story of the return of a First World War pair owned by a former mayor of St Kilda. Well done, Glyn, and thanks for following this blog.

6 April 2012

203507 Pte L A Harris, Essex Regiment



I picked up the Victory Medal to this man about eighteen months ago; part of a job lot from the second-hand market in Chelmsford.  I wrote about Stephen Smeeton - another component of the job lot - yesterday.  This is Leslie Harris's story.

The medal index card gives this man's name as Leslie, and little else.  He was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals and so did not arrive overseas until 1916 at the earliest.  His number - 203507 - belongs to the series allocated to the 4th Battalion, Essex Regiment, and I know from my own research into army numbers that this number was not issued until after May 1917. 

There are surprisingly few candidates for Leslie A Harris recorded in the GRO's birth records. The most compelling candidate appears to be Leslie Arnold Harris who was born in Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire and who appears on the 1911 census as a 12-year-old living with his family at 64 Salisbury Avenue, Rochford, Essex.  This would have made him an 18-year-old conscript in 1917.

The owner of my Victory medal certainly survived the war and, I believe, died in 1961.  There is a death for a 61-year-old Leslie A Harris recorded in the Brentwood District in the June quarter of that year.

Cap badge courtesy of North-East Medals.

5 April 2012

B-2966 Pte S S G Smeeton, Rifle Brigade


I picked up this man's Victory Medal some while back and thought it might be an idea to post what I know about him.  His medal index card tells us the following:

1. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal
2. He was awarded silver war badge number 151770 which was mislaid, was found by the police,returned to him and subsequently acknowledged on the 20th June 1917
3. He arrived overseas in France on the 21st July 1915
4. He was a corporal when he stepped off the boat in France but was subsequently reduced in rank
5. He must have been discharged from the army prior to 20th June 1917 (see 2. above)
6. His British War Medal was incorrectly impressed and was returned on the 18th February 1921.  It was re-issued on the 21st December that year.

No service record survives for this man but the B prefix indicates that this man was either a reservist whose number had been re-allocated (which, incidentally, according to Queen's and King's Regulations, it shouldn't have been) or a time-expired regular who was re-enlisting.  I could find no surviving service record in WO 97 but his silver war badge roll entry confirms that he enlisted on the 1st September 1914 and was discharged on the 20th March 1917 as a result of wounds (rather than sickness).

A search through birth records yields one candidate: Stephen Samuel G Smeeton whose birth was registered in the West Ham district in the September quarter of 1885.  I have not located him on either the 1891 or 1901 census returns but he appears on the 1911 census as a 25 year-old stevedore living with his parents and five siblings at 68 Canton Street, Poplar.  A widowed sister-in-law, Bertha Kershaw, is also recorded and it is noted that his mother had given birth to eleven children, nine of whom were still living in 1911.  Stephen is recorded on the census as Stephen S J Smeeton and he is the only child who is recorded as having been born in West Ham.  The next youngest sibling is Albert James Smeeton aged 20, and therefore born around 1890, whose place of birth is noted as Poplar.  Presumably then, the family moved from West Ham to Poplar at some point between 1885 and 1890. Stephen is the only member of the family noted at that address on the 1915 electoral roll.

As regards Stephen's military service, let's assume he joined the army at the age of 18.  This would have made his year of enlistment as 1903 and a time when general short service enlistment terms were three years with the colours and nine on the reserve.  So perhaps he served until 1906 and was on the reserve when war was declared.  This doesn't seem right to me - his date of entry into France seems just too late for a much-needed reservist - but I'll have to content myself with this mystery in the absence of documentary evidence to the contrary.

The year after he was discharged from the army, Stephen Smeeton married Gwendoline E E Hiorns in Hackney.  Their marriage was recorded in the September quarter of that year. He and Gwendoline appear on the 1919 and 1920 electoral rolls living at 167 Mandeville Street, Hackney but by 1922 Stephen is living at 50 Spring Lane, Stamford Hill (Gwendoline does not appear) and he's still there, alone, in 1923 and 1924.  As well as confirming Stephen's address, the electoral rolls also give us his full name: Stephen Samuel George Smeeton.

I could find no evidence of issue from Stephen's marriage to Gwendoline Hiorns and after 1924 the trail goes cold until 1937 when Stephen Smeeton's death at the age of 51 is recorded in the registration district for Ongar, in Essex.

9 March 2012

The Burma Star


Qualification:
Awarded for service in the Burma campaign between 11th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 inclusive.

Description:
Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star. The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below. The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE BURMA STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

Ribbon:
32mm wide, dark blue with a wide red stripe (denoting the Commonwealth) down the centre and two orange stripes (denoting the sun) on either side. This ribbon, in common with all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

Suspension:
A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Naming:
Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Clasps:
One: PACIFIC. Personnel qualifying for both the Burma Star and the Pacific Star were awarded the Star to which they first became entitled and a clasp denoting the second. When only ribbons were worn, a silver rose emblem signified the award of the clasp.

Qualification by service is listed below. Official visits did not qualify for this star unless these amounted to thirty days or more.

ROYAL NAVY & MERCHANT NAVY
Service at sea in the Bay of Bengal "... enclosed by a line running from the southernmost part of Ceylon for a disatnce of 300 miles south, thence to a point 300 miles west of the southernmost point of Sumatra, and continuing east to the western side of the Sundra Strait. The Malaca straits are included." (British Battles and Medals).

The 1939-1945 Star must have been earned by six months' service in operations before elegibility for the Burma Star could begin. (BBM)

Persons entering operationl service during the last six months of the war qualified for the star if they did not subsequently serve in another operational area. In this case the prior time qualification of six months did not apply. Naval personnel serving ashore qualified under the same rules as army personnel.

ARMY
Qualifying service in any part of Burma, the provinces of Bengal and Assam between 1st May 1942 and 2nd September 1945, China and Malaya between 16th February 1942 and 2nd September 1945.

RAF
Awarded to RAF personnel who had completed at least one operational sortie. Non-aircrew qualified under army rules.

Acknowledgements
Photo courtesy of medal auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.  The group, awarded to Sergeant Thomas Henry Harris of the Royal Artillery comprises a G.VI.R. Military Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star; and Defence and War Medals. It was sold at auction in September 2011 for £1450 (hammer price).Text assistance from British Battles & Medals.

3 March 2012

The Pacific Star


Qualification:
Awarded for service in Pacific theatre of operations between 8th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 inclusive.

Description:
Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star. The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below. The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE PACIFIC STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

Ribbon:
32mm wide, a central yellow stripe (symbolising the desert) and two dark green stripes either side (symbolising forests). The red edges and light blue and dark blue stripes represent the army, air force and navy respectively. This ribbon, in common with all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

Suspension:
A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Naming:
Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Clasps:
One: BURMA. Personnel qualifying for both the Pacific Star and the Burma Star were awarded the Star to which they first became entitled and a clasp denoting the second. When only ribbons were worn, a silver rose emblem signified the award of the clasp.

Qualification by service is listed below. Official visits did not qualify for this star unless these amounted to thirty days or more.

ROYAL NAVY
Service at sea in the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and Indian Ocean east of the line running south of Singapore. Except in the case of those who served in the Pacific for less than six months after 2nd March 1945, the Pacific Star was only awarded to those who had served at least six months and qualified for the 1939-45 Star. Naval personnel serving ashore qualified under the same rules as army personnel.

ARMY
Qualifying service was restricted to territories (except Burma) which had been invaded.

RAF
Awarded to RAF personnel who had completed at least one operational sortie over the appropriate land or sea area.

Acknowledgements
Photo courtesy of medal auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.  Text assistance from British Battles &amp.

18 February 2012

The Africa Star


Qualification:
Awarded for one or more day's service in North Africa between 10th June 1940 and 12th May 1943 inclusive.

Description:
Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star. The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below. The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE AFRICA STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

Ribbon:
32mm wide, one central red stripe on pale buff and with two narrow stripes, one of dark blue, one of light blue. This ribbon, in common with all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

Suspension:
A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Naming:
Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Clasps:
Three: 8TH ARMY, 1ST ARMY and NORTH AFRICA 1942-43. Note that only one clasp was awarded to any one individual. Personnel qualifying for more than one clasp were awarded the first one to which they were entitled.  A silver rose emblem worn on a ribbon denoted the NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 clasp; a figure 8 denoting 8TH ARMY and a figure 1 denoting 1ST ARMY.

Qualification by service is listed below. Note that visits and inspections to or in the areas listed below did not qualify personnel for the award of this star unless these amounted to thirty days or more.

ROYAL NAVY
Any service at sea in the Mediterranean between the qualifying dates and/or service in support of the campaigns in Eritrea, Abyssinia and Somaliland between 10th June 1940 and 27th November 1941. Naval service ashore in the same area as Army operations also qualified.

MERCHANT NAVY
Those Merchant Seamen who took part in operations off the coast of Morocco between 8th November 1942 and 12th May 1943.

ARMY
Those serving in North Africa on the establishment of an operational unit. Service in West Africa was not included, but service in Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea, Sudan and Malta was.

RAF
Those RAF personnel who landed in or flew over Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea, Sudan or Malta (excluding West Africa) or territory occupied by the enemy.

Acknowledgements:

The photograph is courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb and shows the group awarded to Captain Harold John March of the Royal Army Service Corps. Captain March's medal group comprises the British Empire Medal, 1939-45 Star; Africa Star (with 8TH ARMY clasp), Defence and War Medals (with M.I.D. oak leaf), Coronation medal 1937. The group, sold at auction in December 2011 for £250 (hammer price).

British Battles & Medals for chapter and verse on this medal.

5 February 2012

The Air Crew Europe Star


Qualification:
Awarded for operational flying from United Kingdom air bases over Europe between 3rd September 1939 and 5th June 1944.

Description:
Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star.  The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below.  The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE AIR CREW EUROPE STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

Ribbon:
32mm wide, light blue with black edges and two yellow stripes (symoblising continuous service by day and night). This ribbon, in common with all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

Suspension:
A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Naming:
Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Clasps:
Two: ATLANTIC and FRANCE AND GERMANY. Note that only one or the other, not both, could be awarded to the Atlantic Star.

Those personnel who qualified for the Atlantic Star and/or the France and Germany Star were entitled to wear the clasp for which the second star would have been awarded. When just ribbons were worn, a silver rose on the Atlantic Star denoted the award of a clasp.

Acknowledgements:
The photograph is courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb and shows the group awarded to 1056077 Sergeant E. R. Mitchell of the Royal Air Force.  His medal group comprises the Distinguished Flying Medal, G.VI.R; 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star (with ATLANTIC clasp) and the War Medal 1939-45.  The group, together with the sweetheart brooch illustrated, was offered for auction in September 2010 but was unsold on the day.

British Battles & Medals for chapter and verse on this medal.

The Atlantic Star


Qualification:
Awarded to commemorate the Battle of The Atlantic between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945.

Description:
Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star.  The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below.  The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE ATLANTIC STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

Ribbon:
32mm wide, equal bands of (from left) watered blue, white and sea-green (symoblising the waters of the Atlantic). This ribbon, in common with all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

Suspension:
A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Naming:
Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Clasps:
Two: AIR CREW EUROPE and FRANCE AND GERMANY. Note that only one or the other, not both, could be awarded to the Atlantic Star.

Those personnel who qualified for the Atlantic Star AND the Air Crew Europe Star and/or the France and Germany Star were entitled to wear the clasp for which the second star would have been awarded. When just ribbons were worn, a silver rose on the Atlantic Star denoted the award of a clasp.

Acknowledgements:
The photograph is courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb and shows the group awarded to 530644 Flight Sergeant Andrew Brown of the Royal Air Force who completed 40 operational sorties including 18 sorties to Berlin, the famed “Big City”, as a Mosquito Navigator

Flight Sergeant Brown's medal group comprises the Distinguished Flying Medal, G.VI.R; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star (with copy clasp AIR CREW EUROPE); Africa Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, and Mentioned in Dispatches oak leaf; The group, sold at auction in September 2011 for £1700 (hammer price).

British Battles & Medals for chapter and verse on this medal.

4 February 2012

The 1939-45 Star


Qualification:
Awarded for service in the Second World War between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945.

Description:
Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star.  The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below this.  The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE 1939-1945 STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

Ribbon:
32mm wide, equal bands of dark blue (symoblising the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising the Army) and light blue (symbolising the Royal Air Force).  This ribbon, and all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

Suspension:
A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Naming:
Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Clasps:
One: Battle of Britain.

Acknowledgements:
The photograph is courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb and shows the group awarded to Squadron leader N J Wheeler of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who flew Hurricanes in No 615 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.  The group, sold at auction in December 2011 for £2900 (hammer price) comprises the Air Force Cross, G.VI.R., 1939-45 Star (with copy clasp Battle of Britain); Air Crew Europe Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Air Efficiency Award, G.VI.R., 1st issue. 
 
British Battles & Medals for assistance with the text.

12 January 2012

Punjab and Sutlej Campaign Medals


I was responding to a query the other day from somebody whose relative had died in India in the early 1850s and who had probably served during the Punjab and Sutlej campaigns with the 29th Regiment of Foot.

The Sutlej Campaign Medal and The Punjab Campaign Medal make a very nice pair that would grace any collection (and certainly don't grace my own yet).  DNW sold a pair to a 29th Foot man in 2002 for £800 and he'd got a clasp for Sobraon on his Sutlej medal and Chilianwala and Goojerat on his Punjab medal.

The pair illustrated above show the same entitlement as those awarded to the 29th Foot man but these were awarded to Captain E A C D'Oyly of the Bengal Horse Artillery and were sold by DNW at auction for £4800 in June 2005.  You can read more about Captain D'Oyly on the DNW site.  Image courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.

2 January 2012

5942061 RQMS John William Beeby Gale, 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment


Medals: 1914 Star (with clasp) Trio, Army LSGC.

A few weeks before Christmas I was delighted to acquire the medals of a man I had first come across in 1981. The image above appeared in an autograph album kept by a Broomfield-born VAD nurse, Edith Oliver. She had moved to Chailey in Sussex before the First World War and worked as a Lady's Companion to Margaret Blencowe in the village. She joined the local VAD detachment - Sussex 54 VAD - and between 1914 and 1918 she nursed at two auxiliary hospitals: Hickwells in Chailey and Beechlands (or Beechlands House) at the neighbouring village of Newick. John Gale was one of many men - albeit probably one of the most senior NCOs - who she cared for during her time with the VAD detachment. This is John Gale's story.

He was born at Ellington, Huntingdonshire in September 1877, the son of Angelina Gale (nee Smith) and Charles Gale who had married at Huntingdon in 1871. On 23rd October 1905 he enlisted with the Bedfordshire Regiment aged 18 years and one month. He gave his trade as farm labourer and became 8355 Pte John W B Gale.

In all probability, John Gale's military career would have begun with 10 weeks' drill at the regimental depot at Bedford followed by two years' service in the UK. This would then have been followed by service overseas and by 1907 the 2nd Battalion was in Gibraltar, would move to Bermuda in 1910, followed by South Africa in 1912. In that year, Lance-Corporal Gale, serving with A Company, is recorded in the regimental magazine The Wasp as a contributor to the 2nd Battalion benevolent fund.

When war was declared with Germany in August 1914 the 2nd Battalion was stationed at Robert's Heights, Pretoria. It was mobilised on the 10th August and Gale and the rest of the battalion set sail for England aboard HMT Kenilworth on the 27th of that month. After a brief stop at the island of St Helena, the battalion arrived at Southampton on the 19th September where it was assigned to the 21st Infantry Brigade in the 7th Division. The battalion sailed on two ships, SS Cornishman and SS Winefredian, arriving at Zeebrugge on the 6th October.

John Gale's medal index card shows that he landed overseas as a lance-sergeant and records held at Bedfordshire County Record Office note that he was overseas until the 2nd November 1914 when, according to his own autograph entry in Nurse Oliver's album, he was wounded. Records at the Bedfordshire archives note that his wound was a GSW (gunshot wound) to the chest. It seems likely that he was wounded on the 31st October, this from the 2nd Battalion War Diary (transcribed and augmented by Steve Fuller):

31 Oct 1914
Near Inverness Copse. Early in the morning about 2.30 A.M. orders were received to occupy a small fir wood about 250 yards in front of our line which was then held by L.North Lancs.R. Captain Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] & 2 platoons of C Company were ordered to hold this position. This wood had been subjected to heavy shell fire from two sides during the previous day. Shell fire started as soon as it was light. It soon became evident that the enemy were advancing in force on the left of the wood held by Captain Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] & also on the right. The Adjutant went to report the situation to Brigade H.Q.& almost immediately on his return to Battalion H.Q. 2 orderlies arrived with an order from the Brigadier to retire fighting towards MENIN-YPRES Road. Part of the Battalion moved back in compliance of this order. An order was sent to Captain Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] to retire from the fir wood upon the Battalion. Part of the Battalion remained in the trenches till late in the afternoon about 4.30 p.m. when they were brought back & established a line which they held till relieved on Nov.5/6. The losses were very severe on this day. The C.O. Major J.M.Traill [John Murray TRAILL] & 2nd in Command Major R.P.Stares [Robert Percy STARES] remained in the trenches & were shot at short range. Lieut.Paterson [John Agar PATERSON] was killed in the fir wood. Lieut.Gott [Gilbert Ewart GOTT] was wounded in the Fir wood. Captain A.B.Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] was twice wounded in the fir wood & captured. Captain C.S.Garnet Botfield [Charles Sidney GARNETT-BOTFIELD] was severely wounded. 2/Lieut.W.Dixon [William DIXON] wounded. Captain E.H.Lyddon [Ernest Hugh LYDDON] missing [Comment; later assumed KIA]. Lieut.Anderson [Wilfred Cruttenden ANDERSON] missing. The Battalion strength on night October 31st-1st November was 4 officers, 350-400 other ranks. 4 officers were Captain & Adjutant C.C.Foss [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO], 2/Lieut.B.H.Waddy [Bentley Herbert WADDY, MC], Lieut.S.D.Mills [Stephen Douglas MILLS, MC], Transport Officer, Captain & Quarter Master H.Cressingham [Hugh CRESSINGHAM]. [Comment; also killed was Lieutenant Donald Godrid Campbell THOMSON] A short line was taken up and entrenched.


The wound was severe enough to keep John Gale in England for almost a year. He returned to The Western Front on the 19th October 1915 (having fortuitously missed the Battle of Loos) and rejoined the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment at Bourecq.

In December 1915 he 7th Division’s 21st Brigade was assigned to the 30th Division, its four battalions of regular soldiers being mixed in with the newly created (and inexperienced) Pals battalions. The Bedfordshire’s new brigade was the 89th and they shared it with Kitchener volunteers from the 17th, 19th and 20th King’s Liverpool Regiment.

The 2nd Bedfords played a supporting role on 1st July 1916, following the 17th and 20th King’s as they moved through cut barbed wire to take their objectives as planned. The other brigades had also enjoyed similar successes and by the end of the day the division had taken all of its objectives and could claim the distinction of having captured the first three field guns of the battle as well as Montauban, the first village to fall.

On 10th July, orders were received that the 2nd Bedfords would attack Trones Wood the following day. Having taken Bernafay Wood almost without a struggle, Trones Wood was proving a much tougher nut to crack. Initial attacks on 8th July by battalions from the 21st Brigade had successfully established a foothold on the south eastern edge of the wood, but subsequent attacks had either failed or been met by stubborn resistance in a see-saw series of engagements which saw portions of Trones Wood switch from German to English control and then back to German. By the time John Gale and The Bedfords moved up to play their part in the action, the wood was still largely in German hands.

Despite the intensity of artillery and machine gun fire concentrated in the area over the previous three days, Trones Wood was still thick with undergrowth that made it difficult to see more than four yards in front. Into this tangle, the Bedfords had advanced at 3:10am, getting to within 400 yards of the south eastern edge of the wood before being spotted by German machine gunners. Thirty five minutes later they had managed to reach the southern end but not without sustaining many casualties on the way in. Two decades later, in a letter published in The Great War I Was There, Private E G Robinson, also of A Company, wrote:

“The first thing that greeted me was a pair of legs, but no body, cut off as clean as with a knife. Farther in, the dead lay in heaps, you couldn’t move without stepping on them… The wood was very dense so we could not see far ahead. We struck off towards the edge of the wood and we came to a clearing where we could see a trench and it was lousy with Germans. At this point we lost touch with the officer and never found what happened to him so we returned to the main body and reported… The branches of trees were flying about as bad as shells and bullets. We were troubled quite a lot by snipers who were up in the trees at the far end of the wood. Captain Tyler said we had better try to drive them out, so he took our platoon forward with that idea. But Jerry had other ideas, and promptly let loose hell: we dived from one tree to another, and the bullets were cutting the leaves and bark round our ears… Eventually we got back to our funk holes with the remainder of the Company. There was no rest of any sort, what with bombing, sniping, machine guns, shells, wounded and dying screaming, the stink of dead bodies, it was Bedlam.”

The remainder of the day followed the now familiar pattern of attack and counter attack, the Bedfords, supported by two companies of the 17th King’s managing to hold on to the southern portion of Trones Wood until relieved on the morning of the 13th by a battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment. The operation cost the Bedfords 244 casualties including John Gale who had been hit before even getting as far as the wood. He gets a mention in the battalion war diary entry for the 11th July:

"Whilst the men were digging in, strong patrols worked the interior of the wood collecting stragglers and bombing the enemy in their Trenches and Dug-outs, and accounted for a great number. "A" & "B" Companies were leading Companies in the Advance at 3.10 a.m. and were particularly unfortunate in losing many N.C.Os on entering the wood, including the C.S.M. of "A" Company (C.S.M.GALE)."

Bedfordshire archives records note that John Gale received a shell wound to his right knee. He must have remained in hospitals overseas for a couple of weeks as records show that he returned to the UK on the 26th July.

Back in England, John Gale would presumably have been sent to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Brighton before being sent to Beechlands in Newick, and his rendezvous with Nurse Oliver. He almost certainly would have met some of the men below, posing for Nurse Oliver's camera at Beechlands in 1916.


In the October quarter of 1916, John Gale married Emily Jane Warman at The St George's Hanover Square district. He spent the remainder of the war in England and, on the face of it at least, appears to have been untroubled by his wounds in his subsequent military career. He gets a number of mentions in The Wasp; playing football in 1922, winning the Spoon Shoot in July 1924 and a whist drive in 1924.

RQMS John Gale was discharged at Bedford on the 22nd October 1927 on the termination of his engagement. His conduct was recorded as exemplary and his address on discharge given as Kempston Baracks, Bedford. He was awarded a pension of 56d a day for life and had already been awarded the LSGC with gratuity in April 1924.

John Gale died on the 6th March 1943 aged 52. He is buried in Flitwick churchyard in Bedfordshire.

19 December 2011

Falklands DSC group sells for £120,000


Hammer price on the Falklands DSC group; lot 1056 last Friday, was £120,000.  Add the DNW premium of 20% (£24,000) and 20% VAT on that premium (£4,800) and you're looking at a grand total of £148,800.  Wonder how much it will go for when it next comes up for sale?

Photo courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.

6 December 2011

WW1 Campaign Medals - dates of issue


The following information, in much abbreviated form, is taken from Howard Williamson's, The Great War Medal Collectors' Companion:

1914 Star
Issued as a single medal from January 1919 to October 1920
Issues of the 1914 Star Trio between November 1920 and end of 1922, with late issues from 1923

1914 Clasp and Roses
Main issue dates between January 1920 and July 1921
Issued with Trios from November 1920

1915/15 Star
Issued as a single medal from January 1920 to September 1920
Issues of the 1914/15 Star Trio between October 1920 and 1926, barring late issues

British War Medal & Victory Medal
First issues mainly to 1914 and 1914/15 Star recipients.  Trio issues, see dates above.
Majority of pairs issued between November 1920 and December 1927

Territorial Force War Medal
Majority issued between 1922 and 1926

MID Emblems
Majority despatched between April 1920 and May 1921
Incorporated with 1914 Star Trios from April 1920 and 1914/15 Star Trios from July 1920

The above information may be helpful in dating photographs of service personnel wearing a single 1914 Star (with or without clasp) or 1914/15 Star; similarly photos of men wearing just the ribbon for these medals. 

25 November 2011

Falklands DSC Group up for grabs


Deep pockets required for this Falklands War DSC group which is up for grabs at the next DNW medals auction on the 15th December (when are deep pockets NOT required for medals?)  DNW estimates the group at between £80k and £100k.  Let's see how much it actually goes for.

Interviews with the recipient, who had his left arm blown off whilst unsuccessfully defusing a bomb during the Falkalnds War, are HERE and HERE.  Image courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.  Read more about the group HERE.

1 November 2011

KSLI footballers

My thanks to Philip Morris for supplying me with QSA medal roll information on a number of the footballers mentioned in my King's Shropshire Light Infantry 1895/96 post. Now updated.

27 October 2011

South Africa Medal 1834-1853


Instituted:
By General Order No 634 on the 22nd November 1854.

Qualification:
Awarded to survivors of the African frontier wars of 1834-5, 1846-7 and 1850-3. This was the first medal specially struck for military service in Africa which was available to all ranks.

Description:
Silver, 36mm diameter, with an ornamental scroll swivelling suspension. The obverse portrays the diademed head of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA REGINA. The reverse depicts the lion of South Africa crouching in front of a protea bush. Above are the words SOUTH AFRICA; in the exergue, the date 1853.


As with the Indian Mutiny Medal, the South Africa Medal design is another father/son collaboration. The obverse of the medal was designed by William Wyon (1795-1851) who was the official chief engraver of the Royal Mint from 1828 until his death. (See also the Army of India Medal). The reverse was designed by Leonard Charles Wyon (1826-18910, William's eldest son, who became Second Engraver at the Royal Mint in 1844 and who succeeded his father as Modeler and Engraver in 1851.

Ribbon:
Watered, orange-yellow with two narrow and two wide stripes in dark blue.

Naming:
Indented in roman capitals, as seen on the Military General Service Medal.

Clasps:
None issued.

Other:
The medal is commonly called the Kaffir Wars medal. Royal Mint records show that 10,558 medals were struck between 24th April 1855 and 31st March 1862; this number including two patterns presented to Queen Victoria, those issued to deserters and later cancelled, replacements, duplicates etc. The actual number of medals awarded is, according to British Battles and Medals, 8,540.

Acknowledgements:
The obverse photograph is courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb; the reverse courtesy of Neate Auctions. British Battles and Medals has been invaluable in putting together the information.

21 October 2011

Medal prices to make you weep


I've just returned from a short business trip to Colwyn Bay.  When I travel, I like to sniff out the local secondhand and antiquarian booksellers and, if I'm able to, pick up a book as a memory of that trip.  I found a nice volume on Indian Regiments on a trip to Canterbury the other week, and yesterday visited the Bay Bookshop and came away with a second edition of E C Joslin's Standard Catalogue of British Orders Decorations and Medals (1972).  I recommend the shop if you happen to be in Colwyn Bay; nice people to chat with and a great military section.

You know that Joslin is going to be a depressing read when you read in his foreword, that "... we have experienced some remarkable figures at auction such as £3,500 for a fairly ordinary VC...".  What would he have thought of the Ted Kenna VC sale I wonder.

Anyway, back in 1972 your silver Queen's Sudan Medal would have been valued at £8 and a Khedive's Sudan medal at anything between £7 and £22.  Prices for medals with multiple clasps are not given.  These days you'd be lucky to get away with spending less than £500 on a Queen's Sudan and Khedive's Sudan.  As for the First World war medals, £2 might have got you a 'bare-arsed' 1914 Star, but you'd have had to pay double that for the same medal with the Mons clasp. 

I'm on the look-out now for the first (1969) edition of this book, plus subsequent editions.  I still rue the day, back in the days when I did not collect medals, that I sold a 1914 Star trio in my local market for £12.  Then again, that was some years ago and looking at Joslin's valuations, it probably wasn't such a bad deal (although that's one sale that I do regret).

11 October 2011

7162 Pte Alexander Burns, Royal Highlanders


I've written about 7162 Private Alexander Burns before.  Since that post, I've managed to retrieve his Boer War medal rolls from Ancestry, and also his First World War medal index card.  I looked in vain on WO 363 and WO 364 for a surviving service record, and also checked WO 97 over at findmypast.co.uk on the offchance that there might be something there that had been mis-filed.  There wasn't.  I did however, find papers in WO 96 which show that Alexander joined the Forfar and Kincardine Artillery (militia) on the 11th October 1898. He signed his name as "Alex Burns", giving his age as 17 years and 11 months and his place of birth as Dundee.  He was a mill-worker employed by Mr Scott of Dundee; not a lot to go on in terms of research leads, but at least it's a lead of sorts.


Alex was slight. He stood five feet, five and a half inches tall and weighed 109lbs (which is just seven stones and 11 pounds).  He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.  A scar on the second finger of his right hand is also recorded.


Alex's attestation was approved at Perth on the 12th October 1898 but he was barely with the regiment before he joined the Royal Highlanders on the 20th January 1899.  He had completed 49 days of drill and his character was noted as "good". 


There are only four pages of this service record that survive in WO 96 but crucially, on page four, Alex's father is recorded as Frank Burns of 17 Arbroath Road, Dundee.  This again, should enable further research.

29 September 2011

King's Shropshire Light Infantry 1895/96


Some while back I bought a group of medals that had belonged to 1093 Colour Sergeant Charles Smith of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry. Along with his 1882-dated Egypt Medal, Khedive's Star and Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal was this rather fine photo of D Company Football team (no battalion given) taken after they had won the Company Challenge Shield for the season 1895-1896 (they'd been runners-up the previous year). The men in the photo are all named, Colour Sergeant Smith sitting cross-legged far right.

Here are the names, left to right, of the victorious team:

Back Row: L/Cpl C Crooke, L/Cpl T Corbett, Pte J Lewis, Cpl W Keight, Cpl J Gibbons (linesman)
Middle Row: Clr Sgt E Beale, Cpl F Woodland, Capt W C Cass, Sgt A Nicholls
Front Row: Pte J Pearson, Pte T Morton, Clr Sgt R Woodland, Pte F Harrison, Clr Sgt Charles Smith

I decided to see if I could find service records for any of these men. Charles Smith had nothing in WO 97 but a record does survive in WO 363 which shows that he enlisted with the 21st Brigade on the 7th January 1879 and was discharged on the 30th September 1908 having served a grand total of 29 years and 272 days. He died of a cerebral haemmorhage on the 13th April 1939 aged 78; the death certificate in the name of Frederick Charles Smith.

L/Cpl Charles Crooke
Nothing in WO 97, WO 364 or WO 363. Charles Jeffery C Crooke was born in 1877, his birth recorded in the June quarter of that year in Walsall, Staffordshire. He enlisted with the KSLI around the 5th September 1894, served with the regiment in South Africa during the Second South African War and was awarded the QSA with clasps for Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Driefontein and Johannesburg. He appears on the QSA medal roll as sergeant and was a colour sergeant by 1902.  He was the best man at the 1906 wedding of Sergeant Bugler Henry Crew, also of the KSLI and also a Boer War veteran. Charles Crooke served during the First World War, his medal index card indicating that he arrived overseas with the regiment as a quartermaster sergeant on the 21st December 1914.  He was commissioned second lieutenant on the 24th May 1918 and was mentioned in dispatches in July 1922.  The address on his MIC is given as Binswood Cottage, New Road, Meole Brace, Shropshire. Charles Crooke died in Cheshire in 1962 at the age of 85. My thanks to Robert Crew for contributing information - see comments.

L/Cpl Thomas Corbett
Nothing in WO 97 but there is a Thomas Corbett who joined the 3rd Militia Bn (WO 96) as a seventeen-year-old in 1889. WO 364 has the same man as 3327 Thomas Corbett who joined the regiment on the 24th October 1890 aged 18 years and eight months and was already serving with the 3rd Militia Battalion. He was a lance-corporal by July 1895 and would go on to serve during the Boer War earning the QSA with clasps for Cape Colony, Paardeburg and Driefontein. Returned to England on the 17th May 1900, he would serve a total of 12 years.

Pte J Lewis
Too many options to be certain. There is, in WO 97, a 3356 Pte John Lewis who was serving with the regiment, based at the regimental depot, when D Company won the Challenge Shield.  This man also served in South Africa during the Second South African War and was awarded the QSA with clasps for Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Driefontein and Johannesburg.  Remarks note he was posted to the Army Reserve.

Cpl Walter Keight
In WO 97 there is a 1607 Walter Keight who joined the regiment on the 11th June 1885, although this man was a sergeant by 1895/1896. Served in South Africa during the Second South African War and was awarded the QSA with clasps for Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Driefontein and Johannesburg.  Remarks note he was posted to the 3rd Battalion.

Cpl John Gibbons
Nothing in WO 97. WO 364 has 2207 John Gibbons who had joined the regiment on 8th March 1887 and who was a corporal by December 1895. He was discharged in March 1908, by then a sergeant and with 21 years' service under his belt.

Sgt Ernest Beale
Nothing in WO 97. The WW1 medal index cards have a 1603 Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant E Beale whose number indicates that he joined the KSLI in 1885. This man was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with gratuity in 1944. There is a further card for 13032 RQMS Ernest Beale of the 6th KSLI who served overseas from the 24th July 1915 and who was discharged to commission with the Labour Corps on the 25th August 1915.  He was subsequently captain and qaurtermaster sergeant with the 25th Labour Group.  The address on his MIC gives 14 College Hills, Shrewsbury.  Possibly the same Ernest Beale who died in Rowley Regis, Staffordshire in 1957 at the age of 89.

Cpl Frederick George Woodland
WO 97 has 3280 Frederick George Woodland, born in Colchester Barracks in approximately June 1872, joined the KSLI at Shrewsbury on 2nd August 1890, discharged in July 1911 having served 21 years. He was certainly in England when D Company won its shield but he was a sergeant by September 1894. He died in 1951 aged 78. The 1881 census shows him as an eight-year-old living at Copthorn Barracks Shrewsbury, his father a 41 year-old staff-sergeant with the Shropshire Militia.

Captain W C Cass
Unresearched.

Sgt A Nicholls
Nothing in WO 97.

Pte J Pearson
Nothing in WO 97. A 2724 Private J Pearson served in South African during the Second South African War and was awarded the QSA qith clasps for Cape Colony and Paardeberg.  He was returned to England on the 7th July 1900.  His QSA is in private hands.

Pte Thomas Morton
WO 97 has 5022 Pte Thomas Morton who joined the regiment in February 1896 aged 18 years and six months. The T Morton in the photograph looks young enough to be this man. Thomas would go on to serve 15 years and 41 days with the regiment before being discharged in March 1911. His brother, Titus Morton, was a regular with the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots.

Clr Sgt R Woodland
Nothing in WO 97. Possibly related to Frederick Woodland although I have been unable to find a R Woodland listed in the Woodland household on census returns (apart from father Richard who would have been too old to be playing football in the mid 1890s).

Pte F Harrison
Too many options to be certain.

If anyone can shed any more light on any of these men, please let me know.

23 September 2011

Empty-handed


Ah well, nothing again from today's Dix Noonan Webb auction, and whilst the illustrated example above wasn't exactly typical of the gulf between estimate and hammer price, as I mentioned the other week, hammer prices for the most part left most of the estimates well and truly in the shade. I had my eye on a few groups, mostly those with an LSGC as part of the offering but I didn't actually bid in the end. A nice Crimean War / Indian Mutiny group (estimated at a low £500-£600) went for £1600 whilst an Egypt / Khedive's pair with LSGC (estimate £320-£360) went for £680; too rich for my pocket, particularly when you add on the 20% buyer's premium and VAT. Never mind.

21 September 2011

I like it; I like it a lot


Howard Williamson's The Great War Medal Collectors Companion, that is. My copy (number 518) arrived yesterday; £50 from The National Archives' online bookshop and jam-packed with illustrations.

I've hardly had time to do the book justice so far but I know that I will be returning to it again and again. There is a good chapter on the medal index cards but I do question one point where Howard is quoting from Joe Hodgson's article in the OMRS Journal of Spring 1988. Speculating on TF numbers on MICs pre March 1917, Joe had observed that:

"men with low numbers [ie original numbers rather then the five or six-digit re-numbered numbers] on their [1914 or 1914/15] Stars are soldiers who were killed, discharged, POWs, transferred or commissioned before 1st March 1917".

The bold text is mine. Surely POWs would have been renumbered wouldn't they? They were still on the regimental rolls, just as men who were missing but not officially confirmed as Killed or Died were still on the rolls. The latter were re-numbered, surely the POWs would have been as well, wouldn't they? I don't have evidence to back this up but I'm sure somebody can confirm or deny this.

Two pages later Howard notes that the TP/104 B code on William Reader's MIC indicates London and the Royal Fusiliers whereas the MIC records KRRC and 4th London Regiment. But of course, the 4th London Regiment was the 4th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) and the CWGC notes that he was serving with the 2/4th Battalion when he died, even though his number - GS/84154 on the MIC, G/84154 according to CWGC - belongs not to the TF but to the regular Royal Fusiliers Regiment.

But it's a great book, and a must-have not only for Great War Medal Collectors (which I'm not, really; or at least only marginally) but for anybody with an interest in the Great War and British military history generally. I also happen to think that £50, or even £60 for that matter, is a price well worth paying for such a well produced item.

Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph.

15 September 2011

The Great War Medal Collectors Companion


I've just ordered The Great War Medal Collectors Companion by Howard Williamson having seen it advertised in the most recent Dixon's Gazette (issue No. 67) and I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Apart from being a lavishly published volume, the detail it contains seems impressive. This from the book's blurb:

Medal Index Cards

•Over 1,500 MIC abbreviations and codes deciphered.
•Definitive notes on the MICs and how to read them.
•The significance of different coloured inks revealed.

Gallantry Medals

•DSO, MC, DCM and MM Gazettes, giving dates & battles covered by each gazette.
•Especially useful for MM research, linking the London Gazette date back to the bravery date.
•DCM, MC and DSO Gazette citations that omit dates & places (March 1916 - January 1919).
•List of MC and DCM recipients for 1st July 1916. Also all DCM and dated bars noted.
•A full list of escapers awarded the MM; Army Order 193 of 1919 explained and 1914 MMs noted.
•How to spot fakes e.g. MC, DSO, DFC, AFC etc as well as fake bars.
•History of the DCM League and MM Association plus Ex-Servicemen’s Association details.
•Definitive notes about the naming & renaming of medals - many examples illustrated.
•How to read & research the MM Cards, including the breakthrough use of schedule numbers.
•Detailed notes on the Somme Gazettes & the units engaged. List of VCs and where they were won.
•Documents found with gallantry groups, including divisional cards, award notifications etc.
•Chronological list of actions & battles fought in all theatres, plus indexed maps.

Campaign Medals

•Full history of each medal, including Army Orders, Army Council Instructions & award criteria.
•How & when medals were named & distributed. Packaging & accompanying documents.
•How to spot fake medals and correctly identify original ‘5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914’ bars.
•How to spot renaming. Font alphabets for 1914 & 1914/15 Trios, DCMs and MMs.

Dixons - and elsewhere - advertise the book at £60 with £10 for postage and packing. However, if you order through the National Archives' online bookshop, you can pick it up for £50 including postage and packing; quite a saving.

One minor quibble though, before I've even seen the book; all apostrophe purists know that the title should be The Great War Medal Collectors' Companion, ie the Companion belonging to Great War Medal Collectors (assuming that the book is intended for more than one medal collector that is, otherwise it would be Collector's Companion). Either way, it needs an apostrophe.

Howard's eagerly awaited book on the Military Medal, a companion to this volume, is due out in 2014. Word to the wise is, buy MMs now because once the book is published, the price of these will go up.

12 September 2011

Collecting habits


When it comes to collecting medals, general advice seems to be, collect with a theme in mind. That theme may be regiments, campaigns, one single medal (or combination of medals), medals named to a particualr surname, medals awarded to men of a particular location, and so on and so on. The problem is, after a relatively recent five years of sporadic collecting, I have yet to settle on a definitive theme. Nevertheless, I have set my own 'rules' and here they are.

1. I buy for pleasure and as an investment for my children.
2. I believe that all British medals, particularly the Victorian medals, are objects of beauty.
3. I like medal singles and groups with an India connection.
4. I like the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal - Army, Navy and Volunteer, it doesn't matter, although I like the Army LSGC in particular
5. I prefer to buy singles or groups that have been unresearched
6. Once purchased as part of my collection, I would not re-sell a medal or group.
7. I have a desire to own at least one medal from all of the major campaigns from the Military General Service Medal campaigns onwards
8. I have a secondary desire to own at least one medal from each of the old 69 line regiments.
9. I abhor the practive of erasing names on medals and would never knowingly buy an erased or re-named medal.
10. I would not buy a broken group unless it was a sought-after family medal or part group of family medals
11. I do not like medal copies and would never, under any circumstance, buy one to complete a group.
12. I am always looking for alternative income streams to feed my habit!

Pictured above, the medal group for George Arthur James Welch, an ex Yorkshire Regiment regular who latterly served as a sub-conductor with the Indian Army Ordnance Corps. His group includes the Delhi Durbar Medal for 1911 and an Army LSGC (so he ticks two of my boxes there). An added bonus was that I found a sheaf of service papers in the India Office Collection at the British Library; a source that is often overlooked (third box ticked).

7 September 2011

£770,000 for Ted Kenna VC


A VC group of ten to Australian Ted Kenna, has been sold at auction in Melbourne for a world record £770,000. Private Kenna earned the medal when he single-handedly charged a machine-gun post in New Guinea on 15th May 1945. He died in 2009.

Photo courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald.