Medals are given out for so many things; from a sports day at high school to saving 15 comrades under fire in combat. Here we will look at some of the British medals for sale across our partner websites this week.
During the two world wars there were a huge number of medals awarded. If you’d taken part in some home guard drills during WW2, you would have receive a defence medal. But the likes of a full combat gallantry set; they were reserved for some of the bravest soldiers. All deserve credit for helping the allied forces win the war, so we will explore a few below.
Military Medal Group – Liverpool Regiment
This medal group belonged to a Sergeant A. F. Leather, who served in the King’s Liverpool Regiment, 1/9th Battalion and his service number was 330325. The group includes a George V Military Medal, a 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal and a Victory Medal. The Military Medal was a high honour, awarded for bravery in the field. Starting from 1916, it continued into the Second World War and then even afterwards, until eventually the Military Cross replaced it in 1993.
The 1914-15 Star was a campaign medal. Alongside the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, every soldier received one if they served in the army during 1914 and 1915. This trio is often called a ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’, referring to the dog, penguin and rabbit characters from a comic that was popular in the time period.
A. F. Leather was a Corporal when he received his trio of medals. All of his medals have been looked after and are in fine condition, complete with their ribbons. Available from Chester Medals £650.
1854 India General Service Medal with Burma 1885-7 Bar
Our next item is an India General Service Medal in good condition. It has a 1885-7 clasp and is named to Private J. Foley who served in the Somerset Light Infantry. On the obverse you can see the profile of Queen Victoria, while the other side depicts the ancient goddess Victory crowning a warrior.
The Indian General Service Medal (IGSM) was first issued in 1854 and was awarded for certain smaller campaigns all across India for 41 years, until 1895. During this time, a total of 24 different clasps – or bars – were issued with the medals. While the Indian Army units built up the majority of forces during most – if not all – campaigns, there were not many formal battles during this time. However, the forces had to fight these battles in unfamiliar and often rather challenging terrain. The local tribes put up strong resistance against the colonising forces.
This example of the IGSM has the Burma 1885-7 clasp, the correct ribbon and both are in good condition. It is engraved on the rim with ‘884 Pte. J. Foley, 2nd Bn Som. L. I.’. The medal is available at £225 from JC Militaria.
William Wiehe Collins’ belongings
William Wiehe Collins
This is a well-documented and significant group of a WW1 soldier’s belongings. The items belonged to artist William Wiehe Collins, who was a chief petty officer in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) during World War I before rising to fame as a painter after the war. Included are his trio of WW1 medals, his RNAS tunic and insignia, as well as photographs, silks, paintings, badges, diaries and sketches. Some of the items are nicely framed and ready for a display.
Collins served on the HMS Manica during the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. The Manica was the first kite balloon ship during the war. Collins was an observer and he was part of the section that helped direct supporting fire from British warships, while also being shelled by the enemy – both by aircrafts and by batteries on the shore. What this would likely have meant is; Collins was sent up in a kite balloon to keep an eye on where to fire. From his high vantage point, he would have been able to see things not visible from ground/sea level, like submerged submarines for example.
After the war, he went onto become an accomplished landscape and architectural painter artist. He was clearly artistic in other ways as well, because he had produced excellent artistic written accounts of events during his time serving in the war.
This rather large group of items include Collins’ named 1914-15 star, as well as his British War Medal and Victory Medal. The trio is presented in a time-period display frame, complete with all three ribbons. In another display case you can see his insignia; RNAS, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve cap badges, red albatross badge and his medal ribbons matching his trio of medals. A third frame contains three lapel pins (National Reserve Dorset, King & Country Service and Comrades of the Great War) and there is also a loose Royal Engineers lapel pin badge in a case to store it in.
There is a vast amount of paperwork, including but not limited to: a pocket diary, a sketch pad and a larger drawing pad, a memorandum book and various newspaper cutouts. The written accounts detail his time aboard the Manica and his experiences in the Dardanelles Campaign, while the numerous drawings and sketches depict the ship and the landing itself. They are absolutely fascinating and such a personal piece of World War I history.
Of note is Collins’ tunic, which is the highlight part of this group of items. It is a blue cloth Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Anti-Aircraft Corps tunic and has RNVR AAC cloth badges on both sides of the collar, as well as gilt naval buttons on the front of the tunic. This is a stunning example of this rare WW1 uniform in great condition and with no moth damage.
Available from Regimentals for £6,750.
WW1 infantry soldiers medals & ephemera group, East Kent Regiment
The next group consists of a British War Medal and a Victory Medal but it also includes various ephemera relating to two soldiers who could have been two brothers or perhaps a father and son. One of the soldiers, a Private Charles W. Pryor, served in the East Kent Regiment.
Included in the paperwork is a postcard from the field from February 1916, addressed to a Mr W. Pryor residing in London, and says that Charles was ‘Quite well’, which was no doubt a relief for the recipient. However, in May 1917 a note from the Infantry Record Office follows, notifying him that Charles had sustained a gunshot wound to his left arm and was being treated in the No.2 Canadian General Hospital in Le Treport.
A Certification Card from 1915 is also included. The National Registration Act of 1915 declared that everyone between the ages of 15 and 65 had to fill out paperwork to be included in the National Register for statistical purposes. Other items are his demobilisation paperwork, which are dated not long after his injury, and a notification about a change of pay from 1916. Lastly, there is an award for a war badge for an Ellis Pryor, which is dated 15th of February 1918. Ellis could have been Charles’ brother.
You can buy this group from CS Militaria for £155.
WW1 Liverpool Regiment Medal Group
You don’t come across this combination of medals very often due to the sheer time period they cover. This Liverpool Regiment group of British medals includes a Queen’s South Africa Medal with a TRANSVAAL 1901 and 1902 clasp, a 1915 Trio of WW1 medals and an Indian General Service Afghanistan medal from 1919. They all belonged to a soldier, W. Bibby, who served in the Liverpool Regiment. He was a private in the South African conflict and during WW1, but became a corporal by Afghanistan.
These medals are rare on their own, but even more so because they all belong to one soldier. They are all court-mounted on a hard backing and ready for display. They have a copy of the accompanying paperwork as well.
Available from Chester Medals for £550.
WW1 Middlesex Regiment Casualty Medal Group
This group comprises a First World War duo of medals (British War Medal and Victory Medal) plus a memorial death plaque alongside a scroll. The plaque is made of bronze and is also known as ‘Dead Man’s Penny’. After a soldier died, the plaque was sent to his next of kin. It depicts Britannia with a lion, and has the recipient’s name engraved in the plaque. The words ‘He died for freedom and honour’ run along the edge of the plaque.
This group all belongs to a Private Arthur Charles Boshier. He served in the Middlesex Regiment, in the 4th Battalion. Some research (also included) reveals that Boshier went missing on the 28th of April in 1917 in Arras, France, and subsequently presumed dead. His name is on the Arras Memorial.
It seems the group may have been mounted and displayed in a frame at some point, but it has since been removed. There are small areas of shadowing in places on the scroll.
Available from World Military Collectables £245.
To see more medal groups visit: Medals & Awards
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