The Armourer

Under the hammer

Duncan Evans reports on the latest militaria sold at auctions around the country Medals at Noonans


Lancaster Rear Gunner Warrant Officer Victor Arthur Roe was killed in action on a raid to Chemnitz, carrying out his

98th operationa­l sortie on 5-6 March 1945. He was just 21 years old. His outstandin­g and rare WWII CGM (Conspicuou­s Gallantry Medal) and Immediate DFM (Distinguis­hed Flying

Medal) group of five was sold by Noonans in the sale of Orders, Decoration­s, Medals and Militaria for £51,520 (all prices include BP of 28.8%) on 7 December, 2022. They were being sold by Roe’s family and were bought by a leading collector of WWII flying medals.

Elsewhere a Great War Western Front MC group of four awarded to Major FW Prentice, Tank Corps, late Royal Engineers, who had previously served as an Assistant Storekeepe­r on the RMS Titanic, and survived her sinking on her maiden voyage in April 1912 by jumping 100 feet from the poop deck over the propellors just as the stern disappeare­d into the freezing North Atlantic, sold for £30,912 against an estimate of £8,000£10,000. It was bought by collector of medals with interestin­g stories.

Also of note was the outstandin­g and well-documented World

War II and Great War group of 13 awarded to Brigadier JP Girvan, 15th Canadian Infantry Battalion, the most decorated officer of the 15th (48th Highlander­s of Canada) Infantry Battalion in the Great War which sold for £20,608 against an estimate of £6,000-£8,000 to a Canadian agent on behalf of a Canadian institutio­n.

Then there was a Crimea Medal awarded to Private W Baker of 17th Lancers, who was killed in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava on 25 October 1854. It realised £20,608 against an estimate of £8,000-£10,000.

We have a cover feature on the Indian Mutiny coming up in a couple of months, and there were plenty of medals from the campaign up for grabs here. One of the cheapest was an Indian Mutiny 1857-59 medal with two clasps, one for ‘LUCKNOW’ the other for ‘CENTRAL INDIA’, awarded to J Parker, 3rd Battalian, Rifle Brigade, who served on detachment with the Camel

Corps. This one sold for £489.44. At the other end of the scale, there was a Mutiny medal with a solitary clasp, but this for ‘DEFENCE OF LUCKNOW’, awarded to T Dempsey of the 32nd Line Infantry. Thomas Dempsey was an original defender of the garrison at Lucknow and was killed in action in the fierce attack launched by the rebels on 20 July 1857. This sold for £3,864.

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