Lot Archive


№ 850 x


6 July 2004

Hammer Price:

A rare Second World War landing craft operations D.S.M. group of five awarded to Marine J. G. Wingate, Royal Marines, for bravery in the assault on Vibo Valencia on the Italian coast in September 1943

Distinguished Service Medal
, G.VI.R. (Mne. J. G. Wingate, Ply. X. 105671); 1939-45 Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals, contact marks, generally good very fine (5) £1600-1800

D.S.M. London Gazette 25 January 1944. The original recommendation states:

‘Marine Wingate served in
L.C.F. 6 which supported the assault. By his coolness, efficiency and disregard for his personal safety, he did much to keep the morale of the gun crews in the face of steady enemy shell and mortar fire.’

John George Wingate, who came from Sunderland, was decorated for his part in “Operation Ferdy”, the assault by 231 Brigade on Vibo Valencia Marina, some 25 miles behind the German lines, on 8 September 1943 - it was thought that enemy opposition would be minimal but as it transpired the van of the German withdrawal happened to be passing as the landings occurred. As one eyewitness later recounted, the enemy waited until the first landing craft had nearly discharged their cargo before jumping into action:

‘And then it came, with a sound so full of bitter, impersonal hatred, that for a moment all thought and action was stifled ... the air was full of the sharp crack of the guns and the almost instantaneous explosions of the shells, which gave no preliminary warning whistle, for these were high-velocity German 88-millimetre guns ...’ (see
The War of the Landing Craft by P. Lund and H. Ludlam for further detials).

Ordinary Seaman T. H. Hills of
L.C.G. 12 was awarded the C.G.M. for this action