27 April 2020
Two medals from the Charge of the Light Brigade will be offered by Dix Noonan Webb in their online/ live auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Thursday, May 21, 2020 on their website www.dnw.co.uk.
Due to the current COVID 19 situation, there will be no physical viewing of the auction. Prospective bidders are encouraged to consult DNW’s website (www.dnw.co.uk) where all lots are illustrated and further condition reports can be requested if required. Customers are able to bid online (DNW make no additional charge for this service) or leave commission bids prior to the auction. Please note that the situation with regards to dispatch of lots is subject to constant review and should it be necessary lots can be securely stored without charge for as long as required. DNW are donating 5% of all buyers' premium during these uncertain times to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal.
The emotive medal to Private Walter Brooks, 17th Lancers, who was killed in the Charge at Balaklava on 25 October 1854, is estimated at £8,000-10,000. From A Descriptive Account of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava by William Butler, Late of the 17th Lancers: “Captain Nolan had not gone 400 yards when he was shot, the first to fall in our charge. Just as we got to No. 1 redoubt, my right-hand man Walter Brooks, was also shot. He was my comrade for over three years, from the time I went to the 4th troop.” Walter Brooks was born at Uttoxeter and was a servant prior to enlistment.
As Nimrod Dix, Deputy Chairman of Dix Noonan Webb, commented: “The charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava still captures the public imagination and interest. Immortalised in Tennyson’s poem and in two feature films, one starring Errol Flynn in 1936 the other starring Trevor Howard in 1968, medals to proven participants of the charge are always highly sought after by collectors. The 17th Lancers, the ‘Death and Glory’ boys as they are known after their skull and crossbones regimental badge, are probably the most sought after of all the regiments that took part. Poor Walter Brooks was killed in the charge and it is particularly unusual to have an eye-witness account of his last moments. The 17th Lancers led the charge and suffered accordingly with 2 officers and 22 men killed out of about 110 killed in total.”
Also from the same battle, medals belonging to Private James Webster of the 17th Lancers and a confirmed Light Brigade ‘charger’ who afterwards served in the Indian Mutiny carries an estimate of £8,000-10,000. James Webster was born in Erdington, near Birmingham, Warwickshire, and enlisted there into the 17th Light Dragoons on 25 January 1847, aged 19 years, a forge man by trade. On 25 October 1854, Webster rode with his regiment in the charge of the light brigade at Balaklava. Of the 147 men of the 17th Lancers who rode in the charge, 99 were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, Webster being lucky to survive unscathed.
A rare ‘Intombi River’ casualty Zulu War medal to Private H. Lodge, 80th Foot is estimated at £5,000-£6,000. Henry Lodge enlisted into the 80th Foot at Bishops Stortford on 23 March 1872, aged 20 years 10 months. He was killed in action at Meyers Drift on the Intombi River, on 12 March 1879, one of 61 men of the Regiment killed in action that day, and is commemorated on the Staffordshire Volunteers Regimental Memorial in Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire.
As Nimrod Dix, notes: “While everyone has heard of the epic defence of Rorke’s Drift and the monumental disaster of Isandhlwana when the British lost 1300 officers and men killed, less well known is the disaster that befell the 80th Foot at Meyers Drift on the Intombi River on 12 March 1879, when one company of the regiment was overwhelmed by several hundred Zulus and 62 men were killed. But for the enormity of the casualties at Isandhlwana, an event like this would normally have been headline news but public appetite for another military catastrophe was probably not very great and it remains a little known incident of the Zulu Wars. As a medal to a casualty in a British regiment, it is at least 10 times rarer than an Isandhlwana casualty to the 24th Foot which routinely command a price of £6,000-7,000”
Also of note in the sale is the Waterloo medal awarded to Captain James MacGregor, 2nd Battalion, 59th Foot, who was severely wounded at Vittoria and was lost in the wreck of the Sea-Horse in Tramore Bay, near Waterford, Ireland, on 30 January 1816 and is expected to fetch £4,000-£5,000. James MacGregor was born at Ardersier, Inverness, on 11 July 1791, the younger brother of Colonel George McGregor of the 1st Battalion, 59th Foot, and of Thomas Howard McGregor, also an officer in the regiment who was killed in a duel in Calcutta in 1810. Captain MacGregor was lost in the Sea-Horse shipwreck in Tramore Bay, near Waterford, off the coast of Ireland on 30 January 1816. This troopship was conveying the 2/59th from Ramsgate to Cork but foundered in a violent storm with the loss of 338 lives. It is recorded that Captain MacGregor, ‘being an excellent swimmer, bade adieu to his friend Lieutenant McPherson, and, stripping off his jacket, jumped into the sea. After buffeting the tremendous surge for some time, he had nearly reached shore, when a part of the wreckage struck him on the head, and he sank for the last time.’ The memorial in Tramore incorrectly records his age as 23, two years younger than he was.
FORTHCOMING SALES AT DNW
WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 - COINS
WEDNESdAY, MAY 20 - TOKENS & HISTORICAL MEDALS
thursday, may 21 - ORDERS, DECORATIONS, MEDALS AND MILITARIA
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3 - ANCIENT & ISLAMIC COINS
TUESDAY, JUNE 9 - JEWELLERY, WATCHES AND OBJECTS OF VERTU
thursday, JUNE 18 - ORDERS, DECORATIONS, MEDALS AND MILITARIA
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24 - BRITISH, IRISH AND WORLD BANKNOTES
Free online bidding is available is www.dnw.co.uk
For more information, please call 020 7016 1700
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Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000. Two years later it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens and in 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar. In 2018, it set up a standalone banknotes department and expanded into premises next door and in the same year, DNW achieved a total hammer price of £11,676,580 and the total number of lots across all departments was 20,273. To date the company has sold in excess of 300,000 lots totalling £155 million.
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