Orders, Decorations and Medals (19 & 20 March 2008)

Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £1,900

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,200

Four: Colour Sergeant James Roach, Royal Marine Light Infantry

China 1857-60, 2 clasps, Fatshan 1857, Canton 1857, unnamed as issued; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., V.R., wide suspension (Js. Roach, Colr. Sergt. 47th Co. R.M.L.I. 21 Yrs.); Royal Marine Meritorious Service Medal, E.VII.R. (James Roach, Colr. Sergt. Plymo. R.M.L.I.) officially impressed naming, cleaned, nearly extremely fine (3) £1000-1200


Ex Douglas-Morris Collection, DNW February 1997.

Only about 40 Edward VII Royal Marine Meritorious Service Medals were awarded, of which 13 are known extant.

Only one man, John Cree, received the award of the Royal Marine M.S.M. between George Hancock (known Victorian issue) and James Roach. Since the type of medal despatched to Colour Sergeant John Cree, R.M.L.I., on 8 February 1904 is unknown, this award to James Roach is either the first or the second Edward VII Royal Marine M.S.M. to be issued.

James Roach was born in Kingsbridge, Devon, and enlisted in the Plymouth Division aged 19 years on 4 June 1852. He was drafted to H.M.S. Sybille in June 1853 and served ashore in China with the Royal Marine Battalion during 1857 prior to being disembarked in his home port in May 1858. He was promoted to Corporal in May 1858, to Sergeant in November 1861, and to Colour Sergeant in April 1869. His twelve years of service afloat was above average for a Marine, a period which included service aboard H.M. Ships Assurance (1864-68) and Implacable (1870-72). He was pensioned and discharged to shore with 21 years servitude on 19 June 1873, and not unusually was awarded his L.S. & G.C. medal without gratuity after he had left the service, retrospectively approved on 23 May 1874.