Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)

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Date of Auction: 25th September 2008

Sold for £1,400

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

A Sea Gallantry Medal group of six awarded to Captain Noel M. F. Corbett, Royal Navy, for services at the wreck of the Delhi, 1911

Sea Gallantry Medal, G.V.R., silver (Lieut. Noel M. F. Corbett, R.N. “Delhi” 13 Dec. 1911); 1914-15 Star (Lieut., R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (Lt. Commr., R.N.); France, Croix de Guerre 1914-1917, bronze palm on ribbon; Royal Humane Society, small silver medal (successful) (Lieut. N. M. F. Corbett, R.N. 13th Dec. 1911) last with silver buckle on ribbon, mounted court style for wear, very fine and better (6) £800-1000

Footnote

Ref. Spink Exhibition 1985, No. 109; Sotheby ‘Rule, Britannia!’ Exhibition 1986, No.331.

‘At 10 a.m. on the 13th December, 1911, while a cutter was proceeding from H.M.S.
London to endeavour to rescue passengers from the P. & O. S.S. Delhi, which had gone ashore three miles south of Cape Spartel, on the Morocco coast, a big sea broke on board, half filling the boat and washing Geo. H. Luxton, A.B. overboard. Luxton is unable to swim well and had no lifebelt on, but managed to reach an oar, to which he clung. This occured about a quarter of a mile from shore, in a depth of two and half fathoms, with heavy breakers and a strong current, the weather being overcast with heavy rain squalls. Lieut. Corbett undressed, and, taking a life-jacket, jumped in and swam after him for about 50 yards and caught him, and after forty minutes’ exertion succeeded in getting Luxton ashore, both being in a very exhausted state’. (Ref. R.H.S. Case No. 38,838).

Noel Marcus Francis Corbett was born in Lynn, Dorset on 20 December 1887. Entering the Royal Navy as a Cadet in January 1903, he was appointed a Midshipman in June 1904 and Sub-Lieutenant in August 1907. Promoted to Lieutenant in November 1909, he served aboard the battleship
London, October 1910-February 1912. He was aboard the ship when in December 1911 she was called upon to give aid to the passengers and crew of the P. & O, liner S.S. Delhi which had run aground near Cape Spartel, Morocco. Amongst the passengers were the Duke and Duchess of Fife (The Princess Royal) and their two daughters which only gave further urgency to a grave situation. For his services in the rescue of the passengers and crew of the Delhi and for saving the life of Able Seaman Luxton (above), Corbett was awarded the Sea Gallantry Medal and Royal Humane Society Medal in silver. In the Great War Corbett served on the battlecruiser Indomitable, being present on her during the battle of Jutland. In November 1917 he was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander and in February 1918 was posted to the Aurora. For his services during the war he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre (London Gazette 30 November 1917). Promoted to Commander in June 1922, he retired with the rank of Captain in December 1933. The following year he was appointed Superintendent of the training ship Cornwall. He returned to active service during the Second World War and was appointed a Commander of the Danish Order of the Dannebrog for his outstanding services. Sold with copied service papers and other research.