Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)
Date of Auction: 25th September 2008
Sold for £920
Estimate: £700 - £900
Sea Gallantry Medal, E.VII.R., small 2nd issue, silver (Robert Matthews, “St. Cuthbert” 3rd February 1908); Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society, 5th type, silver (R. Matthews, S.S. “Cymric” Feb. 3 1908) ‘double-dolphin’ suspension, silver buckle on ribbon; Humane Society of Massachusetts Medal, bronze, reverse inscribed, ‘To Robert Matthews of S.S. Cymric for bravery in saving life at sea. Feb. 3rd 1908’, last with slack suspension, mounted for wear, second with minor edge bruising, good very fine and better (3) £700-900
FootnoteEx Denham Collection 1971 and Edrington Collection 1980.
‘The St. Cuthbert was abandoned on fire in the N. Atlantic, her boats having been destroyed. The Cymric bore down to render assistance but at first it was considered too dangerous to launch a boat owing to the high sea. Eventually the Chief Officer and a crew of volunteers manned a life-boat and in three trips rescued 41 men - 14 were lost. The rescue occupied 10 hours in the face of a heavy gale and high dangerous sea with occasional blinding snow storms and the final trip was made in the darkness’.
The British steamship St. Cuthbert, en route from Antwerp to New York, was destroyed by fire off Cape Sable on 3/4 February 1908. For their services in bravely rescuing most of those on board, the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society awarded Captain William Finch of the Cymric a pair of marine binoculars; Chief Officer John Stivey, who commanded the volunteer crew, was awarded the Society’s medal in gold; and the seven volunteers each received the Society’s silver medal and a purse of £3. Sold with copied research.