Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)

Date of Auction: 25th September 2008

Sold for £1,300

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,200

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, St. Sebastian (Joseph Binns, R. Sappers & Miners) minor edge bruising and marks in obverse field, otherwise good very fine £1000-1200


First recorded for sale at Sotheby in February 1886 and subsequently in the Whitaker Collection 1890.

Joseph Binns was born in the parish of St Mark, Dublin in 1793. He was attested for the Royal Sappers and Miners in Dublin on 8 December 1811, aged 18 years. On the 4 November 1812 he joined detachments of the Royal Sappers and Miners and embarked on board the frigate
Nemesis at Portsmouth, under Sub-Lieutenant Richard Turner, bound for the Peninsula. Binns joined the 6th Company of the lst Battalion and was present at the famous action of Vittoria on 21 June 1813, but he did not submit a claim for this clasp, although Brigade-Major H. Sandham verified that he was entitled to it. Binns then served with a detachment of the 6th Company at the siege of St Sebastian from 11 July to 8 September 1813, where the detachment was stationed on the isthmus, facing the counterscarp. Throughout the siege there were present 5 Sub-Lieutenants and 305 NCOs and men of the Corps, and their casualty rate was more than 20%. Of these, 14 NCOs and sappers were killed, 2 died-of-wounds, and more than 50 were wounded, including Joseph Binns who suffered wounds in the thigh.

In March 1816, Binns was transferred to the 4th Company 3rd Battalion, and was discharged on 31 October 1816, unfit for further service due to his wounded thigh. He had completed nearly five years service from 8 December 1811 and was admitted to Out-Pension at 9d per day in view of his wound. The pension was commuted in January 1835, but he was later re-admitted to Out-Pension in July 1856. On 1 July 1878, he became an In-Pensioner a the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, aged 85. Sold with full research.