Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (26 March 2009)

Date of Auction: 26th March 2009

Sold for £680

Estimate: £400 - £500

Royal Navy, Gedge Medal, port view of the light cruiser Amphion at full steam, small wreath below, ‘For Professional Merit’; reverse inscribed in raised letters, ‘To Commemorate the Loss of the First British Officer by Land or Sea in the Great War Staff-Paymaster Joseph T. Gedge R.N. who was killed in H.M.S. Amphion 6th August 1914’ (Paymaster Sub-Lieut. Alexander W. Richards R.N. 1931), 38mm., gold, 37.15g. (1.3oz) in case of issue, ref. B.H.M. 4110, extremely fine


Instituted in 1929, the Gedge Medal and a prize of books was awarded annually to the Paymaster Sub-Lieutenant who passed the examination for Lieutenant at the first attempt and with the highest aggregate of marks. The award commemorates Staff-Paymaster J. T. Gedge, R.N., who was killed on 6 August 1914, whilst serving aboard the scout cruiser Amphion. The ship was sunk by a mine on 6 August 1914, which was laid off the Suffolk coast by the German ship Konigin Luise, which, earlier in the day, had been intercepted, engaged and sunk by the Amphion and her accompanying destroyers.

Alexander Walter Richards was appointed Paymaster Midshipman on 1 January 1929 and Paymaster Sub-Lieutenant on 1 August 1930. He was awarded the Gedge Medal for 1931 whilst serving on the Warspite and was promoted to Paymaster Lieutenant on 1 August 1932. He was appointed to the post of Secretary to the Captain (Destroyer) Flotilla Staff, H.M.S. Exmouth, in January 1938 and Secretary to the Chief Staff Office Vice Admiral, Submarines, H.M.S. Dolphin, in June 1939. Promoted Paymaster Lieutenant Commander on 1 August 1940, he served in various shore bases in the Middle East, returning to London in 1943, serving as Acting Paymaster Commander on H.M.S. President. Richards served out the last years of the war aboard the repair ship Ausonia. He attained the rank of Commander on 31 December 1946 and served on a number of ships and shore bases - Scotia 1947, Vengeance 1948, Minerva 1950, Campania 1952, President 1953, Eagle 1953 and Heron 1955. After his final posting, on the Staff of the Second Sea Lord in March 1957, he retired on 20 April 1960. On his retirement he was awarded the O.B.E. (London Gazette 1 January 1960). Sold with a quantity of copied papers relating to the Staff-Paymaster Gedge, the Gedge Medal and Commander Richards.