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

Date of Auction: 26th March 2009

Sold for £1,800

Estimate: £600 - £800

Presentation Nurse’s Badge for the Defence of Ladysmith, central red enamel paty cross, with inset diamond, inscribed ‘Ladysmith’ above, and ‘1900’ below; reverse inscribed, ‘A. B. Keighley’, 29mm., 18ct. gold, 9.96g., hallmarks for Birmingham 1901, pin-backed, with safety chain, minor edge bruising, good very fine, rare £600-800

Footnote

Ex. Spink, Anglo-Boer War Anniversary 1899-1999 auction, 20/21 October 1999, lot 238 (£1,600 hammer price).

Nursing Sister A. B. Keighley served at the Intombi Hospital Camp during the siege of Ladysmith. For her services she was awarded the R.R.C. and mentioned in the despatches of General White.

The award of this rare badge, of which only three are known, is referred to in the Diamond Fields Advertiser, 1 April 1902:

‘Officers and Siege Nurses -

A particularly graceful recognition of the work of the Army Nurses in South Africa has recently come to light. Soon after the relief of Ladysmith the Officers and Cavalry Brigade and the Imperial Light Horse who were stationed in the town during the siege expressed in a letter to Mrs E. Ludlow, of the Army Nursing Service, a wish to send all the “Siege” Nurses a small token of their appreciation of the care and devotion which had been shown to their wounded men. Mrs Ludlow has just been forwarded to her address a gold brooch with a red enamelled Maltese cross centre and in the centre of the cross a diamond star, with “Ladysmith, 1900” beneath the cross, her name being inscribed on the reverse.’