Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 & 20 September 2013)

Date of Auction: 19th & 20th September 2013

Sold for £8,200

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

An excessively rare Tynemouth Gold Medal and Great War Russian St. George Medal for Bravery group of five awarded to Corporal E. S. Scorfield, Royal Engineers, who was one time a forward for the English Rugby Union Football Squad and in later life a famous newspaper cartoonist in Australia

Star (42142 Cpl., R.E.); British War and Victory Medals (42142 Cpl., R.E.); Russia, St. George Medal for Bravery, Nicholas II, 2nd Class, gold, the reverse officially numbered ‘22117’; Tynemouth Medal, gold, the reverse centre engraved ‘Awarded to E. S. Scorfield, 20th Aug. 1911’, complete with ornate suspension brooch, in Proctor, Newcastle-on-Tyne fitted case of issue, contact marks and edge bruising, otherwise generally very fine, the last nearly extremely fine (5) £5000-6000


Ex D.N.W. 6 July 2004.

Just four Tynemouth Medals in gold have been issued, one of them with a Second Award Bar; see the article
The Tynemouth Medal Trust by Jack Boddington, Life Saving Awards Research Society Journal, No. 34, September 1998.

Edward Scafe “Ted” Scorfield, who was born in Preston, Northumberland on 21 April 1882, ‘gave every evidence of his exceptional talent with the pencil’ as a young boy and ‘was on his way to becoming a naval architect when he switched to newspaper cartooning.’ He subsequently enjoyed popularity as a cartoonist for the
Newcastle Sunday Sun and North Mail prior to moving to Australia to become the political cartoonist of the Sydney Bulletin in early 1925.

In addition to his skill as a draughtsman, Scorfield was a talented sportsman and played rugby football for local sides Percy Park and Northumberland County, and ultimately for England. According to newspaper features of the period, ‘He was gifted with a powerful frame which he knew how to use gently but effectively’, and was ‘a straight English gentleman of the finest type; these are the men that Rugby raises.’ He was also a member of the Tynemouth Amateur Rowing Club from 1906, being made a life member in 1925.

These strains of sporting prowess and physical fitness no doubt saved the day at Short Sands in King Edward’s Bay on 20 August 1911, when he rescued a drowning bather, his gallant act coming to the notice of the Tynemouth Medal Trust committee, who, in October of the same year, resolved to issue a ‘Gold Medal for special cases’ exceeding the standards set by their silver award: Edward Scorfield became the first such recipient:

‘Mr. Scorfield noticed a man who was shouting for help. He jumped over the railings and ran down the cliff. There he seized a buoy attached to a rope held by Michael Lowes (No. 16) and entered the sea, the tide being about half ebb with a heavy sea and strong outward current. Scorfield swam out to the man who was rapidly drifting out to sea. Mr. Scorfield reached the drowning man, Mr. Dobie, who was nearly exhausted. Gunner Roberts (No. 40), who had undressed on the shore, swam out to the two men and greatly encouraged Mr. Bobie to hold on to the buoy, ultimately enabling several bathers to assist in handing in the rescued and his two rescuers.’

Scorfield’s military career in the Royal Engineers in the Great War was distinguished by further acts of bravery, and for the operations in Gallipoli he was awarded a commendation certificate from Lieutenant-General Mahon, the G.O.C. of 10th (Irish) Division, in September 1915; so, too, were his subsequent deeds of gallantry in Salonika recognised, by the award of the Russian St. George Medal for Bravery, 2nd Class (
London Gazette 15 February 1917). He was invalided from the latter front towards the end of the War.

Scorfield remained employed as a cartoonist on the Sydney Bulletin for over 40 years, and was still writing articles and drawing into his late 70s. He died at Mosman on 11 December 1965.

Sold with a quantity of original documentation, including:

(i) A leather bound autograph album, the front cover with gilt title “From Rugby Football & Other Sporting Friends, 1925, Teddy Scorfield”, with numerous autographs from rugby football players, 1925-35, including the British Rugby Union Football team, 1930; also including pasted-down newspaper cuttings and his G.O.C. 10th (Irish) Division commendation certificate for the Gallipoli operations, dated 4 September 1915.

(ii) Two “artwork” books:
Paintings in Oil by Norman Lindsay (The Shepherd Press, Sydney, Australia, n.d), with 14 reproductions in colour and 16 half-tone plates in black and white, No. 196 of a limited edition of 1000, signed by the author in two places and with additional inscription, ‘To Ted Scorfield with kindest wishes and regards, Howard Hinton’, foxed; together with the Norman Lindsay Water Colour Book (The Springwood Press, 31 MacQuarie Place, Sydney, 1939), with 18 reproductions in colour, being one of a limited edition of 1850, with ink inscribed dedication, ‘To my friend Ted Scorfield who paid me the compliment of buying this book, Norman Lindsay’, complete with small original ‘pirate’ watercolour, and a taped-down handwritten letter to Scorfield from Lindsay, n.d., discussing one of his pirate pictures and other matters (‘I’ve had a fairly lousy time this last couple of months, but appear to be crawling back to a reasonable state of health by slow degrees ...’), foxed

(iii) A fine selection of original cartoon drawings (19), as presented to Scorfield by fellow cartoonists on the occasion of his retirement from the Sydney Bulletin in 1961; together with three cartoon drawings by Scorfield himself, and a more serious sketch which appears to be based on “Gallipoli donkeyman” Private John Simpson.

(iv) Two 1939-45 War vintage certificates in the name of Mrs. Scorfield, marking voluntary work with the American Red Cross and ‘The American Center’, the latter dated 19 October 1944.

A Mixed Grill of the Bulletin, by Ted Scorfield, booklet containing Scorfield cartoons, 66 pp., original but repaired paper cover; together with a postcard bearing a Scorfield cartoon.

With additional copied research.