The John Goddard Collection of Important Naval Medals and Nelson Letters (24 November 2015)

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Date of Auction: 24th November 2015

Sold for £19,000

Estimate: £12,000 - £15,000

The Defence of Legations medal awarded to Private Albert Scadding, Royal Marine Light Infantry, the first British man to lose his life in the defence when he was killed in action on 22 June 1900, one of only 2 Royal Marines who were killed in the siege of Pekin

China 1900, 1 clasp, Defence of Legations (Pvte. A. Scadding, R.M.L.I.) nearly extremely fine £12000-15000


Provenance: Buckland Dix & Wood, April 1995.

Albert Scadding was born at Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon, on 11 November 1878, and enlisted into the Royal Marines at Newton Abbot on 10 June 1897. After basic training at the R.M. Depot at Walmer, Kent, he was transferred to the Plymouth Division. On 16 September 1898, he embarked aboard H.M.S. Barfleur and was discharged to the Wei-Hai-Wei Depot in December 1899. He was part of the Legation Guard in Pekin and became the first Englishman to lose his life in the defence when, on 22 June 1900, he was killed in action whilst on watch on a stable roof.

During the entire siege the Royal Marine casualties amounted to 2 men killed, 1 officer (Captain Strouts) and 1 man died of wounds, and 21 men wounded. His medal was issued to his brother, Samuel Scadding, on 11 June 1903. The medal to Captain B. M. Strouts, who was mortally wounded and appears on the official casualty list as ‘died of wounds’, is in the Royal Marines Museum.

In his report on the part taken in the defence of Pekin by the Royal Marine Legation Guard, Captain Edmund Wray, R.M.L.I., Commanding the British Marine Guard, gave the following entry for 22nd June 1900: ‘An unsuccessful attempt was made to burn the Legations at the south-west corner. Captain Poole with 15 Marines, reconnoitred the Hanlin, Private Scadding was killed.’