Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (8 & 9 May 2019)

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Date of Auction: 8th & 9th May 2019

Sold for £460

Estimate: £260 - £300

Royal Humane Society, large silver medal (successful), the reverse inscribed ‘Whalley Wickham. Esqre. 27 July 1851’, unmounted in its Warrington fitted case of issue, extremely fine £260-£300


R.H.S. Case No. 15,108: On 27 July 1851 Mr Whalley Wickham, of Frome, Somerset, first sprang over a deep fence and then plunged into the River Frome and saved a girl, name unknown, aged 5. Hon. Silver Medal presented by H.R,H. The Duke of Cambridge at the Festival on 17 September 1851.

James Whalley Dawe Thomas Wickham was born at North Hill House, Frome, in April 1812, eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel James Anthony Wickham, North Somerset Yeomanry Cavalry, who was known affectionately as the ‘Father of the Regiment’. He followed in his father’s footsteps and was commissioned into the regiment on 29 August 1829. The country was then reeling from the results of unrest and on Saturday, 29 October 1831, one of the most serious riots the country had ever seen took place in Bristol. The rioters had reached the Mansion House in Queen’s Square where they forced entry and pillaged the building. The then Captain Wickham, commanding the Frome Troop, was asked to send a detachment post haste to help quell the disturbances and aid the 14th Light Dragoons, 3rd Dragoons, Horse Artillery, 52nd Light Infantry, and a squadron of Gloucestershire Yeomanry. Three prisons were attacked and the inmates released, the Bishop’s Palace, the Customs House, and many houses in Queen’s Square were destroyed by fire. However, after some three or four days of rioting order was speedily restored and the North Somerset Yeomanry were relieved of duty on 7 November after receiving numerous commendations for their efforts. Wickham remained with the regiment until 1850, when he retired with the rank of Major. In 1859 a call was made for a unit of Rifle Volunteers to be formed and immediately 100 men from Frome came forward, Wickham being unanimously selected to be the first Captain of the Frome-Selwood 13th Volunteer Rifles. He was also a J.P. for Somerset, was Superintendent of the Fire Brigade and its president until his death on 23 December 1885.

Sold with comprehensive research.