Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (13 January 2021)

Date of Auction: 13th January 2021

Sold for £3,200

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

A fine and scarce Second War ‘D-Day’ D.S.M. group of nine awarded to Chief Petty Officer B. H. A. Chapman, Royal Navy, for gallantry when H.M.S. Wrestler was mined and damaged beyond repair off Le Havre on 6 June 1944

Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R. (P.O. B. H. A. Chapman, P/JX. 131653); Naval General Service 1915-62, 2 clasps, Palestine 1936-1939, Near East (JX. 131653 B. H. A. Chapman. P.O. R.N.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star, clasp, France and Germany; Africa Star, clasp, North Africa 1942-43; Italy Star; War Medal, with M.I.D. oak leaf; Coronation 1953, unnamed as issued; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 1st issue (131653 B. H. A. Chapman. C.P.O. H.M.S. Sea Serpent) generally good very fine (9) £3,000-£4,000


Provenance: Spink, March 1994; Dix Noonan Webb, March 2005.

D.S.M. London Gazette 14 November 1944: ‘For gallantry, skill, determination and undaunted devotion to duty during the landing of Allied Forces on the coast of Normandy.’

The original recommendation states:

‘For outstanding endeavour and disregard of danger in Damage Control, including work in flames, thick smoke and flooded compartments when the ship appeared to be sinking.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 1 January 1945: ‘Petty Officer, H.M.S. Wrestler (Southsea)’.

Bertie Henry Amos Chapman was born at South Stoneham, Hampshire, on 11 November 1912, and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 8 May 1928. He was decorated for his gallant deeds aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Wrestler, when, 20 nautical miles WNW of Le Havre on D-Day, 6 June 1944, she was mined and damaged beyond repair. His ‘mention’ was for services in the same ship. Chapman received his D.S.M. at an investiture held on 16 February 1945, and received his L.S. & G.C. medal on 24 September 1945.

At which point he Chapman joined the Wrestler remains unknown, but it is worth noting that this 1918-vintage destroyer amassed eight Battle Honours in 1939-45 War, the majority of them for actions in the Mediterranean, but also including ‘Arctic 1943-44’.