Medals from the Collection of Gordon Everson

Medals from the Collection of Gordon Everson

Gordon Everson

Gordon Everson was eleven when war broke out and he received no more proper schooling until the age of 14. Nonetheless, he landed a job at the BBC! A posting to the Overseas Dept at Bush House, Aldwych was nearly fatal, for a V1 flying bomb landed just 40 yards from where Gordon and two young colleagues were standing; miraculously, all three survived. Eighteen months later young Everson forsook the BBC for horology, entering the watch-making business. His familiarity with clocks stood him in good stead when he entered the RAF as an instrument repairer. In Coastal Command, he was based at Calshot during most of 1946-7.

Life in civvy street was dull after climbing over Sunderland flying boats, so Gordon once again changed direction, entering the insurance business with a firm of brokers at Lloyds. In those days, if you were lucky, you might find your way into the team who normally placed business in the Lloyds underwriting room. A senior colleague learnt that Gordon had enjoyed cross-country running since the age of 15, so entered him in an event that he promptly won; as a reward he was placed with the broking team, where he spent 20 happy years in the exciting atmosphere of 'the room'.

In 1969 Gordon become an underwriter of accident and aviation business with a leading syndicate, retiring in 1989 and relishing the thoughts of spending many happy hours at the PRO. Most of his spare time energies had been given up to athletics, both as a competitor and an official, but at the same time he had been collecting books on the American Civil War. One summer's day in 1969, trawling the Islington dealers, he came across a person who appeared to be able to spot a prospective client at three miles in a thick fog. o, he hadn't anything on the American Civil War, but had the gentleman ever thought of buying one or two silver military medals? The line was baited and dangled enticingly. "They're a good investment," he was reminded, and from that moment the American Civil War lost an enthusiast to the ranks of military medallists.

It was a fortunate chance that I, as the person Gordon met that day, had 'discovered' medals only two or three months earlier. I worked as a broker too, and we began spending an increasing number of lunchtimes hunched over restaurant tables, discussing our mutual interests. It wasn't long before we were joined by other like-minded brokers, among them Mike Kingshott, the part-time medal dealer who eventually became chairman of Sally Line, John Bristow and Barry Wilks, both Lloyds aviation underwriters.

Gordon is widely known for his definitive work on the South Africa 1853 medal and his research into the Sir Harry Smith medal for gallantry, but the portion of his collection being sold in the following 166 lots comprises medals won in other theatres of war. However, for those who lean towards the African continent, there is ample consolation to be found in his South Africa 1877-8-9 holding. All the regular fighting regiments are represented. Here is an opportunity to obtain medals earned by men of the 24th who fought and died at Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift. A high proportion of them are to regular officers, and the medal earnt by Lieut. Hutchinson {lot 85) is bound to attract attention, for Hutchinson was recommended for a VC; within the lot is a finely worked pair of miniature representations of the Queen's Colour, which the recipient had received personally from the hand of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle shortly before embarkation.

Jamie Henderson

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