The Collection of Life Saving Awards formed by The Late W.H. Fevyer

Date of Auction: 25th September 2008

Sold for £470

Estimate: £450 - £500

A Sea Gallantry Medal awarded to Able Seaman John Morahan, S.S. Canadian, for services in rescuing the crew of the barquentine Sunbeam in the North Atlantic, 1908

Sea Gallantry Medal,
E.VII.R., small 2nd issue, silver (John Morahan “Sunbeam” 21st January 1908) in case of issue, extremely fine £450-500


The barquentine Sunbeam, sailing in ballast from Pernambuco, Brazil to St. John’s, Newfoundland, was hit by a fearful gale on 14 January 1908 which opened the seams and let in water. Fighting desperately to keep the vessel afloat in continuing gales heavy seas, they were rescued just in time by the Boston bound Leyland Line steamship Canadian on 21 January. The Canadian sailing from Ireland sighted the hapless Sunbeam some 120 miles southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Coming close by, they launched a lifeboat manned by a volunteer crew and succeeded in picking up the men of the Sunbeam as they jumped from their ship into the raging seas.

Sold with the medal forwarding letter to Morahan, on Board of Trade headed paper, dated 4 September 1909, and signed ‘Winston S. Churchill’. Also with part of
The Boston Sunday Globe, 6 January 1908, which reported details of the rescue and a picture of those rescued, all under the headlines, ‘Eight Men Rescued in Turbulent Sea’. Also with a newspaper extract detailing the presentation of the medal to Morahan.