Exceptional Naval and Polar Awards from the Collection of RC Witte

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Date of Auction: 19th June 2013

Sold for £500

Estimate: £180 - £220

Four: Sergeant J. W. “Drummy” Mead, Wiltshire Regiment, who, having been taken P.O.W. at Ypres in October 1914, rose to be Drum Major of the 1st Battalion in the 1920s

1914 Star, with (copy) clasp (8339 L. Cpl. J. W. Mead, 2/Wilts. R); British War and Victory Medals (8339 Pte. J. W. Mead, Wilts. R.); Army L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 1st issue (5562154 Sjt. J. W. Mead, Wilts. R.), the first three with contact marks and polished, thus good fine, the last very fine (4) £180-220


Joseph William “Drummy” Mead, a well-known member of the Wiltshire Regiment for more than 20 years, who spent much of his career with the Drums becoming a Sergeant Drummer and then Drum Major of the 1st Battalion in the 1920s, enlisted in the regiment around 1909, serving in the 2nd Battalion as a tenor drummer in the period leading up to the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914.

Embarked with his Battalion for Belgium as a Lance-Corporal in early October, where he was landed at Zeebrugge, Mead and his comrades were quickly in action at Ypres and, in the last week of the month faced a massive German attack, Major W. S. Shepherd, M.C., noting ‘continuous shooting from sunrise to sunset’ over a four day period. Heavy shelling also caused great damage to the trenches and many men were buried alive. And for those who were not killed or mortally wounded, captivity beckoned, the sole remaining officer being the Quarter-Master. Mead was subsequently interned at Gottingen - a lively account of life there, written by a fellow member of his battalion, is included.

Post-war, Mead served in Russia in 1919 and, as cited above, rose to Drum Major of the 1st Battalion. By the time of his retirement in early 1930, he had been advanced to Colour-Sergeant, this after adding the L.S. & G.C. Medal to his accolades in
AO 357 of 1927; sold with extracts from the regimental journal and other research.