A fine Collection of Life Saving Awards

Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £460

Estimate: £450 - £500

An Honorary M.B.E. and Lloyd’s Medal for Saving Life at Sea group of five awarded to Third Officer Helge Vemer Nielsen of the M.V. Empire Knight

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Civil) Member’s 2nd type breast badge, silver; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; War Medal 1939-45, these unnamed; Lloyd’s Medal for Saving Life at Sea, 2nd small type, silver (Third Officer H. V. Nielsen, M.V. “Empire Knight” 11th February 1944) very fine and better (5) £450-500


M.B.E. not gazetted as the recipient was a foreign national.

‘The S.S. “Empirer Knight” was on a voyage from St. John, New Brunswick to New York when she stranded on Boon Island Ledge on February 11th 1944 and became a total loss. The weather was extremely bad with wind at gale force, heavy seas and the temperature well below zero. Of the crew of 44, the Master, Chief Officer and 22 others were drowned. The majority of the crew, including the Master, were of Danish nationality.

The Third Officer, with the assistance of two other crew members, managed to lower one of the boats. Owing to the heavy seas the boat capsized, but righted itself and the three men were able to get into it again. The Third Officer was the only one fully able to row the boat, and this he continued to do even though his hands froze to the oars. These three survivors were, in due course, picked up by an American ship.’ (ref. Lloyd’s Medals 1836-1989, Awards for Courage and Exceptional Services, by Jim Gawler).

With copied extract from the above book and a similar copied newspaer extract.