A fine Collection of Life Saving Awards

Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £600

Estimate: £200 - £250

A Sea Gallantry Medal awarded to Richard Humphrys for service at the wreck of the Ellen in Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, 18/19 January 1881

Board of Trade Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea, V.R., large, bronze (Richard Humphreys, Wreck of the schooner “Ellen” on the 18th 19th January-1881) edge bruising, otherwise good very fine £200-250


Ex B.D.W. 5 December 1995.

‘Dismasting of the Schooner “Ellen”. On the 17th inst. the Schooner “Ellen” of Beaumaris, on account of contrary weather, was obliged to anchor in Cemaes Bay. A heavy storm from the eastward came down on the 18th obliging the crew to dismast the vessel at two o’clock p.m. Every attempt to save the crew, by both the lifeboat and life apparatus, proved fruitless on account of the severity of the storm. The weather abated a little by the morning of the 19th, and a boat from the harbour went out and brought the crew ashore. They were kindly attended to at the Victoria House. The names of the crew are Captain Williams, of Bangor; O. Parry, of Traeth; and W. T. Evans, of Bangor.’ (Ref. North Wales Chronicle, 22 January 1881).

One silver and four bronze medals for gallantry were awarded by the Board of Trade for this rescue. The request for the medals was sent to the Royal Mint on 22 February, 1881, and the medals were duly supplied on the 1st March. There is an interesting note on the next request to the Royal Mint: “In engraving names on the rim of medals, no stops should be put between the Christian and Surname, as has been done in the past, when the Christian name is written in full. A stop should only be put where the first letter of the Christian name is given.” (Letter dated 9-3-1881).