Medals from the Collection of R.W. Gould, MBE

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Date of Auction: 20th September 2002

Sold for £470

Estimate: £300 - £350

A K.P.M. pair awarded to Sub-Divisional Inspector C. H. O. Smithers, Metropolitan Police, for rescuing two men from drowning in the River Thames

King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (Cecil Smithers, Sergt. Met Police); Coronation 1911, Metropolitan Police (P.C.) good very fine (2) £300-350


K.P.M. London Gazette 1 January 1916.

On the 25th January, 1915, the Sergeant, who was off duty, but in uniform, travelling home on the top of a tramcar, while passing over Westminster Bridge, heard a Police whistle blown. He thereupon left the car and running to a parapet of the bridge saw two men in the water who were calling for help. He at once climbed the hoarding which surrounds the County Hall, and after surmounting several obstacles in the darkness reached the embankment. He then threw off his greatcoat, seized a lifebelt, and descended into the water. After swimming against the tide he succeeded in reaching the men who were in an exhausted condition. The three men were carried by the tide to some barges, and with the Sergeant’s assistance one of the persons was lifted into a boat which had been sent from Westminster Pier. The Sergeant then attempted to swim back to the other person, a soldier, but was unable to reach him owing to the strong current, and eventually both men were taken out of the water by the boatmen. The Sergeant was by this time in an extremely exhausted condition, and he was placed on the sick list, being unable to resume duty for six days. The water at the time of the occurrence was from 15 to 20 feet deep with a very strong current running.

Cecil Harry Olney Smithers was born at Bermondsey, S.E. London, on 26 October 1885. He was a leatherworker before joining the Metropolitan Police on 17 September 1906. Promoted to Sergeant in October 1912, he was advanced to Inspector in July 1922, and to Sub-Divisional Inspector in October 1928. He retired on pension in September 1931, and died on 17 April 1959, aged 74. Sold with further research including a copied article from the Police Review giving citation and portrait.