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

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Date of Auction: 20th September 2002

Sold for £720

Estimate: £500 - £600

A Gallantry K.P.M. group of five awarded to Police Sergeant Thomas Kenwood, Metropolitan Police, late Gunner, Royal Artillery, for saving a woman from drowning in the River Thames at night

King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 2nd issue, crowned head (P.C. Thomas J. Kenwood, Metropolitan Police); General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, N.W. Persia (1044023 Gnr., R.A.); Defence Medal; Coronation 1953; Police Exemplary Service Medal, G.VI.R., 2nd issue (Sergt.) very fine (5) £500-600


K.P.M. (Gallantry) London Gazette 1 January 1931. Approximately 171 K.P.M’s of this type are specifically identified in the Gazettes as being awarded for gallantry in the period 1931-33. This figure includes 36 awards for the United Kingdom, the remainder being for India, Burma, Dominions and Colonies. Prior to 1931 gallantry awards are not specified in the London Gazette and it is not until the introduction of the ‘For Gallantry’ reverse in 1934 that the situation becomes clearer.

On 7th April, 1930, the officer, whilst on duty in uniform at the Victoria Embankment, was informed that the body of a woman was floating in the River Thames near Cleopatra’s Needle. He proceeded to the spot and with the aid of a police lamp (it was very dark) discerned the woman being carried swiftly downstream. He at once divested himself of his greatcoat and helmet, dived into the water which was about 15 feet deep and succeeded in reaching the unconscious woman. Although hampered by his clothing, he managed to swim with her almost to the steps but then became exhausted. With the assistance of a civilian, however, he managed to bring her to the steps. Artificial respiration was then applied by another officer and a member of the St John Ambulance Association and the woman recovered and was removed to hospital for treatment. Besides being dark at the time of rescue, it was very cold and a strong ebb tide was running; moreover, the officer was in grave danger of being drawn into the eddies which surround the Needle projection.

Thomas Jack Kenwood was born at Horsham, West Sussex, on 10 June 1900. He served in the Royal Horse Artillery from September 1918 until September 1924, seeing service in India and North West Persia. Joining the Metropolitan Police on 9 March 1925, he served with distinction until his retirement on pension on 17 April 1955. In addition to the award of the K.P.M., he was awarded a testimonial on vellum from the Royal Humane Society and, in June 1945, received a Commendation for ‘consistent and outstanding good work in connection with deserters and absentees.’ Sold with further research, including a lengthy local news cutting, with photograph, on the occasion of his retirement.