A Collection of Medals to The Royal Engineers

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Date of Auction: 4th December 2002

Sold for £130

Estimate: £80 - £100

Royal Humane Society, small silver medal (successful) (Corpl. John Waugh, R.E., 30th Apl. 1915) lacking usual riband brooch, edge bruise, nearly extremely fine £80-100


Royal Humane Society Case No. 41,502 states:

‘The Royal Engineers were practising trench warfare at Colchester, and on the afternoon of 29 April 1915, a mine was exploded. The earth was broken up, but no crater was formed, and on the morning of 30 April a party of men was sent to clear away the loose earth so that the mine chamber could be inspected, but with orders not to enter the gallery. Contrary to instructions, Sapper Williams entered the gallery and did not return, and Sappers Scott, Simpson, Bullock and Lichfield went in to try to get him out, but failed in their objective and were all more or less affected. Corporal Blythe then went in and got these four men out unaided; 2nd Lieutenant E. J. Darton then went in to try and reach Williams, but did not return. Corporal Blythe made a heroic effort to reach Lieutenant Darton, but failed and had to be removed to the hospital. Major de Lotbiniere, 2nd Lieutenant Lynam and several other men made gallant efforts to reach Lieutenant Darton and Williams [including Corporal Waugh], and eventually they were got out, but both had succumbed to the carbon monoxide gas present in the gallery after the mine was exploded.’

Five silver and eight bronze Royal Humane Society Medals were awarded for this incident; Lieutenant Darton’s family received an “In Memoriam” scroll.