A Collection of Medals to The Royal Engineers

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Date of Auction: 4th December 2002

Sold for £1,400

Estimate: £700 - £900

George Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue (4967723 C.S.M. Francis Smith, R.E.) extremely fine £700-900


G.M. London Gazette 21 October 1941. The recommendation states:

‘On 12 August 1940, at 21.30 hours, in Sunderland, work commenced on an unexploded bomb at Laing’s Shipyard, close to a battery of radial drilling machines. The bomb, a 250 kilo-gram type, was at a depth of 15 feet in made up ground and had turned under two half corrugated one-eighth inch steel plates which were buried several feet below the surface. Not long after the work commenced an air raid occurred and most of the section took cover in an air raid shelter, but Company Sergeant-Major Smith, then a Section Sergeant, together with the Section Lance-Sergeant and two Sappers, volunteered to continue work. This was done by the light of a motor-cycle headlamp screened by a greatcoat. During this time bombs were falling, there was much gunfire and splinters were falling all round. The work progressed right through the air raid, under considerable handicaps caused by the position of the bomb and the improvised artificial light, but the bomb was defused at 08.00 hours on 13 August, enabling the shipyard to start work as usual.

At Sheffield between 13-16 December 1940, Company Sergeant-Major Smith carried out continuous reconnaissances of unexploded bombs during heavy raids. He took charge of a small party of men which disposed of six delayed-action bombs with (17) fuses during this period. One of the bombs was partly buried and very near to large petrol storage tanks and disposed of during a second very heavy raid on 16 December, with bombs falling in the vicinity. By the prompt action and continuous work of Company Sergeant-Major Smith and his party a large conflagration was undoubtedly saved.

He has been engaged on bomb disposal work for 12 months and during this period he has displayed outstanding leadership, keenness, determination and devotion to duty at all times.’

A fine Blitz award for work with No. 14 Bomb Disposal Company, R.E.