The Langham Collection of Medals to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps

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Date of Auction: 17th September 1999

Sold for £1,050

Estimate: £900 - £1,200

A fine Second World War ‘North Africa’ George Medal group of four awarded to Major F. V. Platel, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, captured in Greece in 1941, and died as a prisoner of war in Germany in March 1944

George Medal, G.VI.R. (Capt. Francis Vittery Platel, R.A.O.C.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; War Medal, extremely fine (4) £900-1200


G.M. London Gazette 22 July 1941: ‘At Masara, on the 23rd January, 1941, an explosion occurred in a cave gallery of No. 8 Base Ammunition Depot, killing and wounding about ten of the staff and igniting a stack of gun cartridges. Captain Platel organised and led a rescue and fire-fighting party into the gallery where the cartridges were exploding in all directions; they fought and extinguished the fire. The cave was full of ammunition of all calibres and, but for this officer’s prompt action, example and disregard of danger, the fire must have spread irrevocably, caused a major explosion and the loss of much ammunition.’

The George Medal was also won on the same occasion by Staff Sergeant E. Percival and Acting Sergeant L. Telford, both of 8 B.A.D., R.A.O.C.

Shortly after this incident, Platel transferred to No. 4 Advanced Ammunition Depot in Greece and was captured there on or about the 1st March 1941. After being held in various camps he was finally interned in Oflag VIB in Germany. He died whilst a prisoner of war on 23 November 1944, and is buried in Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.