A Collection of Medals to Second World War Casualties

Date of Auction: 18th July 2018

Sold for £550

Estimate: £240 - £280

Family Group:

Three: Able Seaman James McLean Smith, Royal Navy, killed in action when H.M.S. Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk by the German battleship Bismark and the battle cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait, 24 May 1941; of the Hood’s 1,418 crew, only three men survived
1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; War Medal 1939-45, with named Admiralty enclosure, in card box of issue, addressed to ‘Mr. J. M. Smith, 6 Bourne Street, Hull’, extremely fine

Three: Stoker John McLean Smith, Royal Naval Reserve
British War and Victory Medals (3118T J. Mc L. Smith. Engn. R.N.R.); Royal Naval Reserve L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 2nd issue, fixed suspension (2394U. J. Mc L. Smith. Sto. R.N.R.) very fine (6) £240-280


James McLean Smith served during the Second World War as an Able Seaman in the Battle Cruiser H.M.S. Hood. He was killed in action during the Battle of the Denmark Strait, when the Hood, together with the battleship H.M.S. Prince of Wales, fought the German battleship Bismark and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, both of which were attempting to break out into the North Atlantic to destroy Allied merchant shipping. The Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, opened fire at 5:52 a.m. on 24 May 1941, and having received a direct hit from the Bismark at 6:00 a.m. sank beneath the waves within three minutes, after a total combat lifespan of less than quarter of an hour. Of the 1,418 Officers and crew on board, only three men, Ordinary Seaman Ted Briggs, Able Seaman Robert Tilburn, and Midshipman William Dundas survived.

Smith was amongst those killed, aged 28. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. His medals were sent to his father John McLean Smith, who had served during the Great War in the Royal Naval Reserve.

Sold with four photographic images, three of the recipient and one of H.M.S. Hood