Medals relating to the Malaya and Korea Campaigns from the Philip Burman Collection

Date of Auction: 9th May 2018

Sold for £3,400

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

A good Korea ‘stretcher bearer’s’ M.M. group of six awarded to Lance-Corporal J. Oven, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, who was originally recommended for the D.C.M., for repeated gallantry under sniper and mortar fire during a Chinese attack, 3 January 1951

Military Medal, G.VI.R, 2nd issue (1427036 L/Cpl. J. Oven. R.N.F.); 1939-45 Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Korea 1950-53, 1st issue (1427036 Fus. W. [sic] Oven. M.M. R.N.F.); U.N. Korea 1950-54, generally good very fine (6)


M.M. London Gazette 10 July 1951, the recommendation (originally for a D.C.M.) states:

‘In the early hours of 3 January 1951, the Headquarters of ‘X’ Company of the Battalion under my [Colonel K. O. N. Foster] command was attacked and over-run by Chinese Communist forces. The Company Headquarters was situated in the school buildings of a small village, and after intermittent fighting in the dark this position was established, with ‘X’ Company digging in in slit trenches outside the village. During the early fighting the Medical Corporal of this Company had been wounded, and L/Cpl Oven, the senior stretcher bearer had taken charge of the casualties and managed to form a first aid post in a wooden hut in the school yard, on what in fact was no man’s land. This hut was in no way bullet proof nor was it defended. L/Cpl Oven, with the assistance of one other stretcher bearer, tended six wounded men in this improvised post for nine hours until relieved by a counter-attack. During this time he was constantly subjected to mortar fire and sniping of both sides. He was eventually relieved at 1610 hours in the afternoon when the situation was restored, and it was the opinion of the Medical Officer [Captain C. W. Bowen, who was awarded the M.C. for the same action, and whose medals were sold in these rooms, 17 May 2016] who evacuated his casualties, that but for the unremitting care and attention two men now on the road to recovery would have lost their lives. In parenthesis it should be added that at the start of the action the thermometer registered 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and at no time during the day did it rise as high as freezing point.

The devotion to duty of this N.C.O. as a result of which the lives of two comrades were saved and the sufferings of four others alleviated, was in the highest traditions of the British Army and of service to humanity.’

Joseph Oven was born in Tideswell, Derbyshire, in September 1917. He was employed as a Quarryman prior to his enlistment as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery, 29 August 1938. Oven served during the Second War with the 2nd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery, in France, 15 September 1939 - 27 May 1940. Having been evacuated back to UK, Oven saw out the remainder of the War in stations at home and transferred to the Green Howards in December 1944. He advanced to Lance Corporal in June 1945, and transferred to the Army Reserve in March 1946.

Oven was mobilised for service with the 1st Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, in 1950. He served with the Battalion in Korea, as part of the 29th Brigade (also comprising of The Royal Ulster Rifles and The Gloucesters), from 20 November 1950 - 18 September 1951. Oven was awarded the M.M. for his gallantry on 3 January 1951. On the latter date the 1st Battalion were holding positions 10 miles north of Seoul, when they came under attack by the Chinese. The Battalion went on to serve at the Battle of Imjin in April 1951. Oven was discharged 10 February 1954.

1 of 5 M.M.’s awarded to the Regiment for Korea.

Sold with copied service papers, and a copy of M.M. recommendation.