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

Date of Auction: 9th May 2018

Sold for £360

Estimate: £280 - £320

A post-war ‘Civil Divison’ M.B.E. group of seven awarded to Miss B. E. M. Saunders, Women’s Royal Voluntary Service

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Civil) Member’s 2nd type, silver; 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Malaya, G.VI.R. (Miss. B. E. M. Saunders. W.V.S.); Women’s Royal Voluntary Service Long Service Medal, with Long Service bar, mounted as worn, generally very fine or better, scarce (7) £280-320


M.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1953, Miss Beatrice Evelyn Mary Saunders, County Organiser, Staffordshire Women’s Voluntary Services.

An article which appeared in the Daily News, Perth, Australia, 9 January 1950, gives the following about Saunders’ service:

‘The German people under Hitler did not know of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis nor did they want to know about them, said Miss B. E. M. Saunders today. Formerly area organiser for the Women’s Voluntary Service (England) in Malaya. Miss Saunders lived in Germany for three years before World War II and again from 1944 to 1947. Miss Saunders said that while in Germany after the war she received regularly a copy of an English newspaper which told stories of German atrocities. But when she tried to discuss them the German people with whom she stayed would laugh it all off as a joke.

During her stay in Germany as a voluntary worker for WVS Miss Saunders was billeted at a village 30 miles from Belsen, but the people in the village knew nothing and I ‘could not be told of’ any of the horrors inside the camp fences.

In 1947, Miss Saunders went to Malaya where she worked for the troops stationed there. Of conditions in Malaya she said: ‘Men and women there are living on their nerves; Planters, police and troops are armed all the time and no one travels on a side road alone.’

After 11 years in the service of WVS, Miss Saunders is taking a holiday before returning to England to ‘see an English spring.’