Medals from the Rob Campbell Collection relating to Clevedon, Somerset

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Date of Auction: 5th December 2018

Sold for £1,700

Estimate: £700 - £900

Family group:

A fine Great War ‘Hill 70’ sniper’s M.M. group of four awarded to Corporal A. Martin, 20th Canadian Battalion (Central Ontario Regiment), Canadian Expeditionary Force, who on 15 August 1917, ‘accounted for 14 of the enemy, and during the early evening demonstrated how “easy” it was by adding 3 more to his score in a few minutes.’ Martin was gassed and twice wounded during the Great War, dying from his wounds in October 1935
Military Medal, G.V.R. (57229 L. Cpl. A. Martin. 20/Can: Inf:) partially officially corrected; 1914-15 Star (57229 Pte. A. Martin. 20/Can: Inf:) British War and Victory Medals (57229 Cpl. A. Martin. 20 - Can. Inf.); with Canadian Memorial Cross, G.V.R. (57229 Cpl. A. Martin M.M.) mounted for display, good very fine

A Medal of the Order of the British Empire awarded to Forewoman Cook Miss Ellen Thacker, later Mrs A. Martin, Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps
Medal of the Order of the British Empire, (Military), unnamed as issued, with John Pinches, London case of issue, nearly extremely fine (6) £700-£900

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 19 November 1917, the original recommendation states:

‘On August 15th/19th 1917. For conspicuous courage and devotion to duty. During an attack on the enemy’s trenches he moved forward with the most advanced troops to the final objective. By great courage and daring he pushed forward of this line and established himself at a point from which he was able, by sniping, to keep down the fire of the enemy snipers throughout the day, though continually exposed to hostile fire, thus making it possible for his comrades to consolidate the trench behind him.’

Arthur Martin was born in Clevedon in March 1885, and in the early 1900’s he took advantage of the Canadian Pacific’s recruiting drive and moved to Canada. He quickly dispensed with railway work and joined the Mounted Police. Martin served during the Great War with the 20th Canadian Battalion (Central Ontario Regiment), Canadian Expeditionary Force in the French theatre of war. He was wounded in action, 3 March 1917, and having recuperated from his wound went on to distinguish himself during the battle for Hill 70, on the outskirts of Lens, 15 - 25 August 1917. The Battalion War Diary gives the following additional detail for 15 August 1917:

‘After the occupation of Commotion Trench, bombing and Lewis Gun posts were pushed forward... The enemy put up a good fight with his machine guns, and some of his snipers fought well, but the moral of the remainder of his troops was of a low order.

The indirect machine gun fire of the enemy from emplacements in the neighbourhood of the brick fields, at Cite St. Auguste, was particularly active, enfilading, as it did, all the streets of Cite St. Emile.

As soon as the final objective was reached, all ranks set to work to consolidate. The trenches had been pretty well battered by our heavies, and they did not afford much protection. As enemy snipers were causing us trouble, L/Corp. A. Martin pushed out into No Man’s Land, and made it so hot for them that they were unable to cause much further trouble.

He accounted for 14 of the enemy, and during the early evening demonstrated how “easy” it was by adding 3 more to his score in a few minutes.’

Martin was subsequently gassed, and then wounded in action again, 15 August 1918. He was posted for convalescence to Woodcote Park Hospital, Richmond, and whilst at the latter he met Ellen Sarah Thacker. Martin and Miss Thacker married 14 June 1919, and he was discharged from the Army, 19 September 1919. He received a pension from the Canadian Government because of his wounds, and he died from the latter in Clevedon, aged 50, in October 1935.

Medal of the Order of the British Empire London Gazette 23 January 1920, Forewoman Cook Ellen Thacker, Military Convalescence Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom:

‘Length of service and devotion to duty.’

Ellen Martin, née Thacker served as Forewoman Cook with Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Corps during the Great War. Having met her husband at the Woodcote Park Hospital, Richmond, they moved to “Oxney”, Old Church Road, Clevedon in the 1930s.

Sold with extensive copied research, including photographic images of Arthur Martin.