A Collection of Medals to the South Wales Borderers
Date of Auction: 27th February 2019
Sold for £300
Estimate: £240 - £280
1914 Star, with copy clasp (2. Lieut: J. M. L. Vernon. S. Wales Bord.) ‘s’ of ‘Wales’ double struck; British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. J. M. L. Vernon.) good very fine (3) £240-£280
FootnoteJohn Murhall Lossford Vernon was born in 1893, the son of Thomas M. L. Vernon, J.P., of Tushingham House, Whitchurch, Shropshire, and was educated at Radley. Commissioned Second Lieutenant in the South Wales Borderers, he served with the 1st Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 12 August 1914, and was severely wounded when leading his men on 14 September 1914 in the Chivy Valley during the battle of the Aisne: ‘It was nearly sunset by this time, but light enough for the Brigadier to point out a barn on the far ridge as directing point to Captain Ward, whose company, A, was leading with C, D and B following. As the troops pushed down the slope they were greeted with a sharp burst of shrapnel and some High Explosive shells, one of which, bursting in the middle of Lieutenant Vernon’s platoon of D, knocked out nearly the whole platoon, the officer being severely wounded. However, the battalion pushed ahead, leaving Chivy on the left, and was soon pressing on uphill through a thick wood with dense undergrowth.’ (The History of the South Wales Borderers 1914-18, by C. T. Atkinson refers).
Another personal account described the incident thus:
‘At dusk we are ordered to move up the valley towards the T of Troyan, which we did. As D Company was leaving the wood a melanite shell burst at the head of one platoon. Poor young Vernon and a few men were knocked out. Vernon mercifully and miraculously not killed.’
Vernon later attained the rank of Captain with the 3rd Special Reserve Battalion South Wales Borderers. He died in Cirencester in 1960. Sold with copied Medal Index Card, a photocopied photograph of the recipient, and other research.