A Collection of Medals to the South Wales Borderers

Date of Auction: 27th February 2019

Sold for £160

Estimate: £140 - £180

Three: Corporal W. J. Gawler, South Wales Borderers, who was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry at Flers on 24 September 1916

1914 Star (11074 Pte. W. J. Gawler. S. Wales Bord.), with lid of named card box of issue; British War and Victory Medals (11074 Cpl. W. J. Gawler. S. Wales Bord.), with named card box of issue, nearly extremely fine (3) £140-£180


M.M. London Gazette 9 December 1916.

William John Gawler was born in 1886 in Bristol, Gloucestershire. He enlisted in the South Wales Borderers on 28 March 1912 and served during the Great War on the Western Front from 9 November 1914, having been appointed to the 1st Battalion from the Special Reserve. He was awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry in support of the Black Watch on 24 September 1916 during an advance down the Flers Support Line in which several prisoners were captured:
‘Aided by Sergeant Gawler, Second Lieutenant Zacharias headed the surviving Black Watch bombers and drove the enemy back, the advance being led by Private Crossland as leading bomber and Private W. Vaughan as bayonet man. By their efforts the Germans were kept at bay till the barricade had been completed and the covering party could come back. In covering the withdrawal Second Lieutenant Zacharias was killed and Sergeant Gawler wounded’ (
The History of the South Wales Borderers 1914-18 by C. T. Atkinson refers).

Gawler was discharged on 26 October 1917 as no longer fit for war duty and was awarded the Silver War Badge. He returned to Bristol where in 1939 his occupation was listed as ‘disabled ex-serviceman.’ He died in Bristol in 1959.