A Collection of Medals formed by the Reverend Canon Nigel Nicholson, OStJ, DL
Date of Auction: 16th April 2020
Sold for £3,600
Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200
George Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue (Walter Charles Nicholson) officially re-engraved naming, with card box of issue; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Coronation 1953; Police Long Service Medal, E.II.R., 2nd issue (D.S. (1st Cl.) Walter C. Nicholson) with named card box of issue, group mounted for wearing, extremely fine (5) £1,800-£2,200
FootnoteG.M. London Gazette 15 November 1940.
Joint citation for Police Constables Bernard Lees, William Richard Gunn and Charles Nicholson, all of “G” Division, Metropolitan Police Force:
‘Following an enemy air raid a large number of buildings were demolished, many people being injured and trapped in the wreckage. A number of police attended the scene and assisted Wardens who were present in searching the debris for persons who might be trapped.
Whilst searching among the ruins of a house moans were heard coming from the wreckage.
As there were no Rescue of Demolition Parties, all the police present immediately started to try to pierce the ruins with a view to releasing those who were trapped underneath and a hole was subsequently found amongst the rubble leading down from where the stairs had been. The hole was a very small one and it was impossible to see where it led to or how deep it was and whether it was safe to enter.
P.Cs. Lees, Gunn and Nicholson immediately volunteered to go down to see if they could reach those who were trapped and by crawling on their stomachs they gradually got down to a depth of 20 feet where they found four or five people trapped and seriously injured. Finding it impossible to remove them, they returned to the surface and reported exactly where they were and the best means of removing the wreckage.
All police present then began carefully to remove as much of the wreckage as possible, and during this time the three officers repeatedly entered the hole at great personal risk, speaking to and encouraging the people present by telling them that everything possible was being done. When it was realised that the extrication was going to take some considerable time, the three officers asked for pieces of wood about three feet in length to be passed down to them with a saw. P.Cs. Lees and Gunn lying on their stomachs in a small hole choked with dust and escaping gas, shored up the debris surrounding a young woman and sawed through a door which was pinning her down. In this way they managed to effect her release and, passing her carefully from one to another they got her to the surface where stretcher bearers carried her to an awaiting ambulance.
The three men then carried on with their brave and heroic work until the time when Rescue and Demolition Parties arrived.’
The above rescue took place in the early morning of 9 September 1940, in Ferncliff Road, Dalston, London. Constable Nicholson was presented with his George Medal at an Investiture at Buckingham Palace on 27 May 1941.
Sold with original Home Office letter of congratulation advising of the award of the George Medal, dated 15 November 1940; London Gazette extracts; and Central Chancery letter of instruction to attend Investiture, dated 10 May 1941. All of these documents refer to the recipient as Constable Charles Nicholson, omitting his first Christian name of Walter. The George Medal also being named to ‘Charles Nicholson’, it was subsequently returned to the Royal Mint and officially re-engraved with his full names.