The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

Date of Auction: 20th August 2020

Sold for £1,200

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,400

A Military O.B.E. Medal group of four awarded to Acting Company Sergeant-Major W. S. Wallis, Postal Section, Royal Engineers, believed to have been an award for bravery in Ireland

Medal of the Order of the British Empire, (Military) unnamed as issued, in its John Pinches, London case of issue; 1914-15 Star (30742 Spr: W. S. Wallis. R.E.); British War and Victory Medals (30742 Sjt. W. S. Wallis. R.E.); Imperial Service Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue (Walter Sidney Wallis.) in its fitted case of issue, extremely fine (5) £1,000-£1,400

Footnote

O.B.E. Medal London Gazette 1 January 1923: ‘The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to the undermentioned - To be dated the 28th December 1922.... No.1853394, Sergeant (Acting Company Sergeant-Major) Walter Sidney Wallis, Postal Section, Royal Engineers.’

One of fourteen such awards on this date to the Army, and the only one to the R.E. This medal was normally awarded for bravery, and of the four recipients whose deeds have been identified, all were for service in Ireland. Of the fourteen civilians awarded the medal in this Gazette, most have Irish names.

The I.R.A. were notorious for holding up Post vans and stealing the contents, both for obtaining money from registered packets, and for capturing Army documents.

The new ‘British Empire Medal’, intended for merely good service, came in on 29 December 1922, and the back-dating of these awards would appear to be deliberately to award the bravery medal.