Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (5 July 2011)
Ian was always a great collector, finding pleasure in accumulating old and interesting items of all sorts; from antique clocks to pewter tankards. One of his earliest interests was antique firearms and in particular muzzle loading rifles. As a member of the 'Merseyside Muzzle Loaders' he would often be found firing home-made lead bullets into the butts at Altcar rifle range. Pocket pistols, boxed duelling pistols, assorted powder flasks and shot cartridges and even a blunderbuss were acquired and traded on in the 1970s.
By the late 1970s lan felt he had gone as far as he could with this avenue of collecting and turned his attention to Victorian medals. However it soon became clear that when he found one of these medals to buy, all the research had already been done, and it was the research that fascinated him most. So he turned instead to First World War medals at a time when they were largely ignored.
He spent many hours researching the medals he bought. He refined and edited his collection, only keeping the best he could afford. He always seemed to be ahead of the game and was well known in the medal world as a source of information that he had gleaned over the years. His knowledge was extensive and his generosity in extending that knowledge to younger or less experienced collectors was widely recognised.
He had a great interest in the human story behind the medals he collected and a fascination for the Great War in general. Maybe this was partly because his own father had served in the trenches with the Royal Field Artillery. As part of this general interest he found time to research the Roll of Honour of his old school, King George V Grammar in Southport. He was able to document the history of almost every casualty and his work was published on the school website.
In later years, as medals became harder to find, he once again turned to new and unusual areas of collecting. One of his last challenges, returning to his interest in firearms, was hunting down a full set of classic Webley air pistols.
lan died suddenly in 2009. He would be pleased to know that his medal collection is going to those who will keep alive the memory of the brave men who fought in the Great War.