17 February 2017
A group of medals awarded to a Welsh WWI soldier, that was discovered at an antiques valuation event in Tenby, is expected to sell for more than £12,000 at auction next month.
The medals, which include a Military Cross and Albert Medal for conspicuous gallantry, were awarded to William Marychurch Morgan from Jeffreyston, near Tenby. He was the second son of the Rev William Morgan of Jeffreyston, near Tenby.
The discovery was made at an antiques valuation event organised by fine art auctioneers Halls of Shrewsbury at the Fourcroft Hotel, Tenby. The medal group has been consigned to Halls’ fine pictures, silver, jewellery and coins auction on March 22 and 23.
Morgan served as 1553 Private in the Honourable Artillery Company prior to being commissioned Temporary Second Lieutenant to the 15 Royal Welch Fusiliers April, 1915. He went to France in December of that year and was wounded in the trenches in April, 1916.
He was awarded the Albert Medal Second Class in May, 1916 for bravery following a potentially lethal incident while on a training exercise using grenades in a trench on February 14.
A man dropped a grenade, which sank in the mud, so that only the smoke from the burning fuse could be seen. Lieutenant Morgan, who was outside the danger zone, sprang forward and groped in the mud for the grenade, which he eventually found, picked up and threw over the parapet just in time, saving several men from death or serious injury.
He was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant and was awarded the Military Cross on October 23, 1916 for conspicuous gallantry in action. He led daring but successful raids on enemy trenches in the Arras sector, taking four prisoners and inflicting many casualties.
His citation reads: ‘On seven consecutive nights, he carried out valuable reconnaissance under intense fire. Later he led a daring raid himself, accounting for one of the enemy. He has previously done fine work.’
He was promoted to Temporary Captain in June, 2017 and served in the second world war with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
The Albert Medal was instituted in 1866 and named after Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, who had died in 1861. Until the institution of the George Cross in 1940, it was Britain’s premier decoration for civilian acts of gallantry in saving life at sea and on land.
There were two classes – First Class in gold and Second Class in bronze – and the medal was awarded only for the most exceptional bravery. Only 290 medals were awarded before it terminated in 1971.
Derek Ainsworth, Halls’ medals specialist, said he was privilege to be selling such an, “exceptional,” medal group and anticipates keen interest from collectors.
Jeremy Lamond, Halls’ fine art director, said the medals and a coin collection were discovered at the antiques valuation event held in Tenby, which proved one of the most successful ever held by the company.
He thanked the people of Pembrokeshire who supported the event and announced that the company would be returning to the county later this year.