One man’s war recalled in collection of militaria

8th August 2017

The story of a soldier who fought in the Great War battle which claimed the life of poet Wilfred Owen and more than 1,000 of his comrades is recalled in a collection of militaria going under the hammer in the Cotswolds next week.

Medals awarded to Private Frederick Frost of the North Staffordshire Regiment will be sold by antiques auctioneers Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester on Friday, August 4.

Medals from the Great War are becoming rare enough, but what makes this collection interesting is that it is accompanied by photographs, letters, newspaper cuttings, and other ephemera that paint a picture of the soldier’s military career.

We know, from a printed letter issued to soldiers of the 46th Division, that Private Frost was involved in the assault on the Sambre Canal towards the end of the war. German field guns pounded the banks of the canal while machine gunners picked off individual soldiers. Barbed wire hampered their progress.

Days later the Daily Sketch told its readers how the soldiers ‘Waded Their Way To Victory’. It pictured hundreds of soldiers who swam or waded the canal to secure the bridge that would be used to advance the British guns. A copy of the newspaper is included in the collection, as is a creased copy of the original photograph.

In a printed letter to those who saw action at the canal – a copy of which is in this collection – General Sir Henry Rawlinson, Commander of the Fourth Army, wrote: “The forcing of the main Hindenburg line on the Canal, and the capture of Bellenglise, ranks as one of the finest and most dashing exploits of the war.

“The attacks of October 3rd and the subsequent operations about Bohain, together with the later advance beyond the Sambre Canal, constitute a record which all ranks of the Division may justly feel proud.”

Private Frost – several studio portrait photographs of whom are included in the collection – later received a certificate for Gallant and Distinguished Conduct in the Field. It was sent to his home address: 31 Horninglow Road North, Burton-on-Trent.

He was awarded the 1914-1918 Star, the 1914-1918 War Medal, the Victory Medal and – later – the 1939-1945 Defence Medal for his role as an air raid warden. He also received the King George VI Coronation Medal in 1937.

The lot, which commands an estimate of £150 to £200, also includes various badges, a bullet converted into a pencil, a compass inscribed Anglo Swiss Association 1915, all contained in a Princess Mary Gift Fund Box, a brass box issued to all soldiers and seamen serving during the first Christmas of the war in 1914.

The Christmas box also contained a card from Princess Mary, which is intact, although the cigarettes must be presumed smoked.

And Christmas cards from our present Queen are another stand-out collection at the auction.

Thirty five Christmas cards, signed ‘Elizabeth R’ and ‘Philip’ and dating between 1959 and 2001 will be sold in lots of three – one lot will comprise two cards – with each lot carrying an auctioneer’s estimate of £100 to £150.

The Queen has been sending official Christmas cards to friends and employees every year since her accession in 1952. The cards have created a fascinating record of the Royal Family growing year by year, with photographs taken by The Duke of York, Lord Snowdon, and official photographers.

Finally, from our present monarch to some of our earliest rulers, coins minted in the time of the Roman occupation of Britain are expected to achieve between £80 and £120 each.

The collection includes a silver coin of Roman emperor Trajan (98-117AD), a denarius of emperor Hadrian (117-138AD), a denarius of emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161AD), two silver denarii of emperor Severus Alexander (222-231AD), and denarius of emperor Licinius (308-324AD).

Each coin is mounted with a framed photograph of a bust of the respective emperor.

For a full auction catalogue, log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk

Press release issued on behalf of Moore Allen & Innocent. Property Consultants and Managers. Land and Estate Agents. Auctioneers and Chartered Surveyors. 01285 646050. www.mooreallen.co.uk

For further information please ring Peter Davison (Secret Agent Marketing) on 01672 811515 or email agentpete@secretagentmarketing.com