Two medals from the Charge of the Light Brigade will be offered by Dix Noonan Webb in their online/ live auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Thursday, May 21, 2020 on their website www.dnw.co.uk
The emotive medal to Private Walter Brooks, 17th Lancers, who was killed in the Charge at Balaklava on 25 October 1854, is estimated at £8,000-10,000. From A Descriptive Account of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava by William Butler, Late of the 17th Lancers: Captain Nolan had not gone 400 yards when he was shot, the first to fall in our charge. Just as we got to No. 1 redoubt, my right-hand man Walter Brooks, was also shot. He was my comrade for over three years, from the time I went to the 4th troop. Walter Brooks was born at Uttoxeter and was a servant prior to enlistment.
As Nimrod Dix, Deputy Chairman of Dix Noonan Webb, commented: The charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava still captures the public imagination and interest. Immortalised in Tennysons poem and in two feature films, one starring Errol Flynn in 1936 the other starring Trevor Howard in 1968, medals to proven participants of the charge are always highly sought after by collectors. The 17th Lancers, the Death and Glory boys as they are known after their skull and crossbones regimental badge, are probably the most sought after of all the regiments that took part. Poor Walter Brooks was killed in the charge and it is particularly unusual to have an eye-witness account of his last moments. The 17th Lancers led the charge and suffered accordingly with 2 officers and 22 men killed out of about 110 killed in total.
Also from the same battle, medals belonging to Private James Webster of the 17th Lancers and a confirmed Light Brigade charger who afterwards served in the Indian Mutiny carries an estimate of £8,000-10,000. James Webster was born in Erdington, near Birmingham, Warwickshire, and enlisted there into the 17th Light Dragoons on 25 January 1847, aged 19 years, a forge man by trade. On 25 October 1854, Webster rode with his regiment in the charge of the light brigade at Balaklava. Of the 147 men of the 17th Lancers who rode in the charge, 99 were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, Webster being lucky to survive unscathed.
A rare Intombi River casualty Zulu War medal to Private H. Lodge, 80th Foot is estimated at £5,000-£6,000. Henry Lodge enlisted into the 80th Foot at Bishops Stortford on 23 March 1872, aged 20 years 10 months. He was killed in action at Meyers Drift on the Intombi River, on 12 March 1879, one of 61 men of the Regiment killed in action that day, and is commemorated on the Staffordshire Volunteers Regimental Memorial in Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire.
As Nimrod Dix, notes: While everyone has heard of the epic defence of Rorkes Drift and the monumental disaster of Isandhlwana when the British lost 1300 officers and men killed, less well known is the disaster that befell the 80th Foot at Meyers Drift on the Intombi River on 12 March 1879, when one company of the regiment was overwhelmed by several hundred Zulus and 62 men were killed. But for the enormity of the casualties at Isandhlwana, an event like this would normally have been headline news but public appetite for another military catastrophe was probably not very great and it remains a little known incident of the Zulu Wars. As a medal to a casualty in a British regiment, it is at least 10 times rarer than an Isandhlwana casualty to the 24th Foot which routinely command a price of £6,000-7,000.
Also of note in the sale is the Waterloo medal awarded to Captain James MacGregor, 2nd Battalion, 59th Foot, who was severely wounded at Vittoria and was lost in the wreck of the SeaHorse in Tramore Bay, near Waterford, Ireland, on 30 January 1816 and is expected to fetch £4,000- £5,000. James MacGregor was born at Ardersier, Inverness, on 11 July 1791, the younger brother of Colonel George McGregor of the 1st Battalion, 59th Foot, and of Thomas Howard McGregor, also an officer in the regiment who was killed in a duel in Calcutta in 1810. Captain MacGregor was lost in the Sea-Horse shipwreck in Tramore Bay, near Waterford, off the coast of Ireland on 30 January 1816. This troopship was conveying the 2/59th from Ramsgate to Cork but foundered in a violent storm with the loss of 338 lives. It is recorded that Captain MacGregor, being an excellent swimmer, bade adieu to his friend Lieutenant McPherson, and, stripping off his jacket, jumped into the sea. After buffeting the tremendous surge for some time, he had nearly reached shore, when a part of the wreckage struck him on the head, and he sank for the last time. The memorial in Tramore incorrectly records his age as 23, two years younger than he was.