Whenever we have a Military auction and I flick through the catalogue, the objects that come through our doors, the memories and stories that they may have seen, been through or managed to come back from fascinates me. Everyone knows that I love my history and I wouldn’t be in this job if I didn’t love the stories behind the objects as well as just when I think we have seen most things, something comes in on a valuation day that has potentially seen some very interesting action I am always taken a back and sometimes moved to hear the stories.
Our military cataloguer Paul always does a brilliant job with looking at the history of each piece, he really does the department proud when it comes to giving them their opportunity to have their moment in the spotlight. I always ask him about his passion for military objects when he comes and excitedly shows me something that he has just taken in as his enthusiasm is infectious. Our next military auction is nothing different, with some wonderful objects that have fascinating stories.
This first group of objects is trench art, which includes a wooden propellor tip picture frame containing a photograph of Royal Flying Corps Corporal Samuel Gilbert Carn. The photograph shows Carn in a ‘maternity jacket’ style tunic with embroidered Royal Flying Corps shoulder titles. There are also wooden candlesticks which are believed to be made from aircraft parts and a British General Service Corps badge with Queen Victoria Crown. There is also a French made adjustable wooden gauge, a ‘Soldiers Own Diary’ with details to Samuel Gilbert Carn, 40 Squadron, a Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity also in the same name.
Royal Flying Corps Corporal Samuel Gilbert Carn was born in 1889 and married Mabel Jones at Walthamstow on 14th March 1914. He was ‘mustered’ on the 5th March 1916 and served in France, his middle name is recorded as ‘Giles’ on RAF muster records. 40 Squadron Royal Flying Corp, later RAF, was formed at Gosport in February 1916 and moved to France in August the same year first operating F.E. 8s later being equipped with S.E.5s. All these items came direct from family descent so the provenance is exactly what it should be.
Another group of objects that come from family descent are attributed to Major General William Cochrane Anderson R.A. 1794-1865. Major General Anderson R.A was present at the Siege of Flushing in 1809 and fought at Waterloo (Lieutenant W. Anderson, Royal Horse and Foot Artillery, is shown as serving with Captain Napiers Company at Waterloo). We have his British Light Cavalry Officers mamaluk type sword, which is dated early 19th Century. It has a curved steel blade with ivory grips and even has remains of gilt decoration to the cross guard and it is held in a steel scabbard. To think we are able to hold such a sword in our hands today after the action that it may have seen is just as exciting.
This sword isn’t the only item we have from Major General Anderson, we also have an Imperial Russian 1838 Pattern Cossack Shashka. This curved steel fullered blade has a wooden grip with brass hook shaped pommel divided into two ‘ears’ and held in leather covered wooden scabbard with brass fittings,
an Imperial Russian Jager Bugle Horn which is made from brass and has the Imperial Russian double headed eagle embossed to the bell of the horn, this item is quite a rarity to be seen so it is exciting that we have one in our auction, and a Russian 1848 Pattern helmet, all thought to have been brought back from the Crimean War by a member of the Generals family,
Another interesting lot is a pair of riding spurs with a label attached with the wording ‘Battle of Waterloo 1815, French spurs, W.C. Anderson’.
These are just a few of the pieces that we have in our Military and Medals auction on the 5th of May. There are so many more stories out there, but if you would like to come and take a look at these pieces of history you can come and view the items on 3rd and 4th May between 9.30am and 4.30pm.
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