Friday, 7 December 2012

War Hero's Medal Haul makes £14K

Published on Thursday 6 December 2012 in the Shields Gazette by Chris Maxwell

A MAGNIFICENT seven medals won in battle by a First World War hero have fetched £14,000 at a South Tyneside auctioneers – over three times their asking price.

The historic haul of honours awarded to Seaham-born Major Norman Batey Pigg went under the hammer at Boldon Auction Galleries in Front Street, yesterday.

It had been listed for sale at between £3,000 and £5,000, but received a flurry of bids from military history lovers, both at the auction and via telephone and the internet.

The array of medals included a prestigious Military Cross, inscribed Armentieres, 23.11.16, 31.3.17, N.B.P. for conspicuous gallantry in action, after leading a successful raid into enemy trenches, in which he was severely wounded.

Also included in the lot from the decorated soldier was a Distinguished Service Order medal for conspicuous gallantry and initiative during the operations east of Solesmes in October 1918.

Caroline Hodges, from Boldon Auction Galleries, said: “Lot 165, the collection of seven medals belonging to Major Norman Batey Pigg, sold for £14,000.

“It had been listed for sale at £3,000 to £5,000 but we had a lot of bids both in the room and through telephone calls and the internet.

“The winning bid came from in the room.  “There was an awful lot of interest for Major Pigg’s medals because of their provenance and the history and deeds that he did.  “They went for a lot more than we ever expected.”

Major Pigg, who was born in 1894 and joined the Army in 1914, commanded the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers in three assaults on enemy territory.

He then went on to serve the Northumberland Fusiliers again in the Second World War.

As a Major commanding ‘C’ Company in May 1940, he became second in command of the battalion evacuated at Dunkirk.

The other medals in the glittering collection from his service were The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919 medal and the 1914-1918 War Medal.  Major Pigg won further honours for his efforts in the Second World War.  He was given the Defence Medal, the 1939-1945 Star and a 1939-1945 medal.

The impressive collection was given over to be sold to the auctioneers by a family member.

A rare Tynemouth Medal, awarded to Percy C. Chaston for saving a life at sea in 1916, also exceeded its lot reserve of £300 to £500, selling for £1,000.

The medal was handed out on April 1, 1916, for Bravery in Saving Life at Sea, and was included in the collection along with a 1914-1918 War medal and a Mercantile Marine War 1914-1918 medal.

Originally from Northumberland, Chaston was awarded the medal for saving the life of Philip Goddard at Alexandra Dock, Hull.

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