Spink: Fire Disaster Policeman, Helmand Hero Medals at Nov. Militaria Sale

This November will see several wonderful pieces of history come to Spink’s auction room. On the 24th November 2016, a Yorkshire Chief Inspector’s Queen’s Gallantry Medal awarded for ‘outstanding courage and bravery’ in saving lives during the Bradford City Fire Disaster, the worst fire disaster in football history is to be sold at auction in London. Together with his Q.G.M., the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and Police Long Service Medal awarded to Chief Inspector T. Slocombe are going under the hammer with medal auctioneers, Spink & Son.

Slocombe assisted in the initial evacuation of Bradford City’s Valley Parade Ground, 11th May 1985, after the main grandstand had set alight, during which he helped trapped supporters “…until the heat caused his tunic to catch fire and it had to be removed.” The blaze engulfed the stand within minutes and Slocombe had seen supporters trapped in a toilet in the stand. With a total disregard for his own safety, he and another Policeman “…ran towards the inferno and entered the toilet”, their actions saving the lives of three supporters.

Slocombe, born in Odsal, Bradford, he had been with the Police in West Yorkshire since the age of 17, also receiving the British Empire Medal for Gallantry following an armed siege in Castleford in 1970. Slocombe served the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1993.

Queen's Gallantry Medals. Images courtesy Spink Auctions

Lot 16: Estimated £1,800 – 2,000 ($2,196 – 2,440 USD). Images courtesy Spink & Son

The medals are being sold at the request of the recipient and are accompanied by an array of original material, letters and photographs from the time, and carry an estimate of £10,000-12,000 ($12,200-14,640 USD).

Auctioneer Marcus Budgen commented:

“The bravery and courage shown during the Bradford City Fire Disaster by Chief Inspector Slocombe is simply outstanding. His combination of medals make these items exceptionally poignant, important and rare, with his service of nearly 30 years within Yorkshire making them particularly special. We are expecting a lot of local interest in the items, with no item of such importance being offered for such a tragic disaster being offered to date.”

The Military Cross and medals awarded to Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Corporal Mark Ward are also set to be auctioned in London in November. His seven medals, together with his original combat helmet and uniforms are to be sold by Spink & Son on the 24th.

His Military Cross, the third-highest Decoration for Gallantry in the face of the enemy was awarded during his tour operating in a remote and hostile section of Helmand Province, Afghanistan during 2010. Whilst a Section Commander he showed “…outstanding gallantry and leadership” when he “..demonstrated conspicuous courage and inspirational leadership in the face of the enemy whilst repeatedly salvaging deteriorating situations, saving the lives of his men.”

Cpl. Mark Ward medals and military cross. Images courtesy Spink Auctions

Lot 15: Estimated £12,000 – 14,000 ($14,640 – 17,080 USD)

On one occasion in 2010, a member of his patrol was killed by an improvised explosive device, following which he “…calmly climbed out of the ditch into a hail of bullets and rockets and fired a Light-Anti Structures Missile at the Taliban gun nest.”

Ward was born in Stockport and is the fifth generation of his family to serve the local regiment, Ward serving The Mercian Regiment. He was presented his Military Cross by H.M. The Queen in 2011, also having the honor of presenting the 2011 FA CUP TROPHY to the Manchester City Captain, the team he has supported his entire life.

A letter received from Prince Charles, included in the auction also gives Ward praise:

I particularly wanted to drop you a line to say how thrilled I was to learn of this award and to send to you my HEARTFELT congratulations … it is clear that your repeated acts of selfless leadership and gallantry were absolutely crucial in preventing loss of life to your comrades, and indeed, saved the lives of others … you are also an immense credit to this country of ours.”

The medals carry a pre-Sale estimate of £12,000-14,000 ($14,640-17,080 USD) and Auctioneer Marcus Budgen said:

“The outstanding gallantry shown by Corporal Ward in Helmand Province make these items extremely rare. We are honored to have the duty to offer his superb Group of medals, which together with all the original supporting documentation and items make these particularly important. We are confident that strong bidding will be required to secure these important medals.”

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For more information, please contact Marcus Budgen at +44 (0)20 7563 4059 or [email protected].

SPINK LONDON | 69 Southampton Row | Bloomsbury | London | WC1B 4ET

About Spink

Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide. Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year. Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.

Military Medals Currently Available on eBay


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