Friday, January 31, 2014
A rare silver medal for gallantry presented to a Wroxham boy scout by Lord Baden-Powell is to go under the hammer at a Norfolk auction house.
The Scout Association’s Silver Cross was presented to patrol leader Jack Howes, of the 1st Wroxham Scout Group, in August 1928 for ‘Gallant Attempt to Rescue a Young Man from Drowning in the River Bure’.
The medal is set to be auctioned on Tuesday at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham and it is estimated to be worth between £500 and £600.
It was presented to Jack Howes by the founder of the Scout movement, who was said to be a regular visitor to Wroxham and enjoy sailing on Wroxham Broad with his friend Colonel Charles, after whom Charles Close in the village is named.
An article about 15-year-old Jack’s rescue attempt, published in the Norwich Mercury on August 4 1928, told of how the then coroner, Mr Coroner Barnard, praised Jack, also known as John Henry, of Platten’s Yard, Lower Wroxham, for attempting to rescue 20-year-old Edgar William Palmer, a butcher’s assistant from Foulsham.
The two had been swimming in the River Bure at the Cane Meadow. They swam across the river together but Edgar got into difficulties as they swam back.
Jack had tried to swim with him back to the bank, and Jack’s brother also fetched a boat to help but they were unable to save Edgar despite their best efforts.
The newspaper reported that ‘the Coroner recorded a verdict of accidental drowning, through having got into difficulties whilst bathing’.
It also reported that ‘he expressed his deep sympathy with the father of the deceased, and commended Howes for his efforts, saying it was deserving of great praise, and all regretted that they were not successful’.
Edgar’s funeral took place at the Church of Holy Innocents, in Foulsham.
The Silver Cross award is awarded for ‘gallantry in circumstances of considerable risk,’ and just 1343 have been given since its inception just over 100 years ago.
Sarah Prior, books and ephemera manager at Keys, said: “These Scouting gallantry medals do not come up for auction very often, and it is particularly nice that this one has such a good local history.
“We are expecting lively interest in the medal from collectors and Scouting enthusiasts. Items with a direct connection to Baden-Powell are always in demand.”
The 1st Wroxham Group was founded in 1910 just three years after Lord Baden-Powell held his experimental camp.
It is known today as the 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scouts.
The medal will be auctioned on Tuesday at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham. It is part of the Keys’ Antiques with Collectors and Militaria sale which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more visit www.keysauctions.co.uk.
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