Medal given to first soldier to die in First World War sells for thousands

Undated handout photo issued by auction house Dix, Noonan, Webb of the medal won by the first Britis

The medal won by the first British soldier to be killed in action during the First World War has sold for £17,000 at auction. - Credit: PA

A medal won by the first British soldier to be killed in action during the First World War has sold for £17,000 at auction.

The 1914 Star medal was given to Private John Parr who died near Mons on August 21, 1914 - just weeks after war was declared.

Undated handout photo issued by auction house Dix, Noonan, Webb of a group of medals won by Major Fr

A group of medals won by Major Freddy Small, from Keynsham in Somerset, who was the first member of the Royal Flying Corps to shoot down an enemy aircraft with a machine gun which sold by the auction house for £5,500 and were bought by a collector with an interest in military history. - Credit: PA

It previously belonged to keen historian Barry Hobbs, who was born in Norfolk and died in May 2021 aged 78, and was among a large collection sold at auction in London.

Auction house Dix Noonan Webb said Private Parr's medal, which had been estimated to sell for around £2,000, was bought by a UK-based collector with an interest in the Great War.

Associate director Christopher Mellor-Hill said: "This is an incredible price achieved for what is a most iconic medal for the First World War and reflects greatly on all those who also lost their lives so tragically during the Great War.

Undated handout photo issued by auction house Dix, Noonan, Webb of the medal won by the first Britis

The 1914 Star medal was given to Private John Parr who died near Mons on August 21 1914 - Credit: PA


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"We are extremely pleased how much interest it attracted as well as from military institutions and educational establishments, and we hope that the successful buyer, who is a keen battlefield enthusiast of the Great War might put it on display so that its importance will be known to future generations."

Those who served in France or Belgium between August and November 1914 received the medal, known as the Mons Star.

Undated handout photo issued by auction house Dix, Noonan, Webb of Major Fre

Major Freddy Small, from Keynsham in Somerset, who was the first member of the Royal Flying Corps to shoot down an enemy aircraft with a machine gun and whose group of medals were sold by the auction house for £5,500, to a collector with an interest in military history. - Credit: PA

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The previous owner of the medal, Mr Hobbs, was born in Norfolk following the evacuation of his mother from the East End of London during the Blitz.

After leaving school, he followed his father in working at the Port of London Authority as a docker until an industrial accident forced his retirement in 1990.

He used compensation money to buy an old farmhouse in northern France near to several Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemeteries where he could follow his passion for military history.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLEUndated handout photo issued by auction house Dix, Noonan, Webb of documenta

Documentation relating to Major Freddy Small, from Keynsham in Somerset, who was the first member of the Royal Flying Corps to shoot down an enemy aircraft with a machine gun and whose group of medals were sold by the auction house for £5,500, to a collector with an interest in military history.


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