Birmingham Boer War honours up for sale at Bonhams

Medals honouring members of the Birmingham St John Ambulance Brigade for their service during the Boer War will be among lots offered at the Bonhams Coins and Medals sale in Knightsbridge, London on March 27th.


Thomas Walters was born in October 1870, at Stoneleigh, near Kenilworth. He joined the Birmingham City Police on the 4th May 1896. On the 26th January 1900, he was allowed six months leave for the purpose of going to south Africa as Ambulance Bearer. He returned from South Africa on the 11th March 1900.

The honours, sourced through the Bonhams Knowle office, will join others presented to Horatio Nelson’s surgeon. The medals are expected to attract particular interest from bidders interested in British naval military history.

medals4The impressive set of medals awarded to Nelson’s personal surgeon,  George Magrath

The impressive set of medals awarded to Nelson’s personal surgeon, George Magrath

The top estimate lots related to the Birmingham St John Ambulance Brigade are medals awarded to George Finding, Private Thomas Walters and F.Lowe for their service to the Birmingham corps between 1899 and 1902 while stationed in South Africa. The recipients of the medals began their careers as part of the Birmingham City Police before being deployed to South Africa as ambulance bearers. It was while participating in the Boer War that that the men were recognised for their outstanding medical abilities. The medals remain in very fine condition and are estimated to fetch between £350-£550.

The impressive set of medals awarded to Nelson’s personal surgeon,  George Magrath, are estimated to sell for between £9,000 and £12,000. The medals were awarded for Margrath’s work as Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets for the Royal Navy after he was personally selected by Nelson to be medical officer aboard the H.M.S Victory. In his letters to Lady Hamilton, Nelson describes Magrath as ‘by far the most able medical man I have ever seen’.

Certainly, Nelson’s high opinion of Magrath can be seen in the high number of decorations awarded for his medical expertise. The group of medals offered will include his Order of the Bath and a number of commendations for his service as naval general officer.

More details of the auction can be found here on the Bonhams website

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