Hero of the Danmap river's George Medal goes under the hammer

Whilst the highest valued lots in Noble Numismatics' Important Australian & World Coins, Medals, & Banknotes auction are coins and banknotes, notably holey dollars, there are also some medals on offer which any collector would be proud to have in their collection.

Three groups stand out in particular: Firstly a remarkable group of sixteen medals awarded to Private William James Pirimona headed by a Military Medal he won in Africa during the Second World War.

His recommendation reads: "On the occasion of an enemy attack on the Battalion position at Sidi Rezegh on 28 November, he repaired the line from the Battalion Signal Centre to the Observation Post under heavy small arms and artillery fire.

"Although five officers had been killed or wounded in this locality, he undertook the duty at a time when fire was particularly heavy and completed it in entire disregard of the danger to which he was exposing himself." The lot is listed at A$9,000 (US$8,080).

Military Medal group
James Pirimona's Military Medal group of 16

Secondly, a group of seven medals awarded to flight Observer Sergeant Overheu, headed by a Distinguished Flying Medal he was awarded jointly with his pilot Sergeant Leavers for their heroics in attacking an enemy convoy in 1941.

Overheu was personally praised for his "skill and coolness" in scoring two direct hits. Overheu was quoted as saying that he hoped the award would please his father as they had at dispute before he left. Sadly, he died in combat a month later. The set is expected to sell for A$5,000 (US$4,500).

Finally, there is a group of nine medals awarded to Lance-Bombardier Gordon Joseph McAllister, headed by a medal for bravery not in the face of the enemy. Parts of McAllister's troop were stranded when the Danmap river burst its banks in 1945.

George Medal group
Lance-Bombadier McAllister's George Medal group
(Click to enlarge)

Unable to reach them with thrown lifelines, McAllister tied signal wire to his belt and waded into the river, tirelessly enduring three hours of rescue work at great personal risk as debris was swept along at speed. He was awarded the George Medal for his efforts which saved six lives.

McAllister's complete set of medals, including photographs and clippings will go under the hammer with an estimate of A$12,000 (US$10,800). The auction has already begun in Melbourne, but all these medals are scheduled to go under the hammer on the third day (Thursday, July 29).

Medal collectors will also be excited to hear that the first Victoria Cross ever awarded to a soldier is on the market right now.


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