Gallipoli hero's war medals set to go under the hammer

MEDALS awarded to a mystery Edinburgh war hero who was wounded twice during the Battle of Gallipoli are being put up for auction.

The four medals were presented to Edinburgh-born Lieutenant Robert Lamb Dick, who was involved in one of the bloodiest and most disastrous battles of the First World War, where he fought alongside the Australian army.

Lt Dick was in his mid-30s when he fought in the battle that raged for eight months from April 1915 to January 1916 in northern Turkey, leaving 130,784 dead and a further 261,554 wounded.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He was wounded at the landings on the first day of the battle on April 25 1915 and was then wounded again, four months later, at the Battle of Lone Pine on August 8 1915.

Now, 95 years later, Lt Dick's four medals are set to fetch between 300 and 350 at Spink auction house in Bloomsbury, London.

The lot is made up of Lt Dick's 1914-1915 Star medal, awarded to all British servicemen who served during those dates, his British War medal, awarded for service in the First World War, and his Victory Medal. It also features Lt Dick's Queen's South Africa Medal for his service in the Boer War in 1902. The medal comes with three additional clasps which honour his service in Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa.

Born in 1881, Mr Dick was working as a plumber before he joined the Royal Engineers on July 31, 1901. The 1901 census reveals that shortly before signing up he was living with his parents and a sister, 14-year-old Elizabeth, at Rosehall Church in Dalkeith Road. His father, formerly a gardener, described himself as a "church officer".

He served in South Africa from March 27, 1902 and when the First World War started in 1914, he joined the Australian Imperial Force and served with the 1st Battalion at Gallipoli.

He survived the horrors of the Great War but what happened to him next is a mystery.

The Battle of Gallipoli was one of the great disasters of the First World War. It was Winston Churchill's idea to end the war early by opening a new front, in addition to the western and eastern fronts.

He argued that creating another front - in the Dardanelles - would force the Germans to come to the aid of their Turkish allies and in doing so reduce their strength on the other two fronts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was a horrendous miscalculation and saw 21,255 British troops killed and 52,230 British men wounded.Churchill was demoted in a Cabinet reshuffle as a result of Gallipoli, but later famously led the country to victory as Prime Minister during the Second World War.

Auctioneers Spink describe Lt Dick's medals as being in "nearly extremely fine" condition. They go under the hammer next Thursday.

Related topics: