South Yorkshire WWI hero's medals spark feverish bidding at auction
Bravery medals awarded to a First World War hero from South Yorkshire were among hundreds of items sold at an auction of military memorabilia.
The second part of the ‘Dore Medal Collection’ saw all but two of the 445 lots sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley on June 9.
More than £130, 000 worth of medals were sold in two auctions with successful purchases coming in from as far and wide as Sheffield to New Zealand.
The last lot of the sale promoted fevered bidding as those in attendance battled it out to secure a collection of five medals awarded to a Sergeant George Franks in honour of his bravery during the First World War.
The collection included a Distinguished Conduct Medal, a Military Medal with bar, a 1914 Star, War Medal and Victory Medal, along with paperwork.
The collection was sold for more than £6000 to an unnamed bidder.
John Morgan, auctioneer and specialist valuer, said: “I opened the sale with a significant commission bid of £800 and there was early feverish bidding from all quarters.
“Finally settling down to a straight fight between a gentleman in the room and a telephone bidder, with the hammer finally dropping at £6,200 - £7,502 including buyers premium - to the telephone bidder.
“A fitting end to a wonderful sale that saw over £130,000 of medals sold in two auctions.”
The paperwork revealed Sgt Franks, born in Rotherham in 1893, received three of his medals for outstanding bravery and courage during the conflict.
He had joined the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment in Pontefract in 1913 and served in South Africa before going to the Western Front. Sgt Franks died on May 12 1917 when he was killed on the front line and buried in the Philosophe Commonwealth Cemetery in France.
In a letter written to Sgt Franks’ sister, commanding officer Lieutenant Fitzherbert described him as “the best sergeant and bravest man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.”