Collection of Items Relating to the British Army in West Africa During WWI to be Auctioned

28th May 2012

An unusual collection of items relating to the British Army in West Africa during the First World War will feature in the May sale at the Grantham auction rooms.

Photographs of scenes at the Seaview Camp at Dar es Salaam and a letter of complaint regarding the evacuation of troops from the camp after the war are included in this fascinating lot which will go under the hammer at auctioneers Golding Young & Mawer on Wednesday and Thursday, May 30 and 31.

Auctioneer Luke Handley said: "The vendor had bought the album among a job lot at an auction in Yorkshire and thought it would be of interest in its own right. "It is certainly not common to see military items relating to West Africa as most similar collections from the Great War relate to France and Palestine. "We expect this lot to attract the interest of collectors of military memorabilia and have estimated it will sell for between £250 and £350."

Pictures in the photograph album include scenes ofthe Machine Gun Corps, native tribesmen and wildlifeat the Seaview Camp, various silks, a set of postcards by E.T.W. Dennis & Sons Ltd of Scarborough and a MacFarlanes, Lang & Co's cream cracker tin containing various mementos including warthog tusks, springbok horns, cowrie shells, seed pods and beads. The letter of complaint shows that the soldiers demanded to be evacuated

by January 31st, 1919, and states that 'men and machinery have been employed since November 11th in work that in no way leads to expediate evacuation ie making of curios consisting of ebony candlesticks, dinner gongs and flower vases from shell cases, folding beds and chairs, tobacco pouches, etc for officers'.

In a separate lot, there is a World War I Gallantry Group of three medals - the Military Medal, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal - awarded to Benjamin Bradshaw who was a gunner in the Royal Artillery. The medals, which are being sold with a facsimile photograph of the recipient, a later photograph and a hand written biography, are expected to sell for between £300 and £400.

Meanwhile, a Royal Doulton titanium figure of a World War I soldier returning home entitled 'Blighty' and designed by E.W. Wight in 1919 is expected to sell for between £500 and £700. Elsewhere in the sale, a Wedgwood Fairyland lustre octagonal bowl decorated in a 'Woodland Elves VII Toadstool' pattern, designed by Daisy Mekeig-Jones, with an interior decorated in a 'Fairy in a Cage' pattern is expected to sell for between £2,000 and £3,000.

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