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312 Owen Ellis's South Africa medal
Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 535
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Apologies if you all know this already, but thanks to Bill C, I came across a letter in the museum at Brecon which sheds some interesting light on what happened to the South Africa medal awarded to 312 Pte Owen Ellis, KIA at Isandhlwana.

In March 1981, Miss Grace Ann Ellis, then residing in an elderly people's home in Bangor, north Wales, authorised one William Roberts of Caernarfon "to sell the South Africa Medal Clasp 1877-8-9 312 Pte Ellis 1/24th Foot, and the 1914 War Medals" to Norman Holme. The sum paid to Miss Ellis was 850 which, according to the Bank of England's handy on-line historical inflation calculator, converts to roughly 2,910 in today's terms. This, however, includes the amount paid for the first World War medals (whose?).

The document is in the hand of Mr Roberts. Although it says "the South Africa Medal Clasp", I assume that the medal itself was intended, together with its clasp. Shortly afterwards, Holme sold this on to Frank Emery: I wonder whether in fact Holme acquired it specifically for him. If memory serves, Emery died in 1987. Does anyone know what happened to this medal subsequently?

There is nothing in the documentation which mentions any of the nine or ten letters Owen Ellis wrote in Welsh from South Africa to his family; as Emery was a Welsh speaker, I imagine that enquiries would have been made about them at the time Ellis's medal was purchased. To judge from the quality of the edited ones printed in Y Genedl Gymreig, his local newspaper, they would have been an interesting addition to the literature.
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
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Paul

Can't help with the location of the Ellis medal but will ask around. As a comparison, here are some prices of other Isandlwana casualty medals in that era:
1982 - Private W J (W G on medal) Edwards 1/24th: 715
1983 - Corporal N Ball 1/24th: 1,050
1984 - Private J Bull 1/24th: 1,195
1984 - Private W H Hicken 1/24th: 1,395
1985 - Hicken (ditto): 1,250

Broadly speaking, casualty medals doubled in price between 2002 and 2007 from 3,500 to 7,500 where they have remained since.

Peter
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Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 535
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Thanks, Peter - I'm guessing you knew this story about Ellis's medal already; it was, however, new to me.
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
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New to me as well Paul.
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312 Owen Ellis's South Africa medal
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