I recently turned out a few old things from my drawers in a tidying up exercise.
One envelope contained some old medals which I had acquired years ago forgotten about.
Having no special reason to keep these I put them up for sale on a a well known worldwide site and got reasonable interest.
But something was nagging away at me so I did a little bit of research.
The first world war medal was inscribed to Captain CGV Wellesley and had come to me with the two South Africa medals. I was originally aware of the name but thought nothing more about it.
Although the medals had always been together I did not link them to one individual because the WW1 medal was not on the medal bar.
Now I think I know why.
It was issued to the widow of Captain Wellesley who died on 14th March 1915 at Neuve Chappell and as such was never added his miniatures.
A little bit of basic research (which is all I have access to) showed me that indeed Captain Wellesley served in the South Africa Theatre and was awarded the South Africa medal with three bars and (I think) the Boer War medal with two bars.
At this point I decided to pull the medals from auction on the basis that they were being sold as separate items and would be separated for ever. I felt this to be the wrong thing to do.
I have also located his grave site in france.
But the really interesting thing for me is this officers lineage. He seems to have been related to not a few English dukes and other peers of the realm; and specifically The Duke of Wellington who was his great grandfathers brother.
I am surprised at how these small bits of metal have affected me now that I know more about the history behind both them and the brave man they were awarded to.
The story has another twist for me. When this officer died his widow married one of his fellow officers who survived the war and whom he had served with starting out in 1898 in the South African Campaign ( 3rd Lincolnshire Regiment).
The first surprise for me was that I had actually met this lady in the 1980's when she was in her 90's.
The second was that I understand that Neuve Chappelle was were my grandfather was seriously wounded, won an MM and his brother was killed.
All this emotion just from tidying up a few draws.