A set of medals awarded to a brave Plymouth commando have sold for over £100,000 at Plymouth Auction Rooms this week (11th October 2022).
Brave Plymouth marine Corporal Michael Eccles of 42 Commando RM was awarded the Military Medal (for Bravery in the Field), for his gallantry during operations on the Falkland Islands in 1982. The Eccles family decided to put them up for auction this week where they attracted significant interest amongst specialist collectors.
The estimate of £30,000 to £40,000 illustrated the importance of the medals but two determined telephone bidders eclipsed the estimate and took the set to a jaw dropping £82,000 hammer price. The successful purchaser, a UK collector paying some £101,680.
Auctioneer Paul Keen who conducted the sale “This was a fantastic result; I am delighted for the family and that Michael Eccles brave actions have been recognised in such a way”.
The formal citation for the award reads as follows:
On 12th June 1982 ‘K’ Coy was the leading company for a unit night attack against a strongly held Argentine position on Mount Harriet. After surprising the enemy fierce fighting followed at close quarters amongst the rocks in which decisive and inspiring leadership at section level proved critical. Corporal Eccles set an outstanding example in this respect by leading from the front to encourage his section to exploit shock action and successfully overrun the position. This was only achieved, in fact, by a series of assaults against machine gun positions and groups of snipers. Several ranks were wounded, including another section commander, while the troop became even more depleted as increasing numbers of the enemy surrendered and had to be guarded. Corporal Eccles pressed on relentlessly, however, to inflict sufficient casualties for the remainder to abandon further resistance.
The set comprised the Military Medal, for Bravery in the Field, General Service Medal for Campaign Service, with two clasps ‘Northern Ireland’ and ‘N. Iraq & S. Turkey’, South Atlantic Medal 1982, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, together with a miniature set.
Just ten military medals were awarded during the Falkland Conflict from 9,000 troops and only four from 42 commando, Plymouth.
The night battles on 11/12th June including Mount Harriet let to British Troops capturing all the heights above Port Stanley leading to the surrender of Argentine Forces.400 Royal marines and 170 Welsh Guards were involved in the three night battles leading to some 300 Argentine soldiers being captured.
Corporal Eccles was featured in a photograph in the book ‘March to the South Atlantic’ by Nick Vaux.
“All Battles are Won by Corporals” quote from Michael Eccles.