Collection of Medals From ‘Forgotten Hero’ of The Second World War
A set of medals awarded to a ‘forgotten hero’ from the Second World War, are coming up for auction next month.
Brave Petty Officer, Mr Ronald P. Birch was one of three Westcountrymen who were awarded gold commemorative medals in London by the Soviet Union, more than 40 years on from serving in Russian waters.
Ronald Birch, originally from Callington in Cornwall, braved enemy bombing and torpedo attacks in the North Atlantic Ocean to ferry vital war supplies to Russia. Along with 124 other brave men aboard the corvette, HMS Camellia, the men took part in a hazardous convoy mission to Murmansk and Archangel or staff bases from which the convoys sailed.
Of the two and a half years spent in Russian waters, HMS Camelia spent 10 months during 1942/43 on this convoy mission, along with another corvette and two minesweepers.
Theirs was the first major convoy to go into Russian waters following the horrific ‘convoy to hell’, where according to vice Admiral W D O Brien, commander of the far east fleet ‘warships deserted merchant ships and left them to their fate’.
“It was our job to escort ships carrying materials from America and Britain into safe waters. It was a hostile type of environment to be in”. Mr Birch, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant, left the Royal Navy in 1968.
The collection consists of six WWII medals including a QUII near east named medal, a selection of convoy medals, various press clippings with reference to Mr R P Birch, a photograph of the HMS Corvette Camellia, an army rifle association silver gilt medallion, a collection of various medal awards for rifle shooting including the Aldershot Cup, Silver Navy awards, Plymouth command rifle badges and more.
Lot 91 will be coming up for sale at our next Antiques & Collectables Auction on Tuesday 23rd of May at 10:30am. The team are still accepting entries, so if you have items of interest, please do get in touch by calling the saleroom on 01752 254740. You can also send images via WhatsApp on 07432 056261.