A fascinating set of World War II medals awarded to brave Plymouth serviceman William George Tooley – Hawkins have been consigned to auction by his local family. Born and raised in Plymouth, ‘Bill’, entered the service at just 15 years old in 1911. He served on many ships and was part of Western Approaches Tactical Unit, escorting convoys and detecting German U Boats in the Channel, he was recognised for his distinguished service in 1944.
His family have proudly kept all his service records and documents including newspapers clippings about his time on HMS Orchis supporting North Atlantic Convoys during the war. He had close connections with Captain Gilbert Roberts RN and the anti U boat School detailed in a fascinating book by Mark Williams being sold with the lot and also searchable online.
The Western Approaches Tactical Unit (WATU) was a unit of the British Royal Navy created in January 1942 to develop and disseminate new tactics to counter German submarine attacks on trans-Atlantic shipping convoys. It was led by Captain Gilbert Roberts.
His group of medals comprise 1939-1945 Star Atlantic Star Africa Star Italy Star Defence medal War medal with Oakleaf War medal, also a Police Service long service and good conduct medal awarded to Sgt Roger Tooley- Hawkins and another police medal (2)
Throughout the documentation, the various evidence of his accomplishments such as his certificate of completion from Navigation School (The School of Masters, Mates and Youths preparing for Sea) convey the journey from second mate to his eventual role of Captain. Additionally, Hawkins’s son has provided detailed annotations which give further insight into the various life events described. Attributions in the various newspapers included articulate that Hawkins was not only an accomplished veteran but an active member of society in Plymouth.
Also included in the lot is an assortment of epaulettes and badges, a print of HMS Orchis on a North Atlantic Convoy, a pocket instructional manual for an engine with Hawkins’s notes inside, and a framed copy of HM the Queen review of the Western Fleet at Torbay in July 1969.
The collection comes to auction on 5th December with a guide price of £300 to £500 (lot 21).