Louth man’s medals set to fetch £180,000

Thomas Watson and his selection of medals, including the Victoria Cross.
Thomas Watson and his selection of medals, including the Victoria Cross.

A collection of war medals awarded to an army officer from Louth are expected to fetch up to £180,000 when they are auctioned this week.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Watson’s medals are being sold by his descendants, and are expected to fetch between £150,000 and £180,000 
when they go to auction at Dix Noonan Webb, the international coins and medals specialists, in 
London on Thursday (December 11).

The Victoria Cross medal was awarded to Watson for his heroism on the 
North-West Frontier of India in 1897 which was highly praised by Winston Churchill, then a war correspondent, who rode in with the column that relieved him and his comrades.

The citation for Watson’s Victoria Cross, published in The London Gazette in 1898, described how Watson led his men “into the dark and burning village to dislodge some of the enemy who were inflicting loss 
on our troops.”

The citation continued: “After being wounded and driven back, he made a 
second attempt to clear the village and only desisted after a second repulse and being again hit and severely wounded.”

Watson suffered a wound to the thigh, a shattered left hand and considerable loss of blood from a ruptured artery, yet continued to battle on.

Watson was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth and his bravery is 
still recalled there.

Not only is his name on a memorial at the school, but when they had a commemorative service 
there last month a passage about Watson was 
read out.