Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Sell Our Town's VC says RBL chairman


Staffsyeoman
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.essexcountystandard.co.uk/displ...ll_heros_vc.php

Walton: Should we sell hero's VC?

Exclusive By Mike Sams

Comment | Read Comments (15)

A Walton war hero's Victoria Cross, gathering dust in a bank vault, may be better sold off for the good of the town's people, it has been claimed. The medal is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. It was last valued at more than £250,000.

The mother of the recipient, Herbert George Columbine, who died at the Somme in 1918, bequeathed the medal to the people of Walton. But the only time it is seen now is by the three trustees who visit the bank where it is being held.

John Halls, chairman of the trustees, said: "It was left to the people of Walton, those that were born and brought up here, and the money could go to help these individuals." Mr Halls, who is also chairman of the town's Royal British Legion branch, said he was unsure about selling it."

As well he should be! Words fail me. I commend all to read the comments that have been posted as a result rather than bash on myself - there appears to be a considerable amount of civic pride in him and the medal. Chairman of the RBL? He should resign.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm afraid to say that it would not be the first town in the land to sell the donor's medals.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...&hl=pearson

Click above to see why!

:angry2:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe he is coming from the angle that if it isn't on display anywhere, you might as well sell it - how about selling it to a museum that will actually keep it on display? What IS the point of having it if it is just gathering dust? I'm sure when Columbine's mother gave it to the Town, she did not intend for it to be kept hidden away. It is pathetic. Yeah, might as well sell it then.

Maybe that's his point of view. I would agree with him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See your point, Max - but as the commentators have noted, the money would be a (relative) drop in a bucket and - I am very sorry to say - I don't think it would reach the heady heights they predict, and it would stillbe lost to the town.

In this day and age, most museums can't afford those sums, so unless you get a white knight (even Lord Ashcroft keeps them for his own display) it's lost, gone.. And it was his mother's wish that it should be the property of the town.

But my main gripe is the head of the local RBL advocating this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I understand it, the Victoria Cross was created to be classless and was implemented in gunmetal rather than a precious metal to emphasise that its value derived from the deed rather than from intrinsic considerations. If so, the current high valuations seem a betrayal of the principle. They derive not simply from scarcity but also from the present highly skewed distribution of GDP.

It is the market value that is the problem. It means the town can’t put the medal on display because it can’t afford or justify the necessary security. I think the answer for the time being may be to lodge this and other publicly-held but unseen medals with museums and institutions nationwide that already have adequate security, on the condition that they go on rotating display, a few at a time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure there are members on this forum who face a similar dilemma, they have a substantially valuable item in their collection, but the insurance costs are horrendous, the premium starting with a 10% of the value and then reduced according to inaccessibility, security etc.

The real problem in all they end up in bank vaults and this is that there is no sharing them with other people, both for historical research and pleasure. Trying to place privately owned items on loan with national collections is a waste of time because they are really only interested in owning and doing as they see fit, and don't like any conditions. It might work with intra museums loans.

Museums have been selling items from the collections during the last century, and before, due to financial pressures, and perceived value and fit with other items, but these change over a long enough time period.

I do like the idea of a national scheme for medals (which are so easily to handle and steal), is it worth suggesting to a suitable institution a maybe they could get Lottery funding? It would be even nice if it could work with other countries, and for example allow the display of medals in the Ieper museum of medals won "in the last 100 days" next year, and give reasons for people to revisit the museum!

What do people think?

Mart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(even Lord Ashcroft keeps them for his own display) ,

The only person worth selling to. You will find that soon Lord Ashcroft will be opening up his collection for the public to view the real medals. On his death the whole collection will pass onto the Nation.

Roland.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly, I doubt it would raise the quarter of a million suggested. Secondly, what is the point of a medal tucked away in a bank vault and only able to be seen by a few 'worthy' individuals who quite probably don't give a toss.

Either put it on display in a public place for the benefit of all or sell it so the council can fund all sorts of ludicrous schemes but the man and his medal will at least be appreciated by somebody. At least his memory is kept alive by the bust. It's a sad thing to say but most probably nobody of the modern generation there has ever heard of him or could care less.

Cynical of Plymouth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly, I doubt it would raise the quarter of a million suggested. Secondly, what is the point of a medal tucked away in a bank vault and only able to be seen by a few 'worthy' individuals who quite probably don't give a toss.

Either put it on display in a public place for the benefit of all or sell it so the council can fund all sorts of ludicrous schemes but the man and his medal will at least be appreciated by somebody. At least his memory is kept alive by the bust. It's a sad thing to say but most probably nobody of the modern generation there has ever heard of him or could care less.

Cynical of Plymouth

I hate to say this but you're probably right. I just hope that it doesn't end up in someone's private collection never to be seen again. (Lord Ashcroft would be an exception).

In Pocklington, near where I live, there are a number of streets named after airmen who died flying from Pocklington airfield in WWII which is a nice gesture. Perhaps the council could do something like this for Mr. Columbine, if they haven't already.

Off topic a bit but Pocklington has two war memorials. There's one for the Great War and one for WWII. On armistice Sunday, the parade marches to the WWI memorial first, then on to the WWII memorial. Then there is a service in the Methodist chapel. The next year, the process is reversed with the service being held at All Saints CofE. This year, the Methodists have the honour but I'm not sure how many will be repairing to the local pub afterwards ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would imagine that the vast majority if not all the VC's seen in museums are copies so i can see the point they are making. But as said previously the money raised is a drop in the ocean unless it is going to be spent in a way which reflects its history and at least has some pemanant reminder of Columbine. Part of me also thinks that if this doesnt happen then the council has a moral obligation to return it to the family.

Mick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad but if it is confined to a vault where only a few can see it then it might as well be sold that is if there are no relatives alive that are eligible to take it back.

Here is the lesson various posters have been talking about ,if you give something to a Museum be it Military or not have a reservation that it cannot be sold without the option of it being returned to the family.

If it is cashed in then let his memory and act of bravery live on.

Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only person worth selling to. You will find that soon Lord Ashcroft will be opening up his collection for the public to view the real medals. On his death the whole collection will pass onto the Nation.

Roland.

Thanks for the info, Roland. I must admit to have hated the principle of one person grabbing up all these VC's, but if this is the case then that is fantastic news. That would be somewhere well worth visiting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bust has over the years been subject to theft by no doubt "Local" yobbos & has had to have been replaced on more than one occassion....IIRC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sell the thing, it will go to someone who appreciates it and knows what it represents.

The people concerned should hang their heads in shame. Nice to see the local RBL chap coming out in support of keeping it so convincingly... What an utter joke.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...

I think that in the first instance, if the Town doesn't want the medal anymore, they should offer it back to his family.

I'm sure that when his mother bequeathed his medal it was for public display rather then for the councils financial gain.

Just my humble opinion.

Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think selling it has ever been an option as ownership is not clear. ("the people of Walton")

The trustees (there are 3) have never stopped thinking about the future of this VC, ever since it was presented to the town in 1920, when Private Columbine's mother left.

The latest information I have seen (Frinton and Walton Gazette, 03/01/2013) under the headline "Hero soldier's war medal could go to top museum" is that a decision about the future of the medal must be made and it is hoped the medal can go on display. Maybe in the Imperial War Museum.

A quote from Michael Naxton, curator of the the IWM collection "Private Columbine's medal would be a "huge asset" to the collection. We do not chase Victoria Cross medals, but if someone offers one to us, then we consider adding it to the collection. But I can say that if Herbert Columbine's medal is made available we would be very interested in acquiring it.

In the absence of a suitable building in which to place it in Walton, I think it would make a tremendous addition to the collection, and Private Columbine's story is an inspiring one....."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that in the first instance, if the Town doesn't want the medal anymore, they should offer it back to his family.

I'm sure that when his mother bequeathed his medal it was for public display rather then for the councils financial gain.

Just my humble opinion.

Al

Yes, it is hardly the Council's to sell.

I think the thoughts and wishes of the family should be take into consideration.

If I thought something I had let the council have or put in a museum,I would be pretty cheesed off.

There has been a similar story with land in our area. A local gentleman left a piece of land in the care of the council and for the use of the local community.

The council saw a way to make money with it and off they went, not thinking anyone else would know the story of it or care about it. How wrong they were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with a lot of the concerns the story of the medal raises, but sadly I think Columbine's mother probably had no idea that the very serious problem of keeping the medal secure while on show would be beyond the means of the small town of Walton-on-the-Naze.

And a member of his family, a distant cousin, is involved in the current plans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Another update.

BBC Look East has just run an article about Private Columbine and his statue, which is well under way.

It seems that his Victoria Cross is to be loaned to Chelmsford Museum to go on display.

The programme has only just finished and is not available on the BBC iPlayer yet.

CGM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the above medal is about to be put on display at Chelmsford and I imagine it will be in the Essex Regt part , on display is also the Eagle captured during the Peninsular War , also the MGS awarded to the officer who captured the eagle ,though the VC has a value , insurance costs ect the eagle must give it a run for value if it ever come on to the market?

Interestingly I worked at the town museum some years ago ,whilst there the uniform collection was being valued for insurance ,the man from the company checking the items showed me some of the uniforms kept but not intended for display as they were deemed to be politically uncorrrect ,they were very impressive but destined to remain undercover , they were the complete uniforms for officers and members of the BUF!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...