Gorleston war hero’s medals reunited with family after winning auction

Mandy McLean being held up by her grandfather George Augustus Ives

Mandy McLean being held up by her grandfather George Augustus Ives - Credit: Archant

The family of a Gorleston war hero have been on the search for his medals, ever since they were inadvertently sold ten years ago.

Sgt Ives

Sgt Ives - Credit: Archant

With hope all but lost, luck struck, when his granddaughter in Northern Ireland, happened to come across media coverage that the medals were to be put up for auction.

But it took an intense telephone bidding battle, for Mandy McLean to bring the medals back home.

Gorleston born Sergeant George Augustus Ives, was awarded the Military Medal on July 16, 1918, for his “great gallantry” during a First World War battle.

The man who later a Prisoner of War, was wounded three times in the French based battle in May 1918 - six months before the end of the war.

Medals up for auction

Medals up for auction - Credit: Archant

As well as the Military Medal, Mrs McLean was able to win back his British War and Victory Medals and his Army Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

The 57-year-old, who lives in the Northern Ireland town of Antrim, said: “I looked everywhere for ten years, on the internet, posted on forums in the hope that we would come across them.

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“I wanted to do it really to bring them back to my mother Marie, but time went on and I was starting to lose hope.”

The medals were put up for auction on June 27, by London based auctioneers Morton & Eden, and they were expected to fetch between £550 and £650.

Mrs McLean saw that they were up for auction after coming across an article online.

She was willing to pay a lot for the medals but the challenge to bring them back home was tougher than she thought.

She said: “I was bidding for the medals live over the telephone, and when the value kept on increasing I started to worry, because I am not rich, and there was the possibility that someone else would want them just as much as me for whatever reason.

“I think in the end it was my determination to bring them back to the family that won it for me.

“I am just waiting for the medals to be sent to us now, and I can’t wait to be reunited with them, and my mum is over the moon as well.”

Mrs McLean won the auction, paying a total of £900 for the four medals.

She now intends to make sure the medals are kept in the family and passed along future generations.

The family of Sgt Ives live now live in Ireland, after he moved there following the conclusion of the First World War, to move in with his soon to be wife who was from Belfast.

His daughter Marie Johnstone, 89, and Mrs McLean, visited Great Yarmouth and Gorleston to celebrate Marie’s 80th birthday and see where Sgt Ives once lived.

Sgt Ives lived at 27 Lower Cliff Road, Gorleston, before he joined the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment on December 29, 1910 at the age of 18.

He was the fifth of six children of Gorleston shoemaker, William Ives and wife Emma, and was a hairdresser before he joined the army.

On June 24, 1917, he was transferred to the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment and is mentioned in the Regimental History of the East Lancashire Regiment for his bravery during the attack at Guyencourt, France, on May 26, 1918.

According to Lieutenant Davies’ account, the fighting in this zone continued for some considerable time. Lieutenant Davies was wounded and got away but he mentions Acting Company Sergeant-Major, Seargeant Ives as behaving with great gallantry, being thrice wounded before he was taken to the first aid post where he was afterwards taken prisoner.

Sgt Ives then spent six months as a prisoner of war before he returned to Britain after the war ended.

In the 1920s,he served in the army in Jamaica,Bermuda,Malta and India. In May 1929, he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

On February 9, 1916 – the year before his exploits in France – he had married girlfriend, Sarah Newell Tedford in Belfast and after leaving the army ,in 1931,he settled in Belfast, where he became a stores clerk with Harland and Wolff ,the Belfast shipbuilders,who,among other things,built the Titanic.

He was 81 when he died in Belfast on August 1,1973.