Estimate: 10 000 GBP
Price realized: 8000 GBP
Military Orders and Medals, Groups and Single Decorations for Gallantry, The rare China 1900 'Conspicuous Gallantry' Medal Group of three, awarded to Able Seaman William Parsonage, H.M.S. Aurora, for rescuing a wounded officer under fire, being wounded himself in so doing, comprising: Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, V.R., 2nd issue, scroll suspension (William Parsonage, Able Seaman, R.N. China 1900), officially engraved naming; China 1900, 1 clasp, Relief of Pekin (W. Parsonage, A.B., H.M.S. Aurora); Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 1st issue (185123 William Parsonage, P.O. 1 Cl., H.M.S. Queen), 258 medals issued with Relief of Pekin clasp to this ship, medal presented by the King on 8 March 1902, the first with old repair to suspension claw, edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise nearly fine (3)
Sold with copied record of service and other research.
One of only 50 2nd Type Queen Victoria Conspicuous Gallantry Medals issued and only 8 Conspicuous Gallantry Medals were awarded for services in China 1900.
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal London Gazette 14th May 1901: 'In connection with recent operations in China.' 'I desire to bring specially to Their Lordships' favourable notice the conduct of the following Officers and men: 'William Parsonage, A.B. H.M.S. Aurora, on the same occasion assisted to carry Lieutenant G.B. Powell, wounded to the rear, over ground swept by rifle fire, and was wounded in so doing' Signed E.H. Seymour, Vice Admiral
Parsonage's service record notes 'Awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for services with the Naval Brigade in China 1900 and on reaching the rating of P.O. 1 Cl. an annuity of £10 per annum to accompany the award.'
Parsonage was mentioned in the report of the Naval Commander-in-Chief on the China Station, on the affairs at Tientsin between 10th and 26th June 1900, in the following terms: 'I desire to bring specially to Their Lordships' favourable notice the conduct of the following officers and men:- William Parsonage, A.B., of H.M.S. 'Aurora', on the same occasion assisted to carry Lieutenant G. B. Powell, wounded, to the rear, over open ground swept by rifle fire, and was wounded in so doing.' (Signed) E. H. Seymour, Vice Admiral.
In the same report Vice Admiral Seymour describes the action of 19 June at Langfang when Parsonage was wounded whilst rescuing Lieutenant Powell: 'Two Chinese field guns were placed near the railway embankment opposite the British Concession and opened fire. Commander Beatty, with three companies of seamen, crossed the river and manoeuvred to within 200 or 300 yards in the hope of capturing them in a rush; some Russians moved out at the same time to co-operate. While our men were waiting for the Russians to come up, a large force of Chinese appeared to the right behind a mud wall and poured in a heavy fire, wounding Commander Beatty, Lieutenants Powell ('Aurora') and Stirling ('Barfleur'), Mr. Donaldson, midshipman ('Barfleur') (the latter died on 3rd July of his wounds), and 11 men. The force then retired.'
William Parsonage was born in Plymouth, Devon, on 25 February 1879, and joined the Royal Navy on 8 August 1895 as a Boy 2nd Class aboard H.M.S. Impregnable, his occupation being given as 'Hawker'. He joined H.M.S. Aurora as an Ordinary Seaman on 16 February 1899, being advanced to Able Seaman the following December, and was paid off from the ship on 28 July 1900. He was advanced to Leading Seaman in January 1902, to Petty Officer 2nd Class in April 1903 and was discharged to the Royal Fleet Reserve in June 1905. However, in order to obtain 1st Class Petty Officer Status, and thereby claim the annuity to go with his C.G.M. award, he re-joined the Navy in September 1905 and became P.O. 1st Class in July 1909. He received his L.S. & G.C. award in May 1912 and saw service with the Grand Fleet during the Great War, thereby gaining entitlement to a 1914-15 Star trio. He joined the Royal Fleet Reserve at Devonport in May 1919 and was finally discharged on 16 June 1922.