Mid Sussex man’s war medals up for sale

The medals were expected to fetch at least �1,600 at auction this week. Picture: Wioletta Madaj SUS-170720-120607001
The medals were expected to fetch at least �1,600 at auction this week. Picture: Wioletta Madaj SUS-170720-120607001

The Distinguished Service Medal and seven other medals awarded to a fearless Lindfield war hero, who narrowly escaped death on three occasions in two World Wars, are set to fetch at least £1,600 at an auction on Wednesday (July 26).

The D.S.M., presented for “setting an example of bravery and resource under fire”, was awarded to Lindfield-born Chief Petty Officer Alfred Calvin Scotcher for the part he played in the British withdrawal from the French port of Le Havre in May-June 1940 during the Second World War.

But Mr Scotcher – who was born at Lindfield on August 19, 1900 – was lucky to have been alive in 1940 after what happened to him as a teenager during the First World War.

On June 14, 1917, the armed merchant cruiser, H.M.S. Avenger, with 16 year old Mr Scotcher aboard, was sunk by the German submarine, U-69.

Then, just four months later, H.M.S. Champagne, with Mr Scotcher aboard, was sunk by the German submarine, U-96.

Then, in May 1941, Mr Scotcher was on board the battleship, H.M.S Queen Elizabeth, when she was mined and seriously damaged by Italian frogmen in Alexandria.

He survived that incident too.

Now, 76 years later, Mr Scotcher’s Distinguished Service Medal and his other seven other medals are expected to fetch between £1,600 and £1,800 at an auction at Spink in London on Wednesday, (July 26).

Marcus Budgen, a medals specialist at Spink, said: “The group of awards to Alfred Scotcher is quite simply outstanding and truly rare. A seaman who served the Royal Navy for a remarkable 42 years, his gallantry on the beaches during the British withdrawal from Le Havre was in the face of extreme danger.

In fact, his War was such a busy one that although his award was for actions in 1940,he was only presented with his medal in 1944 due to being away at sea on active service throughout this period.

We have high hopes that his awards will be hotly contested on the auction day.”

The eight medals, awarded to Alfred Scotcher and which are now coming up for sale at Spink, are his Distinguished Service Medal British War and Victory Medals 1939-1945 Star Africa Star Defence and War Medals 1939-1945 Royal Navy Long Service and Good Conduct.

Alfred Calvin Scotcher was the son of Ashburnham-born baker, John Calvin Scotcher, and his Haywards Heath-born wife, Harriett.

In 1901, the Scotcher family were living at 3 Blackhill Cottages, Lindfield.

But sometime between 1901 and 1911 - during which period Mr and Mrs Scotcher had two more sons, Harry and Albert - they moved to 3 Luxford Road, Lindfield.

Alfred Scotcher married Sarah Newman in 1946. He was seventy six when he died in June 1977.

His widow,Sarah, died in 1996,