A Collection of Medals to the Gloucestershire Regiment

Date of Auction: 15th October 2020

Sold for £3,200

Estimate: £1,600 - £2,000

Four: Sergeant James Sims, 61st Foot, later Sergeant-Major, 1st Somerset Volunteers, and reportedly ‘one of the first, if not the first, of the storming party of the re-taking of the magazine at Delhi, which had been blown up at the sacrifice of his own life by Lieutenant Willoughby’

Punjab 1848-49, 2 clasps, Chilianwala, Goojerat (James Sims, 61st Foot.); India General Service 1854-95, 1 clasp, North West Frontier (1435 J Sims 61st Regt.); Indian Mutiny 1857-59, 1 clasp, Delhi (Serjt. J. Sims, 61st Regt.); Army L.S. & G.C., V.R., 3rd issue, small letter reverse (1435. Serjt. Jas. Sims, 61st Foot) fitted with a contemporary Indian Mutiny style clasp engraved ‘Good Conduct’, the first with re-fixed suspension, heavy edge bruising and contact marks, fine, the rest with edge bruising and contact marks but generally nearly very fine and better (4) £1,600-£2,000


James Sims was born in the Parish of Bedfont, Staines, Middlesex, and attested for the 61st Foot at Ashford, Middlesex, on 17 October 1840, aged 17 years 6 months. He was discharged at Aldershot on 6 June 1862, having served for 21 years and 51 days, of which he served abroad 12 years nine months, viz.- ‘East Indies. Served with the Army of the Punjab in the Campaign of 1848-49 and was present at the passage of the Chenab and in Battles of Sadoolapore, Chillianwallah and Goojerat, and with Major General Sir W. R. Gilbert’s Field Force in pursuit of the enemy to the Khyber Pass in March 1849 (Medal & 2 Clasps). Served at the Siege, Assault and Capture of Delhi in 1857, and at the Repulse of the Sorties of the 4th, 9th, 18th & 23 July 1857 (Medal & Clasp)... Also medal for Good Conduct & Long Service with Gratuity of £10.’

His medal for the North West Frontier is recorded on a roll dated 30 November 1870, and states ‘To Kohat Pass 9th Fenruary 1850, to avenge the massacre of a Detachment of Sappers & Miners, employed on the Kohat Road under H.E. General Sir C. G. Napier, G.C.B., Commander in Chief in India.’

He attested as Sergeant-Instructor for the 1st Administrative Battalion of the Somerset Rifle Volunteers on 17 December 1864, and served for many years in that capacity, becoming Sergeant-Major of Volunteers. He died on 3 January 1906, his death being announced in The Western Daily Press, Bristol on Friday, January 5, 1906:

‘Death of a Military Veteran - The death occurred at Bath on Wednesday of ex-Sergeant-Major James Sims, at the age of 83. He served for a long while in the old 61st Regiment, and went through the Indian Mutiny, being one of the first, if not the first, of the storming party of the re-taking of the magazine at Delhi, which had been blown up at the sacrifice of his own life by Lieutenant-Colonel (sic) Willoughby. For many years deceased was battalion sergeant-major of the 1st Somerset Volunteers.’

A similar report appeared in Freeman’s Exmouth Journal on January 13, in which they referred to Willoughby in his correct rank of Lieutenant, while a letter from his son, Mr. G. E. Sims, was published in The Shepton Mallet Journal on January 12, adding further details of his services. Copies of these notices are included in the research together with copied discharge papers and other service records.