As Nimrod Dix, Deputy Chairman and Medal Expert at DNW, explains: “On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day it is worth remembering that these brave naval frogmen were the first men ashore, tasked with clearing the beaches of obstacles and mines to make a safer passage for the waiting landing craft, while under enemy mortar and machine gun fire from the beach perimeter. Able Seaman Hirst was an example to all his comrades as he persevered with this work in spite of suffering from severe and multiple injuries.”
He continued: “This isn’t the first D.S.M. awarded to a frogman in L.C.O.C.U.1 (Landing Craft Obstruction Clearance Unit), Dix Noonan Webb sold one in May 2017 for £15,600.”
For the invasion of Normandy, the Force Commanders used approximately a hundred and twenty officers and men of the L.C.O.C.U units divided into ten parties, or units. Each unit had an officer and eleven men, and each was allotted to its own beach and had its own particular job to do.
As Lieutenant Hargreaves, Hirst’s commanding officer of their unit, who was subsequently awarded the D.S.C., described what he, and the other frogmen like Hirst, faced on ‘D’ Day: "We must have been about four hundred yards from the beach when the firing first started, and they didn't forget to inform us that they knew we were coming. When we finally got on the beach we discovered that we were being systematically sniped, not only with rifles but also by odd bursts of machine-gun fire - a most unpleasant experience - but one that we soon got used to.”
He went on to say: "The weather was very much worse than anyone would have expected in June, and we had the greatest difficulty working in a very heavy surf. It was hard going and we soon got pretty tired, but in the meantime the obstacles were being slowly but systematically destroyed.”
And finished by saying: “In all, we successfully disposed of over two thousand five hundred obstacles.”
NEXT SALE OF ORDERS, DECORATIONS, MEDALS AND MILITARIA
WILL BE HELD ON SEPTEMBER 25 & 26, 2019
Free online bidding is available is www.dnw.co.uk.
For more information, please call 020 7016 1700
DNW are on Social Media
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000. Two years later it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens and in 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar. Last year it set up a standalone banknotes department and expanded into premises next door
In 2018 DNW achieved a total hammer price of £11,676,580 and the total number of lots across all departments was 20,273. To date the company has sold in excess of 300,000 lots totalling £155 million.
For further press information and images please contact: