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Reverends Military Medals under the Hammer

    A trio of World War One medals, awarded to The Reverend Nathaniel George Railton who served in the Army Chaplains Department, are going under the charterhouse hammer in Sherborne in their 21st & 22nd June collectors’ auction.

    “The medals come to Charterhouse for a distant family relation and have never been on the open market before.” Commented Richard Bromell. “Over the years I have sold hundreds of these trios but what makes this group really interesting is not only are the medals awarded to a military chaplain, but he was also the brother of Reverend David Railton who had the idea of The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.”

    Reverend David Railton conceived the idea for The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, also known as the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, when in France during 1916. He was serving as a Chaplain on the Western Front and had seen a grave marked with a rough cross which bore the pencil written legend “An Unknown British Soldier”.

    After the war, in 1920, he wrote to the Duke of Westminster proposing that an unidentified British soldier from the battlefields in France be buried with due ceremony in Westminster Abbey “among the kings” to represent the many hundreds of thousands of Empire dead.

    The idea was strongly supported by the Dean and David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister. Plans were made and the body of an unknown soldier from the battlefields of France was chosen at random.

    On the morning of 11th November 1920, the casket was place on a gun carriage from the Royal Horse Artillery. Drawn by a team of six horses the casket was taken to Westminster Abbey passing a vast and silent crowd.

    The cortege was followed by The King, members of The Royal Family and ministers of state to Westminster Abbey. It was placed in the West Nave of the Abbey flanked by a guard of honour of over 100 recipients of the Victoria Cross.

    Today, this is the only grave in Westminster Abbey which it is forbidden to walk on.

    Charterhouse are now accepting further entries for their 21st & 22nd June specialist auction of coins, medals, stamps, clocks and collector’s items including a single owner lifetime collection of model cars and automobilia and for their 17th June auction of classic and vintage cars.

    For further information regarding these auctions please contact Richard Bromell at Charterhouse, The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne 01935 812277 or via email

    Richard Bromell with the trio of First World War medals awarded to Rev N G Railton ACD £150-250*

    *Plus 25.2% buyers premium (inc VAT)