Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
A scarce Victorian M.S.M. pair awarded to Drum Major J. Willis, 40th Regiment, whose presentation pocket-watch and Account Book accompany the medals
New Zealand 1845-66, reverse dated 1860 to 1864 (3348 J. Willis, 40th Regt.); Army Meritorious Service Medal, V.R. (3348. Drum Major. J. Willis. Late 40th. Foot), the first polished, nearly very fine, the second good very fine (2)
John Willis was born in 1840 at Drinagh, County Cork, Ireland. He enlisted in the 40th Regiment at Cork aged 14, and at this point stood at 4 feet 6 inches. Appointed Drummer in January 1855, he landed with the Regiment in New Zealand in July 1860 and did not return to England until September 1866. Promoted Drum Major in October 1870, he was awarded his M.S.M. and an annuity of £10 in 1883. His discharge papers state he had served '...in the Australian Colonies (4 years), New Zealand (6 years) and the West Indies (6 years)'.
Sold with the recipient's pocket-watch, by Dent, 61 Strand & 34 Royal Exchange, London, 47mm, silver case with hallmarks for London 1878. Numbered '39800' upon the white enamel face, reverse of the movement attractively engraved 'Presented by the Sergeants of the 40th Regt. to Drum Major John Willis as a small token of their esteem on his leaving for discharge after a service of nearly 25 years. Dum Dum. E1. October 1878.' Housed in an old travel pouch; vellum-bound British Army Account Book spanning his career.
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