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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 593

The King's Prize Medal, Wellington College, awarded to Kenneth Harwood Crossley in 1922

King's Medal, G.V.R. (1922. Kenneth Harwood Crossley.), reverse inscription within beaded circle: 'Duty to God and Man', around: 'In Honor of Arthur Duke of Wellington', reverse engraved to edge, gold, 44mm., 56.0g., Royal Mint issue, extremely fine

Kenneth Harwood Crossley was born in 1904 in Hampstead, the son of Dr. Arthur William Crossley, C.B.E., a Professor of Chemistry, and Muriel Lamb. As a young boy, his family moved to Alderley Edge, Cheshire, and Kenneth was educated at Wellington College where he was the recipient of the prestigious King's Prize Medal.

Little is known of Kenneth's short life as he would be one of two young men to drown in a boating tragedy in Carnarvon Bay, aged just 27, the victims of a considerable swell and confusion of responsibilities regarding those on shore who may have been able to help. The Sheffield Daily Telegraph for 9 August 1927 takes up the story:

'Boating Tragedy: Coroners Pointed Questions at Inquest.'

The double boating tragedy that occurred in Carnarfon Bay last Saturday week was investigated by the Anglesey Coroner yesterday evening. The victims were Mr. William Donaldson Crossland Smellie, son of Mr. William Smellie of Liverpool, a member of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, and Mr. Kenneth Harwood Crossley, son of the late Dr. A. W. Crossley, of Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

Evidence of identification of Mr. Crossley was given by his guardian, Colonel Sir John Pringle.

Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, a pilot on Llandowyn Island, described how a half-rater in which the two young men were, was struck by a big breaker as they were turning round. They got over it all right, but another breaker struck their boat, and she went down stern first. Witnesses could see one of the men sitting in the stern before the boat went down and the other running about seeing to the sails. The boat was being carried out by the ebb tide. One of the men clung to the mast for some time.

Asked whether no effort was made to save the men, witnesses said, "I did see David Williams going to one of the boats on the island and he said it was unseaworthy."

The Coroner: "That seems very funny; they are of no use unless they are seaworthy. I take it they were there in order to be of assistance such as this! -Yes. They have been badly looked after (came the reply).'

The Coroner went on to enquire why no one had taken a risk and jumped into the surf to help the men. In reply, David Williams, one of the island pilots replied:

"Our place is not a life-saving station. The lifeboat has been taken away and we could not have anything to assist us in life saving until last Saturday, when the Holyhead coastguards gave us a lifeline, but we have nothing to throw it."

In summing up, the Coroner stated that this was a clear case of an accident and the verdict "Accidentally drowned" was returned. Kenneth H. Crossley was 23 years of age. Following such losses in the space of a year, his mother Muriel would go on to live into her mid-90's, passing away in 1973.

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