SPINK LONDON | The medals belonging
to a founding member of the SAS are set to be auctioned in London
on 21st July. Warrant Officer Arthur 'Taffy' Lawley was
awarded the prestigious Military Medal for his part in the daring
top-secret raid upon the Tragino Aqueduct in Southern Italy during
February 1941- codenamed 'Operation Colossus'.
Born in Wales, Lawley served with
the South Wales Borderers during the 1920's and was a London bus
driver before the War. He joined the war effort as a Driving
Instructor in the Royal Army Service Corps. However, at the age of
35 he clearly wished to see front-line action as he volunteered for
Sir Winston Churchill's newly formed Commando unit in 1940.
Thirty eight men, including Lawley
were selected to take part in the first ever SAS operation under
the cover of darkness to destroy the aqueduct. Upon successfully
blowing the aqueduct, the blast and the sound of the torrent of
water awoke the sleeping Italian forces in the valley, leading to
Lawley and the others being captured. Lawley's Military Medal,
awarded for his part in the Operation is just one of four awarded
for the mission and the first to the SAS.
Lawley then spent three years as a
POW in Italy, before successfully hatching a plan and escaping from
his captors, marching over a hundred miles to safety. His war was
not over however, being parachuted in on D-Day, later crossing the
Rhine during 'Operation Varsity' and being involved in the Advance
to the Baltic, earning himself a mention in despatches.
The medals are to be auctioned by
Spink & Son, with an estimate of £10,000-15,000.
Medal Specialist Marcus Budgen said
"The gallantry displayed by Lawley on the inaugural SAS mission
makes this group of medals extremely rare and desirable. We are
confident that strong bidding will be required to secure the
exceptional medals to one of the founding members of the SAS"
For more information, please
contact Marcus Budgen
Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4059 | Email:
SPINK LONDON | 69 Southampton Row |
Blooms bury | London | WC1B 4ET
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