Military Cross from Suffolk regiment captain fetches three times it estimate at Ely auction house

A MILITARY Cross awarded to Charles Havell of the Suffolk Regiment during World War I trebled its estimate when it was sold in Ely on Saturday.

The medal was the subject of a great deal of interest, with camera crews from the BBC on hand to film the sale. It made �670 at Rowley’s auction house having only been expected to make between �200-300.

The Suffolk regiment lost more than 7,000 soldiers during the Great War and Charles Havell was, like many, promoted without extensive battlefield experience, with sometimes tragic consequences.

In Havell’s case however, his promotion to captain came shortly before his heroics on the battlefield in 1915 when he was attached to the Trench Mortar Battery.

In his citation, published in the London Gazette in April 1816, Havell was commended for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.

His citation read: “It was mainly due to him the guns remained in action and were so effective in carrying out their task.”

William Axon, Rowley’s Senior Valuer said: “Sadly we don’t know as much we would like to know about Charles Havell’s personal experience during the war.

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“In later life he seemed to have led a fairly quiet, responsible existence working for the Westminster Bank in London and then as a director with the Imperial Tobacco Company.

“Havell must have been an exceptionally brave young man. He was mentioned in dispatches twice and won the military cross in 1915, an award instituted in 1914 specifically for junior officers who had shown gallantry in the field.”

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