Hero’s medals sell for £24,500

Medals sold at auction
Medals sold at auction
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Medals belonging to one of the first SAS heroes have sold for more than £24,000 at auction.

Richard Higham from Preston was just 19 when he enlisted in the King’s Own Royal Regiment two years before the Second World War broke out.

During the conflict, he was posted to Iraq, India and Egypt before qualifying as a parachutist and transferring to 1st Special Air Service (SAS) in October 1942, which later became the Special Raiding Squadron. Warrant Officer Higham won a Military Medal for Gallantry (MM) for his courage in a raid, which was led by the legendary Lieutenant Colonel Blair Mayne.

Higham and his colleagues came under attack from the enemy as they tried to capture Bagnara Calabria, on Italy’s west coast, as part of Operation Baytown.

With three men lying seriously wounded on a road, Higham crawled through a gutter, dodging enemy fire, to pull them to safety one by one.

He remained in the forces after the war, serving in Malaya and gaining a mention in despatches for his brave conduct with the SAS before going back to civilian life in 1960.

He died in March 1993, aged 73.

Higham’s family recently decided to sell his medals, plus a collection of photos and other documents relating to his time in the forces, at an auction held by DNW Ltd in London yesterday.

The lot, which included his original mention in despatches certificate, his SAS Regimental Association membership card and a photo of Higham in SAS uniform, sold for a total of £24,500 to a private collector.

Auctioneer Christopher Hill said: “The sale was slightly below the guide price of £25,000.

“There were a couple of bidders for the medals, both in the room and on the phone.

“They attracted quite a level of interest.”