SAS medals to go up for sale

Warrant Officer Richard Higham's medals will be sold at auction
Warrant Officer Richard Higham's medals will be sold at auction
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Medals belonging to one of the first SAS heroes are set to go under the hammer.

Richard Higham was born in Preston in 1918 and enlisted in the King’s Own Royal Regiment in February 1937 as a 19-year-old.

He saw active service in Palestine with the regiment in 1938, before serving in Iraq, India and Egypt during the Second World War.

Higham qualified as a parachutist and transferred to 1st Special Air Service (SAS) on October 1, 1942, which later became the Special Raiding Squadron.

The young Warrant Officer won a Military Medal for Gallantry (MM) for rescuing three of his wounded comrades in the line of heavy machine gun fire during Operation Baytown in Italy in September 1943.

Higham and his colleagues came under attack from the enemy as they tried to capture Bagnara Calabria, on Italy’s west coast. Three of the injured men lay in the middle of a road, unable to move.

Rather than waiting for help to arrive, Higham bravely crawled through a gutter beside the road and defied the bombardment to drag the three soldiers to safety, one by one.

Higham remained in the forces until 1960 and went on to receive a mention in despatches for gallant and distinguished services with the SAS (Malayan Scouts) in Malaya in 1952. He died in March 1993, aged 73.

A collection of Higham’s medals, together with original photos and Army certificates, has now been put up for sale by his family.

The lot includes his MM, his original mention in despatches certificate, his SAS Regimental Association membership card and a photo of Higham in SAS uniform.

Auctioneers DNW expect the items to go for between £20,000 and £25,000 at the sale in London on March 29.

Christopher Hill of DNW said: “Last year, we sold a similar group of items for £40,000.

“There is a wonderful collection of artefacts to go with the medals which tells Richard’s story.

“We are definitely expecting interest from those with an interest in the SAS - this lot is particularly attractive because Richard was one of the very first in the SAS.”