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Rare triple WWII medal set to be auctioned

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Rare triple WWII medal set to be auctioned

  • 21 March 2017
  • From the section Derby
MedalsImage copyright Hansons
Image caption The sale includes Sir Peter Hilton's medals (top) and those of his wife Lady Winifred

A rare set of medals won at some of World War Two's most decisive battles are to be auctioned.

The collection includes three Military Cross awards, believed to be one of only 25 examples where such gallantry was recognised in one person.

They belonged to Sir Peter Hilton, who fought at Dunkirk, El Alamein and D-Day, and wife Lady Winifred, who won seven medals in her own right.

The collection may fetch in the region of £10,000.

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The sale also features who a journal Sir Peter wrote to his wife shortly after they married and set up home in Derbyshire in 1939.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption Sir Peter was serving as an artillery officer when he had to be evacuated from Dunkirk

Sir Peter was part of the British Expeditionary Force that had to be evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.

After marrying and settling in Derbyshire, he was sent to the Middle East, where he was involved in the battle of El Alamein in 1942 and won the Military Cross and bar, as well as needing hospital treatment after being wounded.

His third award of the Military Cross came with the D-Day landings of June 1944.

In charge of a raft bringing vital tanks to the invasion beaches, he struggled against heavy gunfire and a failed engine.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption Lady Winifred served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force

He managed to flag down a landing craft to get a tow, only to discover it was commanded by his brother. He later was caught in a landmine explosion, in which he suffered a fractured skull and lost an eye.

Sir Peter stayed in the army for some years after the war but also served as Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire from 1978 to 1994 and was president of the Normandy Veterans' Association.

He was knighted in 1993 and died in 1995.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption Sir Peter placed an appeal in the front of his journal

Adrian Stevenson, militaria specialist at auction house Hansons, said: "Research shows that being awarded the Military Cross three times was very unusual.

"This collection is a testament to their military service but also gives a powerful insight to their personal life, with a journal of his thoughts for his new wife which is really touching."

Lady Winifred served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and was also involved with charities and voluntary organisations. She died in 2010.

The Military Cross is the third highest award for bravery against the enemy, after the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Service Cross.

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