t: 07739 847964

Poignant 1914 university boat race medal up for auction

22nd Sep 2014
1914 Boat Race medal Keys Fine Art Auctioneers

A rare University boat race winner’s medal from the ill-fated 1914 Cambridge crew is to go under the hammer in Norfolk.

The medal is amongst around 70 rowing-related lots up for auction in a two day Book and Ephemera sale at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers, in Aylsham, Norfolk, on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th September.

The race took place on 28th March 1914, just four months before the outbreak of World War One.  Of the nine members of the winning Cambridge crew – all under 25 – four died during the conflict.  The Oxford stroke was also a casualty.

Of the 18 men involved in the race, all but one served in the armed forces during the conflict, with the 18th becoming chaplain to the armed forces.  A total of 42 Blues lost their lives during the war.

Cambridge won the race by 4½ boat lengths, the 31st victory for the light blues.  It was to be the last race until 1920. 

The two-inch diameter silver medal comes with a hallmarked silver shield listing the names of the crew, who were:

  • D.I.Day (killed 7th October 1915, aged 23)

  • S.E Swann

  • P C Livingston

  • J A Ritson (killed 23rd July 1916, aged 23)

  • K G Garnett (killed 22nd August 1917, aged 25)

  • C S Clark

  • C E V Buxton

  • G E Tower

  • L E Ridley (cox) (killed 19th August 1916, aged 23)

The medal has an estimate of £500-£600.

“This is a very poignant item,” said Keys Head of Books and Ephemera Sarah Prior.  “The race took place exactly 100 years ago, just months before the start of the war.  Both crews were made up of bright young men with bright futures; all of them became embroiled in the conflict, with four of the Cambridge crew and one of the Oxford crew paying the ultimate sacrifice.”

The medal (lot 1454) will be auctioned on the second day of the two-day sale, on Friday 26th September.  Full details are available at www.keysauctions.co.uk.