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Offered is a magnificent set of 15 medals, relating to the service of Major & Honorary Colonel Edward William Nesham, Royal Engineers, who was noted as both a famous civilian cartographer & serving officer, being twice ‘mentioned’ during WW1 for operations at Gallipoli, again twice mentioned in France, winning a Croix de Guerre in both World Wars. He lived and worked in Canada, Lagos, Gold Coast & Nigeria, whilst serving in the Lagos Defence Force, Gold Coast Local forces & Royal West African Frontier Force. During WW2 he served R.E. Survey directorate, HQ British Forces Palestine & Trans – Jordan, when he was awarded his M.B.E, post war stayed on as a Lands Officer and awarded the General Service Medal with clasp Palestine 1945-48 for service in Palestine.

The medal group includes the following awards: The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Military) Member’s 2nd type breast Badge, silver; 1914-15 Star and British War Medal (both these name erased); Victory Medal, with M.I.D. oak leaves impressed named Major E. W. NESHAM; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45 un named as issued; General Service 1918-62, clasp, Palestine 1945-48, impressed named E. W. NESHAM; Jubilee 1935; Coronation 1937; Efficiency Decoration, G.VI.R., 1st issue, with Gold Coast top riband bar, unnamed as issued; France, Croix de Guerre 1914-1918, with bronze palm; France, Croix de Guerre 1939, with silver star. Medals professionally court mounted for wear.

Group comes with extensive research, London Gazette entries, medal rolls & original decorated citation document for the French Croix de Guerre, this damaged and in two pieces, being hand signed by Marshal Petain, C in C Armies of the East.

M.B.E. London Gazette 30 December 1941:

‘Major Nesham was in charge of the Survey directorate at H.Q., B.F. in P. and T.J., during the operations in Iraq and Syria. He was almost single handed but succeeded in organising a most efficient system for the production and issue of maps required for the operations. He was imbued with the need for supplying on demand all the requirements of the forces in maps and it was due solely to his great energy and personal efforts that he succeeded so well in doing so. He never spared himself and his work was consistently of a high standard.’

59 Efficiency Decorations (Gold Coast) listed in the Gold Coast Gazette between 1938-56.

Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 with Palm, London Gazette 22 November 1918:

‘Temp. Lieut. (Acting Major), 73rd Field Company R.E.: During the period of 22.7.18 to 3.8.18 and in particular during the day of 2 August 1918, he worked incessantly. When the enemy was fighting in retreat under pressure from infantry, he followed their advance, clearing the roads of all obstacles, constructing two bridges over the River Oise. He informed Headquarters about the condition of the roads, provision of water and ammunition dumps in the re-conquered territory.’

Croix de Guerre 1939, unconfirmed.

Edward William Nesham was born on 10 June 1888 at Holborn, the son of Charles Courtenay Nesham, Gentleman, of 6 Great Ormond Street, London. Educated at Torquay High School, he took employment as a land surveyor before serving briefly as 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment from 1906-07. Moving to Canada, Nesham was an articled pupil at the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa from 1909-13 and was later employed by the Canadian Government’s International Boundary Survey Board.

Granted a commission as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 30 January 1915, Nesham transferred home to England and witnessed active service in Gallipoli from 1 June 1915 and France thereafter. Promoted Temporary Lieutenant on 16 November 1916, Acting Captain on 12 September 1917 and Acting Major on 13 January 1918, he was thrice mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 28 January 1916, 14 December 1917 & 7 July 1919, refer), and awarded the French Croix de Guerre when attached to the French Army on the Marne.

Following the cessation of hostilities, Nesham took employment in 1924 as a surveyor on the Gold Coast. He remained there until 1936 and served throughout that time as a Major in the Gold Coast Local Forces. He was awarded the 1935 Jubilee Medal as a Civil Servant of the Survey of the Survey Department (Gold Coast Gazette 9 May 1935, refers). A year later he moved to Nigeria and became Deputy Commissioner of Lands and Surveyor General on 12 May 1937. He served as Major in the Lagos Defence Force and was also in the European Reserve Force, being granted an Emergency Commission to the General List on 3 September 1939. Awarded the M.B.E. for distinguished service in the Middle East, Nesham survived the war and relinquished his commission on 30th August 1946. Granted the rank of Honorary Colonel and later served in Palestine as a civilian, likely carrying out survey work. He retired to Rochester, Kent, and died at home on 22 April 1960.

Ex-John Tamplin Collection.

Additional information

Weight 2 kg
Dimensions 40 × 30 × 10 cm


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