Medals of Churchill Contemporary Lt. Col. H.H. Northey
Will be Auctioned by Spink & Son Ltd. on 23 July
Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Hamilton Northey CMG (1870-1938), like Winston Churchill, was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and also like Churchill served in campaigns on the Northwest Frontier of India, the Boer War, and the First World War. His medals, several identical to the decorations earned by Churchill, have been in the possession of a long-time friend of The Churchill Centre who is now having them auctioned on 23 July by Spink & Son, the premier auction house for coins and commemorative medals. All of the proceeds will be donated to The Churchill Centre. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
During the First World War Lieutenant-Colonel Northey commanded the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers until he was succeeded after the Battle of Loos by Winston Churchill. This is but one of several similarities in the army careers of the Northey and Churchill. Both men passed out of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst (only four years apart). In 1897–98, as Lieutenants, both were present in the Punjab Frontier and the Tirah campaign against Afridi insurgents. Later, in the Boer War, Northey, like Churchill, was captured by the Boers and interned as a Prisoner of War.
Did Northey and Churchill ever meet? Probably, they did at a historic reunion of the Regiment on 1 July 1919, the first post-War Regimental Dinner, with HRH The Prince of Wales, the newly-appointed Colonel-in-Chief, as the guest of honour. Among the eight guests was Churchill, who toasted the Prince of Wales and spoke of the “magnificent spirit that existed in the famous old Regiment, and how much that spirit meant, and would mean in the future.” Also present was Lieutenant-Colonel Northey, the man Churchill had replaced. An eyewitness wrote: “Old friends gripped hands very warmly, but with few words. There was a feeling of reunion and thankfulness, and the regret for those who had gone, and words did not come easily.” Given that Churchill and Northey had held the same command in the Great War, it seems likely that they must have interacted.