British Empire Medal of soldier who was one of Churchill’s pallbearers emerges for sale | UK | News

They carried the coffin of the wartime leader in and out of St Paul’s Cathedral before the wartime leader left London to be buried in a churchyard in Bladon, Oxon.

Gdsm Stokes and his fellow pallbearers were each awarded the BEM for fulfilling the momentous task while the world was watching.

His medal is the only one from any of Churchill’s pallbearers which is known to have appeared on the market. It is estimated to sell for £2,000.

It has been consigned for sale by a private collector with Lockdales Auctioneers of Martlesham, Suffolk.

Auctioneer Chris Elmy said: “It was a great honour for these Grenadier Guards to bear the coffin of the great wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill.

“This medal represents a moment in our nation’s history, one of only nine awarded to the men who took part in this unique occasion.” The selection process to be a pallbearer, surprisingly, was a rather haphazard affair.

Sixteen guardsmen reported to the sergeant major’s office unaware of why they were being summoned.

Here, they were inspected and the sergeant major eliminated candidates on the spot until nine remained who were informed of their central part in the upcoming funeral.

Churchill’s funeral procession attracted more than a million people who lined the streets to pay their respects.

Dignitaries from 112 countries – including six monarchs, six presidents and 16 prime ministers – gathered inside St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate his life.

The funeral procession took to the water as the casket was carried aboard the launch Havengore for a short sail up the River Thames.

In a memorable scene, dockers dipped their cranes as Churchill sailed by.

Finally, Churchill’s casket was taken to Waterloo Station and placed on a specially prepared train filled with family and friends for his final journey to a quiet churchyard in the village of Bladon, near his birthplace of Blenheim Palace, where he was buried.

The sale takes place on September 15.

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