Medal awarded to Great Yarmouth war hero - who carried fatally wounded Nelson below deck - goes back on sale

A RARE medal awarded to a Great Yarmouth war hero who fought alongside Lord Nelson is back on the market - four years after hopes were dashed that it might make a return to its home town.

The Naval General Service Medal was pinned to the lapel of James Sharman who is credited as the man who carried Lord Nelson below deck after he was fatally shot during the Battle of Trafalgar.

The accolade is one of only three earned by the hero and first surfaced in 2008 when it came up for sale on internet auction site eBay.

Yarmouth's Nelson Museum was among the bidders that hoped to clinch the sale but was priced out of the auction, which was eventually called off after a fake buyer put in a false bid.

It was thought the medal would never go up for sale again but collectors now have a second chance to snap up the important piece of Nelson memorabilia as it set to go on sale at a Cheshire auction house - with a guide price of �15,000 - �20,000.

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Of Sharman's remaining two medallions one has been lost and the other now resides in America.

The collector who is selling the General Service medal, and wishes to remain anonymous, bought the piece from the original seller after the eBay auction collapsed.

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The collector, who specialises in Nelson and associated memorabilia, said: 'He told me he'd like to fall back on my offer and we negotiated a deal at a price we were both happy with. I'm not revealing how much I paid but it was a very substantial sum because Sharman's medal is very special.

'I've had the great pleasure of owning it for the last four years but now I've decided to put it back on the market so another collector, or perhaps a museum, can have the pleasure of enjoying it.'

But it is not likely that the medal will find a new home at Yarmouth's Nelson Museum as it remains out of the independent attraction's price range.

Curator Hannah Bentley said: 'With that kind of guide price it's just not going to be feasible for us sadly.

'We'll be interested to see where it goes. I hope it goes to safe hands, it would be nice if another museum would be interested in acquiring it.'

Sharman is a particularly important figure to the museum as he is one of only a few men whose heroics on HMS Victory were specifically recorded.

As well as tending to the dying Nelson he was also chosen as the first 'keeper of the pillar' by the Vice-Admiral's best friend, Captain Masterman Hardy, when the town's Nelson memorial was built.

Fine art and antiques auctioneers Peter Wilson will be selling the medal on July 11 and will display it at their Nantwich saleroom in the days leading up to the auction.

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