Anthony Eden’s First World War Military Cross medals group – £22,000 at Woolley & Wallis.

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The PM in question was Anthony Eden, who held that office from 1955-57. His MC group, including later honours such as coronation medals, sold for £22,000 to a private collector against an estimate of £7000-10,000 on June 22.

As a young man he was involved in the formation of the 21st Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Yeoman Rifles) during the First World War. Eden was a member of Eton College Officer Training Corps, and the outbreak of the war had found him eager, like many of his generation, to find a place in a regiment.

His brother Jack was killed in action in 1914, and this seems only to have quickened his enthusiasm. His initial efforts were hampered by poor eyesight, but his chance came when a family friend, the Earl of Feversham, set about raising the new battalion.

Trench raid

Eden went with the Yeoman Rifles to the Western Front as a junior officer and his early exploits included an abortive trench raid following which he led the hazardous rescue of a wounded sergeant.

The battalion was deployed to the Somme front in September 1916 where its commander Lord Feversham was killed in action, and his replacement appointed the young Eden as his adjutant, in which capacity he gave exemplary service.

His MC was gazetted in June 1917, shortly before he went into action following the detonation of the mine under Messines Ridge at the start of the 3rd Battle of Ypres.