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Nelson aide's Battle of Trafalgar medal in Nantwich Auction
A MEDAL awarded to the man who carried Lord Nelson below decks, after he was fatally shot during the Battle of Trafalgar, is being auctioned in Nantwich.
The Naval General Service Medal with Trafalgar clasp, awarded to hero James Sharman, is expected to fetch up to £20,000 at Peter Wilson auctioneers on July 11.
James Sharman is one of only a few men whose heroics on HMS Victory were recorded specifically.
Not only did he tend to the dying Nelson, but was so well regarded that when a memorial to Nelson was built in Great Yarmouth, Nelson's best friend, Captain Masterman Hardy, recommended him as its first custodian.
He was also the inspiration for the Charles Dickens character Ham Peggotty in David Copperfield.
Peter Wilson auctioneer, Chris Large, said: “Sharman is believed to have been awarded three medals during his naval career. One is lost, and another is in the United States, so this is a rare opportunity.”
Yarmouth-born Sharman was press ganged into the navy in 1803, aged 14, while working at the Wrestlers Inn – ironically where Nelson had stayed in 1800 and 1801.
Sharman was discharged from the navy after being injured at Trafalgar himself.
Nelson’s fleet used the port of Great Yarmouth on many occasions.
After Nelson’s death, the town decided mark the connection by erecting a monument and accompanying house – where Sharman was employed as monument caretaker at the behest of Hardy.
Sharman took care of the monument until his death in 1867.
Charles Dickens is said to have interviewed Sharman, after hearing of his heroics during a shipwreck rescue off the coast of Monument House.
Sharman’s medal can be seen during the public view for the sale at the auctioneers Victoria Gallery, Market Street, Nantwich, on Sunday July 8 between 2-4pm, Monday July 9 between 10am-5pm, and Tuesday July 10 between 10am-4pm.
It can also be seen on the morning of the sale, on Wednesday July 11 between 9-11am.
For further information, please contact Chris Large on 01270 623878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.