The collection sold by the great niece of Katy Beaufoy (1868-1918) is one of the most comprehensive of its type ever found. Six phone bidders and one internet bidder took the hammer price well above the £4000-6000 estimate before it sold to a female private collector from the UK.
The relatively small number of female casualties in the Great War dictates that items belonging to women rarely come onto the market.
The archive featured a handwritten diary, personal photographs and all Beaufoy’s medals, including a South Africa medal, British War and Victory medal and 1914-15 Star, her death plaque and dedication scroll.
Beaufoy, born in Aston, Birmingham, first volunteered for service in the Boer War in the late 1890s. In 1915 she was posted to serve on board the hospital ship Ionian during the Gallipoli campaign. She witnessed horrific injuries and on December 18, 1915, wrote that she “felt almost demented with tiredness, so much to do”.
On returning to work as matron on the hospital ship Glenart Castle in September 1917, she was lost, presumed drowned, in February 1918, when the vessel was torpedoed by German submarine U56 in the Bristol Channel.
The sale took place on August 22 and the buyer's premium was 17.5%.