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Memorial plaque to Pte Alfred Ansted – estimate £2400-2800 at Dix Noonan Webb.

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For example, as covered previously in ATG, a Victoria Cross winner or female subject will push the value into the thousands.

The plaque coming up at London saleroom Dix Noonan Webb on January 26 estimated at £2400-2800 certainly fits the ‘interesting recipient’ bill: Private Alfred Ansted, who was one of 346 British soldiers to be ‘shot at dawn’ as a deserter during the conflict.

Christopher Mellor-Hill, head of client liaison (associate director), DNW, said: “With the help of one of our expert cataloguers, we are amazed to have identified this possibly unique memorial plaque. All deserters automatically forfeited their medal awards, including Ansted; as a result we believe this plaque to him was issued in error, as we don’t know of any others that were given to any of the ‘shot at dawn’ men.”

Ansted of the 4th Bn, Royal Fusiliers, served on the Western Front from February 9, 1915. He originally went absent without leave in May 1916 and received a suspended sentence. However, he went absent again in August 1916 on the Somme and two months later handed himself in to the Military Police. During his trial he claimed to have been “unnerved by shellfire”. Found guilty of cowardice, he was summarily executed by firing squad on November 15, 1916, and is buried in the Bertancourt Military Cemetery, France. He was 29.

The ‘shot at dawn’ soldiers were pardoned in 2006 and are now commemorated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.