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Medals of hero who fought in Boer War and First World War donated to Sunderland Volunteer Lifeboat Brigade

Medals once worn by Commodore Captain John James Hammal have been donated to Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigades Katy Gill, by Capt Hammals son-in-law, Brian Bryce

Medals once worn by Commodore Captain John James Hammal have been donated to Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigades Katy Gill, by Capt Hammals son-in-law, Brian Bryce

MEDALS owned by a brave former lifeboatman will take pride of place in a new display marking the centenary of the First World War.

Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade (VLB) is commemorating the outbreak of war in 1914 with an exhibition at its Watch House at Roker.

Among the exhibits are artefacts belonging to the brigade’s last Commodore Captain, John James Hammal, donated by Brian Bryce, his son-in-law, from Castletown.

Capt Hammal joined Sunderland VLB in 1902, aged 20, went on to fight in the Boer War and served with the British Expeditionary Force in France during the First World War.

The courageous Sunderland man became a Home Guard when war broke out again in 1939 and eventually died in the city in 1953.

As well as life brigade-related items, the gift includes his medals from the Boer War and First World War. Also included was his British Empire Medal, which he was given in 1952 for 50 years’ service to Sunderland VLB.

Katy Gill, head of the Watch House Museum, said: “We are delighted with this gift from Capt Hammal’s family and very much appreciate the thoughtfulness in allowing these items to come to the brigade, which he served for so many years.

“They will form part of an ongoing exhibition linking events during the First World War with the brigade and the local area.”

The exhibition is on display now.

The museum is open every Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, from noon to 4pm.

Visitors of all ages are welcome, and admission is free.

 

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