Norfolk

Medals of Lord Nelson's surgeon auctioned

Sir George Magrath's medals
Image caption Sir George's Order of the Bath, the Royal Guelphic Order, the Naval General Service and the Order of Christ were auctioned

Four medals awarded to one of Lord Nelson's personal surgeons have been sold at auction for £14,400.

Sir George Magrath joined HMS Victory in July 1803 to serve Lord Nelson, who described him in a letter as "by far the most able medical man I have seen".

He worked in Gibraltar's naval hospital and later wrote of his disappointment that he did not rejoin Lord Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar.

His medals were auctioned by Bonhams in London.

They comprised Sir George's Order of the Bath, the Royal Guelphic Order, the Naval General Service and the Order of Christ.

Born in 1775 in County Tyrone, he began his naval career as an 18-year-old surgeon's third mate.

'Excellent remedies'

Despite losing the sight in one eye after contracting yellow fever, he became a surgeon in his early 20s and sailed for Great Yarmouth with wounded sailors from the Battle of Camperdown in 1797.

He was praised for tending to Dutch prisoners of war in Great Yarmouth.

It is believed he spent two years in civil practice before joining HMS Victory.

Lord Nelson, writing to the Commissioner for Sick and Wounded Seamen, said of him: "Mr Magrath, who I admire for his great abilities every day I live, gives me excellent remedies."

In 1804, when an outbreak of yellow fever swept Gibraltar, ultimately causing almost 6,000 deaths, Lord Nelson discharged Sir George from HMS Victory and appointed him superintendent of the territory's naval hospital.

He spent five months there before being discharged home to shore on half pay.

Sir George later wrote of his disappointment on not rejoining Lord Nelson and the "additional mortification of not not sharing in the glory of the Battle of Trafalgar".

He became surgeon to prisoners of war at Plymouth for nine years, and was later surgeon in charge of the hospital at Dartmoor

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