Rare medal finds new home in city

Police Sergeant Thomas Coppard.
Police Sergeant Thomas Coppard.

A rare bravery medal is now on permanent display at Lancaster City Museum.

The silver Edward Medal was awarded to Police Sergeant Thomas Coppard for his courage during the devastating White Lund munitions factory explosion of 1917.

The Edward Medal.

The Edward Medal.

Rarer than the Victoria Cross, only 25 silver Edward Medal were awarded between 1907 and 1949, four of which related to the White Lund explosion, which killed 10 men.

The blast was felt as far away as Burnley, shrapnel travelled as far as Quernmore, and windows in Morecambe and Lancaster were blown in.

Heather Dowler, Lancashire County Council’s manager at the city museum, said: “This medal was awarded locally for extraordinary bravery, so we’re thrilled to have acquired it for our permanent display.

“When we heard that the medal was coming up at auction we knew straight away that we really wanted to acquire it as ! the White Lund explosion was such a major event in the area’s wartime history.

“The Friends of the Museum have done a fantastic job in raising just over £3,250 so far, leaving us just £400 or so to find from our acquisition budget. Their support is invaluable because it helps us to purchase important items we couldn’t otherwise afford.

“It feels right for the medal to come back to Lancaster. The explosion was a terrible event, with ten men killed, and both munitions staff and rescuers showed enormous courage.”