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HERO: SAS founder member, Reg Seekings, during his distinguished military career.

Secret hero’s medals for sale
14 September 2006

HIS wartime work was top-secret and nobody back home in Stuntney was aware of the extraordinary exploits of Reg Seekings with the fledgling Special Air Service in the North African desert, Italy and at the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Now memories of a founder member of the SAS - one of the heroes to emerge from the ranks of the elite corps and the first Allied serviceman through the gates of Belsen concentration camp - are revived with the sale of his group of 11 Second World War medals.

Albert Reginald "Reg" Seekings, born in Stuntney in 1920, went from farm-hand at 14 to squadron sergeant-major in one of the world's toughest Regiments, and earned a raft of honours before his death in 1999.

The sale at a London auction house on Friday, September 22, includes his Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal. Together with nine others, including those won in Zimbabwe many years later, they are estimated to fetch up to £30,000.

After joining the Cambridgeshire Regiment (Territorials) at 18, Seekings, an excellent boxer who won numerous contests all over East Anglia, saw action in the Middle East in 1940 before being one of the first to volunteer for Lieutenant Colonel David Stirling's new Special Air Service.

After being parachuted into the Egyptian desert, Seekings risked death almost daily, taking part in daring raids on enemy airfields, destroying numerous aircraft and acting as his commanding officer's semi-official bodyguard.

Seekings's DCM citation in the London Gazette of November 1942 said he had "taken an important part in 10 raids. He has himself destroyed over 15 aircraft and by virtue of his accuracy with a tommy-gun at night, and through complete disregard for his personal safety, he has killed at least ten of the enemy. He particularly distinguished himself on the raid at Benina in June, 1942."

During the Normandy Landings Seekings was among the first to parachute in. He was hit by a bullet in the back of his neck, which narrowly missed his spine.

Seekings was the first soldier of the Allied Forces to step over the threshold of the Belsen concentration camp.

On his return to Cambridgeshire, Seekings became landlord of the Rifleman Arms in Ely before he and his wife moved to what was then southern Rhodesia in the 1950s to take up farming.

It was here, as an inspector of Marlborough Police Field Reserve, that he helped establish the Police Anti-Terrorist Unit in the 1960s. He died in 1999.

The medals are being sold as part of the collection of Ron Penhall, who acquired them from Seekings himself. Included in the lot are service documents and photographs.

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