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Thought to be Sinn Fein spy, Lt. Basil Worswick was shot by a guard during Easter Rising.

Thought to be Sinn Fein spy, Lt. Basil Worswick was shot by a guard during Easter Rising. 

A medal awarded to Lieutenant Basil Worswick, who was killed on 29 April 1916 at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin during the height of the Easter Rising by a guard, who thought he was a Sinn Fein spy, sold for £1,300 at Dix Noonan Webb in their auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. The 1914-15 Star plus copied research was being sold by a private collector and was expected to fetch £400-500.

As Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison (Associate Director) of Dix, Noonan, Webb, explains: “The medal attracted a lot of interest and was bought by a Collector who had owned Lieutenant Worswick’s other two WW1 medals for over 30 years and has been looking for his 1914-15 Star all this time, so we are very pleased to have been able to reunite them at long last!”

Worswick went with the 2nd Battalion to Ireland, following the outbreak of the Easter Rising, the Regiment was sent to Dublin to help quell the disturbance in the city. On the night of 28-29 April, a detachment of the Dublin Fusiliers was stationed at the malt house of the Guinness brewery. When the night clerk of the brewery, accompanied by Lieutenant Lucas of the King Edward’s Horse, was making his nightly round of the brewery buildings, he was challenged by the very nervous and jumpy guard of Royal Dubliners. 

Mistaken for Sinn Feiners trying to infiltrate the brewery premises, the guard shot both the night clerk and Lucas dead. Worswick was in the next picket along and heard the commotion. Proceeding to investigate, he arrived at the malt house at dawn on 29 April 1916, and finding that his fellow officer had been killed, his suspicions were aroused. Challenged and searched by a sergeant of the Dublin Fusiliers, he rushed at him, knocked the man down. The guard, seeing this, and believing Worswick also to be a Sinn Fein spy, killed him instantly.

The Company Quartermaster Sergeant in charge of the party of Dublin Fusiliers, Robert Flood, was subsequently court-martialed for the deaths of Lieutenants Lucas and Worswick, but was acquitted, his actions attributed to the general confusion and panic that surrounded Dublin during the Easter Rising, and the responsibility for the unfortunate deaths deemed to rest entirely upon those who engineered the revolt. He was subsequently killed in action on the Dorian front in Macedonia the following year.

Worswick was buried in the grounds of Dublin Castle; his body was exhumed in 1963 and he is now buried in Grangegorman Military cemetery, Co. Dublin. He is also commemorated on the Glasnevin Memorial.

Basil Henry Worsley Worswick was born in 1881, the son of Colonel Worsley Worswick of Normanton Hall, Hinkley, Colonel Commandant of the Leicestershire Militia, and was educated at Downside. Emigrating to farm, first in Rhodesia, and then in Canada, he returned to the U.K. just prior to the outbreak of the Great War, and served for King Edward’s Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Army in August 1914. He served with them as a trooper during the Great War on the Western Front from May 1915, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant.

Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history

In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000. Two years later, it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens.In 2015, DNW added jewelry to its sales calendar. In 2018, it set up a standalone banknotes department and expanded into premises next door. The same year, DNW achieved a total hammer price of £11,676,580 and the total number of lots across all departments was 20,273. To date the company has sold in excess of 300,000 lots totaling £155 million.

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