Sticky Fingers and a President’s Gift

18/12/2020 11:37 pm
Sticky Fingers and a President’s Gift

Watches, even historically significant ones, are stolen every day.

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Police

But then again, it’s not every day that a gift from a US President to the naval officer of a foreign (albeit friendly) nation gets lifted from an antique store.

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Police

The watch in question was presented to Charles Lawrenson, the Master of The Nubian by US President Woodrow Wilson.  Mr. Lawrenson originally hailed from Liverpool.  

Now as to why?  Why would the President of the United States present a solid gold Waltham pocket watch to an officer on a British flagged steam ship?

Well on March 7, 1914 the SV Julia A. Trubee, an American flagged schooner apparently ran into difficulty and Master Lawrenson and his crew rescued the crew.  If I read the logs and records that I could find correctly, the Julia A. Trubee was lost, but thanks to the actions of Lawrenson and the Nubian, the crew was saved.

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Police

Back to present day, the watch was in an antiques dealer in Islington, north London.  From the reporting, it is clear that the thief was not your Thomas Crown level criminal mastermind.  The thief came in, attempted to purchase a vase, the credit card was declined, and while the cashier was returning the vase, the thief somehow got into the display case holding the watch and was away.


With the Met involved, I suspect that one will not be so easy to shift, unless the thief (or whoever retained his services) was specifically seeking this watch for themselves.

Tempus Fugit

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