The 'exceptional' medal group of a heroic Dorset seaman who served for 53 years in the Royal Navy after rising up through the ranks were tipped to sell for £30,000 today.

Sir Humphrey Walwyn, who later lived in Maiden Newton, took part in the Boer War in the 1890s and both world wars before he retired aged 67.

As a junior officer he was decorated at the Battle of Jutland in the First World War for his role on the battleship HMS Warspite.

As one point during epic battle against the German fleet, Warspite acted as a decoy to lure enemy ships away from other navy vessels.

As a result it was holed 150 times, with 14 men killed and 16 wounded.

Sir Humphrey, who joined the navy aged 14, was later promoted to captain and commanded various vessels.

Between the wars he commanded the Royal Indian Navy and was later the governor of Newfoundland in Canada.

During the Second World War he had meetings with Sir Winston Churchill and played a crucial role in encouraging Newfoundlanders to join the war effort.

Sir Humphrey finally retired in 1946 and lived in Maiden Newton until his death in 1957 aged 78.

Now his family have decided to part with his brilliant set of campaign and gallantry medals that span his entire career at sea.

They are being sold at auctioneers Lawrences of Crewkerne, Somerset, today for a pre-sale estimate of between £25,000 to £30,000.

Matthew Denney, of Lawrences, said: "Sir Humphrey Walwyn was a navy man through and through and spent his life dedicated to service.

"He started out in the navy low down but had a good grasp of leadership skills and he went on to have an illustrious and long career.

"It is a brilliant continuity of service. To cover that length of time and action is very unusual and these 12 medals are exceptionally rare because of it.

"People collect medals for their history and there is so much history attached to this group. "

Sir Humphrey's medals consist of the Knight Commander Star of India, the Knight Commander Order of St Michael & St George, the Companion of the Order of the Bath, the George V Distinguished Service Order, Queen's South Africa Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal with Mentioned in Despatches leaf, Jubilee medal 1887, Coronation medal 1911, Coronation medal 1937 and the Russian Order of St Stanislaus.