The medals of a young telegraphist who helped save hundreds of Titanic survivors are to sell for up to £30,000 in Wiltshire.

Harold Cottam, a 21-year-old wireless operator aboard the RMS Carpathia when the Titanic sunk in 1912, was awarded a silver Carpathia medal and a Liverpool Humane Society medal for bravery for his actions.

Now those medals are set to be sold at auction, by a private collector, at Henry Aldridge and Son Ltd in Devizes.

The collection also includes photographs, Mr Cottam’s pocket watch, and signed paperwork, and is expected to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000 on April 22.

Mr Cottam, who grew up in Nottinghamshire, had been about to go to bed on April 14, 1912, when he received up the Titanic’s distress call.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Henry Cottam's Carpathia medalsHenry Cottam's Carpathia medals (Image: PA)

Despite just finishing his 18-hour shift, Mr Cottam picked up the call while off duty after radioing the Titanic’s operator.

The operator responded with an urgent plea for help, saying: “Come at once we have struck a berg. Position 41.46 N 50.15 W.”

Mr Cottam then raced to the bridge to alert the officer on watch before the pair ran to the cabin of Captain Arthur Rostron, who gave immediate orders for the ship to change course toward the Titanic.

They arrived on scene at 4am, the only vessel to respond to the distress calls, and rescued 700 survivors from the icy waters.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “Though he had already worked an 18-hour day, Cottam stayed at his radio for the next three days until he collapsed from exhaustion.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Liverpool Human Society medalThe Liverpool Human Society medal (Image: PA)

“When he arrived in America, he was whisked directly to Washington to appear at an official inquiry held by the US senate, after which he was hailed by the press as a hero.

“Cottam never cashed in on his fame, refusing even to be interviewed about the disaster for most of his life.

“Despite his relative obscurity, a true hero in every sense of the word and this archive represents the vital part he played in the lives of those saved from the Titanic.”

Gold and bronze Carpathia medals will also be sold at the auction. It will be the first time that a full set has been on sale at the same time and the gold medal is expected to sell for £30,000.