MM GV (58 Sjt: H. Brooksbank. 5/York: R. T.F.);
QSA (6) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast, South Africa 1901 (7340 Pte. H. Brooksbank, Vol. Coy. York: Regt.);
1914-15 Star (58 Sjt. H. Brooksbank. York. R.);
British War and Victory Medals (58 Sjt. H. Brooksbank. York. R.);
Territorial Force Efficiency Medal, G.V.R., with additional clasp (58 Sjt: H. Brooksbank. 5/York: R.)
MM London Gazette 27 October 1916
A local newspaper reported the following: ‘Sergeant H. Brooksbank, Yorkshire Regiment, of Scarborough, who received the Military Medal for continuous devotion to duty and bravery in the field. When under heavy fire he crossed the open and went to the assistance of a dangerously wounded man and safely conveyed him to a dressing station. Later, though warned of snipers, he took the man to the nearest clearing station.’
His death was reported under the heading ‘Scarboro’ Veteran of Boer War Dies. A South African war veteran and a freeman of Richmond, Mr Herbert Brooksbank, died in Scarborough Hospital yesterday at the age of 86. Mr Brooksbank volunteered for service abroad at the out break of the Boer War and went to South Africa with the first volunteer contingent from Scarborough in 1900. Two years later he received the freedom of Richmond, his native town, as a member of the 1st Volunteer Service Company of the Yorkshire Regiment. As a territorial he was called up for military service in the First World War, and he went to France in April 1915 with the 5th Bn., the Yorkshire Regiment, in which he served until February 1919. He was awarded the Military Medal and received it from King George V at Hull in June 1917. In the last war he was second in command of the local railway company of the Home Guard until his retirement after 50 year’s railway service in 1942. Mr Brooksbank was well known to business people in the town as L.N.E.R. townsman and collector for about 20 years. He began his railway service at Richmond goods station in 1892 and five years later transferred to Scarborough. He was a life member of the Green Howards Association and was present when King Haakon of Norway, then Colonel in Chief of the regiment, received the freedom of Richmond. Although he formerly lived at 3 Newlands Park Avenue he had lately gone to live with his daughter at 522 Scalby Road. He is survived by his daughter and two sons.’
MC GV, the reverse inscribed ‘Lieut. J. Whammond Lovat Scouts Lens 21.6.17.’;
DCM GV (129318 Sjt. J. Whammond. M.C. MM 46/R. Fus:);
MM GV (129318 Sjt. J. Whammond. M.C. 46/R. Fus:);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (1145 Pte. J. Whammond. Cape Police Dist. 2.);
1914-15 Star (R.S.M. J. Whammond 2nd S.A.M.R.);
BWM and VM (Lieut. J. Whammond.);
Jubilee 1935 (1370 W.O.1 J. Whammond. S.A.I.C.);
Permanent Forces of the Empire LS&GC GV (R.S.M. J. Whammond, M.C. DCM MM 2nd Rgt. S.A.M.R.) naming re-engraved, probably official and as issued;
MSM G.VR 3rd issue (No. 1370 G.S.M. J. Whammond. S.A.I.C.) officially impressed naming;
Romania, Kingdom, Order of the Star, 1st type,Chevalier’s breast badge, with swords, silver and enamel, reverse centre missing
M.C. LG 16 August 1917:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in making a very daring personal reconnaissance of the enemy's wire under heavy shell fire, and sending in a valuable and accurate report. His disregard for personal safety when engaged upon work of this nature has on all occasions been most noticeable.’
D.C.M LG 21 January 1920:
‘On the 7th September 1919, at Ivanovskaya, during the attack on three companies of the enemy, who were surprised in the act of attacking Borok, he displayed marked courage and determination. With five men he attacked the enemy left flank, turned it, and drove towards Ivanovskaya. He captured with his party 25 of the enemy and two machine guns. Later, on the 9th September, he again did fine work.’
MM LG 22 January 1920”
‘For bravery in the Field with the British Forces in North Russia.’
Romanian Order of the Star LG 20 September 1919.
John Whammond was born in Arbroath, Scotland, in 1883 and as a young man worked as a stable boy. However, in 1900 he left for South Africa and joined the Cape Mounted Police as a private, serving with them in the Cape Colony during the Boer War, 1901-2. After the War he continued to serve in this corps for a further 10 years, before joining the Natal Police and the South African Mounted Rifles. With the latter, as Regimental Sergeant Major, he took part in General Botha’s campaign in South West Africa in 1914-15. Some time after the end of hostilities in that theatre of War, Whammond returned to Britain and enlisted into the Lovat’s Scouts Yeomanry as a Sergeant. Commissioned Second Lieutenant on 19 May 1916, he entered the French theatre of War on 10 October 1916, serving in command of one of the newly formed detachments known as ‘sharpshooters’. The sharpshooters were organised into nine observer groups, each made up of an officer and 20 men, and operated close to enemy positions, gathering intelligence on their strength and movements.
Clearly a fine exponent of this arm of warfare on the Western Front, H. Hesketh-Prichard, DSO, MC, in his book ‘Sniping in France: Winning the Sniping War in the Trenches’, notes of Whammond: ‘The 1st Corps had a splendid system under which the Lovat’s Scouts attached to it worked. It possessed a grand group under Lieutenant Whamond, MC, whose equal at his work I never saw in France. The system was this: Scouts from the group were available on application to the Corps Intelligence Officer. Thus if a battalion had been ordered to raid the enemy trenches, the Commanding Officer of that battalion could indent the Lovat’s to go and make a reconnaissance of the enemy wire for him.’
For his bravery, Whammond was awarded the Military Cross in August 1917, and was promoted Lieutenant on 19 November 1917, serving with this rank until the end of the War.
‘Archangel’ - Gallantry in North Russia 1919
Relinquishing his commission on 18 April 1919, but clearly with a thirst for more active service, Whammond immediately re-enlisted into the 46th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. This battalion, which in April 1919 was just forming for service with the North Russia Relief Force, consisted of volunteers, mostly battle hardened veterans from the Western Front. It included a large number of Australian troops who had been awaiting demobilisation and like Whammond, a number of Officers who had relinquished their commissions to serve in the ranks. One member of the 46th battalion would write on the ‘very mixed crowd in action with him - a testimony to the multinational character of the anti-Bolshevik forces’.
Another would write on their arrival in June that ‘they are all volunteers and any quantity of ex-officers in the ranks, Colonels galore; fellows wearing DSO’s and M.C.’s on a private’s uniform.’
Given the regimental number; GS/129318 and quickly promoted Sergeant, Whammond would again distinguish himself in action numerous times, adding both the Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal to his glowing record of service. The citation for his DCM gives us details of his gallantry in September 1919. However, Damien Wright, in his book ‘Churchill’s Secret War with Lenin’, gives us details of what may be the reason for the award of his MM Prior to the offensive on the Dvina River on 10 August 1919, he writes:
‘During a reconnaissance in the days leading up to the attack, a patrol under Sergeant John Whammond, 46th Royal Fusiliers, was spotted by the enemy and fired on. When Whammond did not return to British lines it was thought he had been killed or captured or become lost in the forest. Those that knew the plucky Scot were the least surprised when he arrived days later, “a little grubby and unshaven, but with a happy smile and a notebook full of the most wonderful information”.’
The 45th and 46th Battalions, Royal Fusiliers played a leading role in the operations in Northern Russia. Arriving in Archangel in early June 1919, they would take part in many operations on the Dvina front, including the 10 August 1919 offensive, which was the largest battle fought by British troops during the Russian Intervention. They were also among the last British troops to leave the North Russian port more than four months later.
Back to South Africa
After his service in North Russia, Whammond returned to South Africa, rejoining the Cape Mounted Police. In 1934, whist serving as a Sergeant Instructor, he was awarded the South African MSM one of only 46 ever awarded. At the outbreak of the Second War, he volunteered for service again, serving as Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 Provost Company, South African Corps of Military Police. He died in Pretoria on 14 May 1941, aged 58 and is buried at Thaba Tshwane Military Cemetery, South Africa. The inscription on his grave reads: ‘A Devoted Servant to God, King and Country. RIP’
The group to Private G Cox is back up for its annual sale next week.
September 2018 £1,300
September 2019 £1,200
June 2020 ?
MM GV (20923 Pte. G. Cox. 86/Coy. M.G.C.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Transvaal, Orange Free State, unofficial rivets between second and third clasps (5945 Pte. G. Cox, Rl. Wt. Surrey Regt.);
KSA (2) (5945 Pte. G. Cox. The Queen’s.);
1914-15 Star (12557 Pte. G. Cox, R. Fus.);
British War and Victory Medals (12557 Pte. G. Cox. R. Fus.);
Army LS&GV GV 1st issue (20923 Pte. G. Cox. M.G.C.)
MM GV (27935 Sjt: J. C. Randall. R.E.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Diamond Hill (548 Pt. J. C. Randall. C.I.V.) with replacement retaining rod
[ KSA (2) ]
[ 1914-15 Trio ]
MM London Gazette 29 March 1919.
John Charles Randall was born in Upper Holloway, London on 20 January 1875. A Post Office sorter, he enlisted into the 24th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers on 23 January 1895 and served as one of their 7 man detachment in South Africa during the Boer War in the Infantry Battalion of the City Imperial Volunteers. He further served in the South African War with the Army Post Office Corps, qualifying for the King’s South Africa Medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902.
Following the outbreak of the Great War, Randall served as a Sapper with the Postal Section, Royal Engineers, on the Western Front from 26 September 1914. Promoted to Sergeant.