DCM VR (20498 A. Bomb: A. Bentley. R.F.A.);
QSA (5) Belmont, Modder River, Paardeberg, Johannesburg, South Africa 1901 unofficial rivets between date and state clasps (20498 Bomb: A. Bentley, 75th Bty: R.F.A.);
BWM and VM (34805 Condr. A. Bentley. C.O.C.);
Permanent Forces of the Empire LS&GC GV (Pte. A. Bentley. DCM R.C.D.)
Together with Silver War Badge (C49413) and Tug of War prize medal in silver (hallmarks for Birmingham 1915) with ‘A.B.’ engraved on obverse and ‘Tug of War, Ashford, 1916’ engraved on reverse.
DCM LG 27 September 1901. MID LG 10 September 1901.
Alfred Bentley was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in January 1877. He served with the West Yorkshire Volunteer Artillery prior to attesting for the Royal Artillery at Dewesbury in June 1897. Bentley served with the 75th Battery, Royal Field Artillery in South Africa, from September 1899 to November 1901 (wounded in action [gunshot wound to the face] at Modder River, 28 November 1899). He advanced to Bombardier in November 1901, and to Corporal in May 1905.
Bentley transferred to the Army Reserve in February 1908, and was discharged, 9 June 1909 after 12 years service. He emigrated to Canada and resided with his wife at 232 Britain Street, St. John, New Brunswick. Bentley joined the Permanent Staff of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps and advanced to Staff Sergeant.
He served during the Great War with the Canadian Ordnance Corps in the UK from 1914, and in France from 8 May 1916. Bentley was hit on the head by an aeroplane propeller in June 1917, which affected his memory, and he returned to Canada in May 1918. Bentley was discharged at Halifax in May 1919, only to re-enlist in the Canadian Dragoons in February 1922 (awarded Permanent Forces of the Empire LS&GC in December 1922).
He was discharged to Pension in April 1931, and died in May 1948.
DCM Ed VII (88540 Corpl: W. Cookney. R.A.);
[ QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal ];
[ KSA (2) ]
DCM London Gazette 31 October 1902: ‘Corporal W. Cookney, “Pom-Poms” Royal Artillery.’
MID London Gazette 29 July 1902, Kitchener’s final despatch of 26 March 1902, as Corporal in “Pom-Poms”.
William Cookney was born at Bermondsey, London, and served in the Royal Artillery from 19 January 1892 to 18 January 1904. He served in India from December 1892 to December 1897, and was wounded in the right cheek whilst on duty on 8 September 1897. He served in South Africa from October 1899 to August 1902.
DCM Ed VII (34484 C: Sjt: Maj: A. A. Hawkins. 2 Hants. I. Of W. A.V.);
QSA (5) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902, unofficial rivets between state and date clasps (34484 C.S. Major. A. Hawkins. Hants: & I. Of W. R.G.A.);
1914-15 Star (500 B. S. Mjr. A. A. Hawkins. R.F.A.);
British War and Victory Medals with MID (500 W.O. Cl. 2. A. A. Hawkins. R.A.);
Army LS&GC VR (34484 Coy Sejt Major A. A. Hawkins, R.G.A.);
Army MSM GV (C.S. Major A. A. Hawkins. D.C.M. R.A.)
DCM London Gazette 31 October 1902. The original recommendation states: ‘Has contributed greatly to the excellent behaviour and good work that has marked this Company. Special good service in charge of native working parties on the defences of Fort Scwarzkop.’
MID London Gazette 31 October 1917 [Aden].
Andrew Arnold Hawkins was born in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in January 1865. He attested for the Royal Artillery at Gosport in August 1882. Hawkins advanced to Bombardier in September 1885, and to Corporal in June 1889. He served in India, September 1883 - November 1888 (entitled to I.G.S. 1854-95, with ‘Burma 1885-87’ clasp). Hawkins advanced to Sergeant, and transferred to the Permanent Staff of the Duke of Connaught’s Own Hampshire and Isle of Wight Militia Artillery in September 1892. Hawkins advanced to Company Sergeant Major in December 1896, and served with his unit in South Africa, May 1901 - August 1902. He was discharged, 28 February 1907, after 24 years service.
Hawkins re-engaged for service with the 1/4th Hants (Howitzer) Battery, R.F.A. in April 1908, and advanced to Acting Battery Sergeant Major in October 1914. He served in India, October 1914 - August 1915, and with the Royal Field Artillery in the Persian theatre of operations from 10 September 1915. Hawkins transferred to the 2/2nd Wessex Brigade, Royal Field Artillery in September 1916. He was discharged due to sickness, 23 August 1917 (entitled to Silver War Badge), and died in Kent in February 1944.
DCM Ed VII (3617 Serjt:-Maj: J. P. Lydon. 1st. E. Lanc. Regt.);
IGS 1895 (1) Relief of Chitral 1895 (3617 Lc. Corpl P. Lydon 1st Bn. E. Lanc Regt);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg (3617 Sgt. Drmr: P. J. Lydon. E. Lanc: Regt.);
KSA (2) (Sjt. Major. P. Lydon. E. Lanc. Regt.);
Army LS&GC V.R (3617 C. Sgt. P. Lydon, E. Lanc. Regt.);
Army MSM GV (R.S. Mjr. P. J. Lydon. E. Lan. R.) note variations in initials
1 of 8 DCMs awarded to the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, during the Boer War.
DCM London Gazette 31 October 1902.
Patrick Joseph Lydon was born in Athlone, County Roscommon, Ireland, in 1867. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he enlisted into the 60th Rifles at 14 years and 3 months on 7 June 1881, and spent the following 9 years on home service, in which time he earned his 3rd and 2nd Class Certificates of Education. Posted to India on 25 November 1890, Lydon transferred to the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, on 30 September 1893; advanced Bandsman 1 October 1893; Lance Corporal 11 October 1893; and Sergeant 27 January 1896. Present at the Isazai Expedition of 1892 and the siege and relief of the Sikh and Kashmiri-held fort at Chitral in 1895, Lydon was subsequently transferred to Burma on 29 February 1896. He married Lilian Horlick at Meikhtila and returned home aboard the S.S. Dunera on 18 December 1897.
Posted initially to Portsmouth, followed by Hilsea and Jersey on 12 September 1899, Lydon witnessed active service with the 1st Battalion in South Africa from 13 January 1900 to 9 September 1902. As part of the 15th Brigade under Major General A. G. Wavell - and later, part of VIIth Division under Lieutenant General Tucker - the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, soon gained plaudits from high command. The Battalion was said to have done well at Karee Siding on 29 March 1900, losing 5 men killed and 14 wounded. Similarly, at the crossing of the Zand River on 10 May 1900, they were noted for doing their portion of the task well. In 1901, the Battalion furnished the infantry of columns which operated in the Southern Transvaal and in the Orange River Colony under Brigadier General G. Hamilton, Colonel Grey, Colonel Garratt, and others, and necessarily did a lot of very hard marching and engaged in a good number of skirmishes. For his service during this time, Lydon was Mentioned in both Lord Robert’s Despatch of 4 September 1901, and Kitchener’s Despatch of 23 June 1902, and was later decorated with the DCM.
Advanced Sergeant Major on 22 January 1902, Lydon was discharged at his own request on 2 July 1909. His departure was much lamented by his Regiment: ‘On joining us he was found to be a musician of no mean order, due no doubt to some of his service K.R.R.s being spent in the band of that distinguished Corps, combined with a natural inclination for music. This accomplishment caused him to join the drums... In bidding good-bye to Sergt. Major and Mrs Lydon and Family, we hope that “Versicus” will continue to support our columns with his welcome contributions from time to time.’
Lydon took employment with the Civil Service as a Messenger in the Office of the Board of Trade, and then returned during the Great War to serve at home as R.S.M. with the 6th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. This almost certainly involved the training of new recruits, local lads borne of the industrial centres of Preston, Blackburn and Burnley. Transferred to depot at Bury, he was brought to the attention of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services in connection with the war, before discharge in consequence of sickness on 17 September 1917. Awarded a silver war badge, he was also the recipient of a rare G.V.R. ‘coinage head’ MSM, one of only five issued in total to the Regiment.
Dr David Biggins
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