Boer War DSOs 4 years 5 months ago #59261
Picture courtesy of DNW
QSA (5) CC OFS RoL Tr LN (Capt: Sir T. A. Cuningham, D.S.O. Rif: Bde:);
KSA (2) (Capt. Sir T. A. A. M. Cunninghame, Bt., D.S.O. Rifle Bde.);
1914 Star (Major Sir T. A. A. M. Cuninghame. Bt: D.S.O. Rif: Brig:);
BWM and VM with MID (Lt. Col. Sir T. A. A. M. Cunninghame. Bt.)
French Croix de Guerre, 1914-1918, with palm;
United States of America, Distinguished Service Medal (Army), bronze and enamel, the edge officially numbered ‘650’;
Czechoslovakia, War Cross 1914-18;
France, Legion of Honour, Commander’s neck badge, gold and enamels;
Greece, Order of George I, second class set of insignia, comprising neck badge and breast star, silver, silver-gilt and enamels;
Greece, Order of the Redeemer, Commander’s neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, the first nine mounted court style, enamel work chipped in places,
Thomas Andrew Alexander Montgomery-Cuninghame was born on 30 March 1877, the sixth child and eldest son of Sir William James Montgomery-Cuninghame of Corsehill, V.C., 9th Bart. He was educated at Eton, and Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and succeeded as the 10th Baronet Cuninghame, of Corsehill, co. Ayr, on 11 November 1897.
Sir Thomas had an extremely interesting and active career which is recorded in detail in his autobiography, Dusty Measure - A Record of Troubled Times, published in 1939. During the first period of the Boer War he was badly wounded at Vaal Kranz on 6 February 1900, as he later recalled:
‘At the battle of Vaalkrantz we led the attack, and it was there that I was wounded in the leg. A series of pom-pom shells burst on the hill as we scaled it, one of which hit me in six places - most of them superficial. One piece, however, cut a big vein or artery under the knee and the blood spurted high. My sergeant put a tourniquet on and during the process I became aware of a warm stream trickling down the other leg. It was with some relief that I discovered it to be a leak from my water-bottle which had been pierced too. I lay long on the field until night came down and stopped the fight. It was an odd experience to lie there, without much pain or any particular fear, watching the shrapnel bursting over the ridge as our gunners searched the valleys beyond. At night I was carried off by a stretcher-party manned by refugees from Johannesburg. Nothing could have exceeded their their gentleness or their cheery consideration as they tended me on that long black nightmare journey. I think we must have crossed the winding Tugela at least five hundred times, and when we came to a place on the bank where a pontoon bridge ought to have been and wasn’t, the length, breadth, scope and fancy of my bearers in the way of language was informative and picturesque.’
He was mentioned in despatches by General Buller (London Gazette 8 February 1900): ‘Lieutenant Sir T. A. A. M. Cuninghame, Bart., Rifle Brigade, proved himself a thoroughly efficient and active Signalling Officer.’ On recovering from his wound, he soon became involved in Intelligence and his autobiography contains wonderful descriptions of his work. He was the head of a Special Branch which was exclusively devoted to tracking the Transvaal Government Laager and on one occasion their intelligence nearly resulted in the capture of Schalk Burgher. Cuninghame was mentioned in despatches by Lord Roberts (London Gazette 10 September 1901) and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order for this and other ‘special’ work which he carried out in 1901 and 1902.
On one occasion he had a narrow escape: ‘After returning, and still in pursuit of Schalk Burgher, I occupied myself in trying to get Commandos to surrender and made such progress that the leaders of two Commandos each agreed to do so if the other did. It all had to be very secret, of course, and the sad part of the story is that the southern group near the Vaal River, under the pressure of circumstances started to come in one whole day before the rendezvous. Worse still, the South African Police’s line was moved forward that day without notice to me or anyone else. The surrendering column was caught unexpectedly, with arms in buckets, by the Police. Naturally they turned back, and though no one was hurt the whole plan was wrecked. My party came down on the right day and spent hours waving flags uselessly. At sunset I sent a Boer girl by the name of Polly Honeyball on a pony into the Boer lines to discover what had happened, and by midnight got the report that it was by then too late to do anything, as emissaries from Louis Botha had arrived and had expressed such forcible dissent to the plan that it was definitely cancelled. It was a bitter blow and had an ugly sequel a few days after . We returned to the railway line, leaving the Police in occupation. A party of Boers with a white flag came near the Police post and an officer went out to see what they wanted. They let him get close, exchanged some words and then shot him dead in the back. This act, when Peace was declared, was specially exempted from the Act of Indemnity. The Boer who shot the officer was arrested, tried and hanged. He stated in court that he had shot Captain Myers by mistake and was sorry for it. He had intended to shoot Sir Thomas Cuninghame for suborning loyal burghers from their allegiance.’
Cuninghame remained an Intelligence Officer for the rest of his career and adopted various cover posts to hide the real nature of his work. The Times of 8 January 1945, records the following: ‘In 1912 Sir Thomas Cuninghame was appointed Military Attaché at Vienna and Cettinje. The information which he collected on the dispositions of the Austrian Army proved very useful to the Allied cause when he left Vienna with his chief, the British Ambassador, Sir Maurice de Bunsen, on the outbreak of war in 1914. His next post was as a member of the British Liaison Mission attached to the French Commander-in-Chief, Marshal Joffre, but in the following year he was sent as Military Attaché to Athens, where he acquired an intimate knowledge of the Great World War. Sir Thomas Cuninghame returned to Vienna as head of the British Military Mission, and after the signature of the Peace Treaty he remained there in his former capacity of Military Attaché until 1923, being also accredited to the new Czechoslovak Government at Prague. He had a wide circle of acquaintances among many nations of Central Europe, among whom his dry, shrewd wit earned him much popularity.’
He was four times mentioned in despatches for his work during the war (London Gazette 17 February 1915; 20 May and 20 December, 1918; and 12 July 1919). His work in Europe also involved the famous spy Trebitsch Lincoln, a saga not recorded in his autobiography but which can be found in Lincoln’s biography. Sir Thomas Montgomery-Cuninghame died on 5 January 1945.
Dr David Biggins
Boer War DSOs 4 years 4 months ago #59491
Picture courtesy of Spink
QSA (5) TH OFS RoL Tr LN (Lt: Col: R. H. Hall, D.S.O., S. Lanc: R.);
KSA (2) (Lt. Col. R. H. Hall, D.S.O., S. Lanc. R.)
DSO LG 27 September 1901.
Reginald Hawkins Hall-Dempster was born in March 1854, son of Captain Henry Hall, 1st Madras Light Cavalry. Educated at Wellington and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Hall was commissioned Lieutenant in the South Lancashire Regiment in November 1873. Having served as Adjutant from January 1883-January 1888, he was promoted Captain, July 1883 and Major, March 1893.
Boer War - Command on Pieter's Hill
Hall landed in the Cape aboard the Canada on 20 December 1899, as second-in-command of the 1st Battalion to Lieutenant-Colonel William MacCarthy O’Leary. Present for the operations towards the Relief of Ladysmith, 17-24 January 1900, including Spion Kop and afterwards at Vaal Kranz, the decisive action on 27 February would see Hall take command of the Battalion.
In one of the final battles required to clear the path to Ladysmith, Conan Doyle takes up the story in The Great Boer War:
'Of the three Boer hills which had to be taken the nearest was now in the hands of the British. The furthest was that on which the Irish Brigade was still crouching, ready at any moment for a final spring which would take them over the few hundred yards which separated them from the trenches.
Between the two intervened a central hill, as yet untouched. Could we carry this the while position would be ours. Now for the final effort! Turn every gun upon it, the guns of Monte Christo, the guns of Hlangwane! Turn every rifle upon it - the rifles of Barton's men, the rifles of Hart's men, the carbines of the distant cavalry! Scalp its crown with the machine-gun fire!
And now up with you, Lancashire men, Norcott's men! The summit or a glorious death, for beyond that hill your suffering comrades are waiting for you! Put every bullet and every man and all of fire and spirit that you are worth into this last hour; for if you fail now you have failed forever, and if you win, then when your hairs are white your blood will still run warm when you think of that morning's work. The long drama had drawn to an end, and one short day's work is to show what that end was to be.
But there was never a doubt of it. Hardly for one instant did the advance waver at any point of its extended line. It was the supreme instant of the Natal campaign, as, wave after wave, the long long lines of infantry went shimmering up the hill.
'Remember, men, the eyes of Lancashire are watching you,' cried the gallant MacCarthy O'Leary. The old 40th swept on, but his dead body marked the way which they had taken.'
So it was, at the point just short of victory that the command passed to Hall. He was to be commanding officer for the victory which Buller sent the telegraphic dispatch on 28 February stating 'The main position was magnificently carried out by the South Lancashire’s about sunset.'
Hall would command the Battalion until March 1901 and again from November 1901-May 1902. Awarded the D.S.O., which was sent from London to Lord Roberts in South Africa and presented by Lieutenant-General Littleton at Newcastle on 28 April 1902, Hall was also thrice 'mentioned' (London Gazettes 8 February & 10 September 1901, 29 July 1902, refer). Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel on 10 February 1904, he retired with the rank of Colonel on 3 August the same year, donating the famous painting of the Battle at Pieter's Hill by Private J. A. Lamb to the regiment. The painting to this day resides with The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Lancashire Infantry Museum, Preston. He assumed the name Dempster-Hall in 1918 via deed poll from his cousin, Miss Helen Hawkins-Dempster of Dunnichen. J.P. for County Forfar and a keen shot and golfer, Hall-Dempster died on 17 May 1922.
Dr David Biggins
Boer War DSOs 4 years 2 months ago #60542
For anyone who missed the Magersfontein DSO group to W G Neilson, offered for sale at DNW in December 2017 but unsold, the group is included in the next City Coins sale.
Dr David Biggins
Boer War DSOs 3 years 11 months ago #61532
Picture courtesy of DNW
CBE (1st Mil);
QSA (2) CC OFS (Capt. C. J. Daniel, 3/Rl. Lanc. Rgt.);
KSA (2) (Cpt. & Adjt. C. J. Daniel, D.S.O., Rl. Lanc. Rgt.) t
CBE London Gazette 1 January 1919. DSO London Gazette 27 September 1901: ‘In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.’
Charles James Daniel was born in York on 1 November 1861, son of Rev. R. Daniel, B.D., Vicar of Osbaldwick, York. He was educated at St Peter’s School, York, and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He joined the Army as a Lieutenant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 10 May 1882. He served in the Zhob Valley Expedition in 1884. Appointed Adjutant, 3rd Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment from 23 January 1900, he served in the South African War, 1899-1902; during operations in Orange River Colony, May to 29 November 1900; taking part in the operations in Cape Colony, south of Orange River, March to May 1900; serving during operations in Orange River Colony, 30 November 1900 to September 1901; and in the operations in Cape Colony, September 1901 to January 1902 (Mentioned in despatches, DSO, Medal with two clasps, King’s Medal with two clasps). The insignia were presented by the King, 12 March 1902, and the Warrant sent 19 March, 1902.
He retired with the rank of Major on 27 June 1903. He served during the Great War as temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, in charge of No. 1 Record Office, Preston, and was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1919 New Year’s Honours List.
Dr David Biggins
Boer War DSOs 3 years 11 months ago #61601
I finally managed to re-unite the WW1 trio from the remaining medals to Major G S D Forbes, one of the officers who with Colonel Thorneycroft from TMI headed the column towards the summit at Spion Kop.
The original medals, minus the WW1 trio were sold at Spink, May 1991.
After his death in 1915, his WW1 medals were sent to family in Perth, Scotland, were they must have remained until the DNW sale last week,
The complete group now comprises:
BSA CM rev Rhodesia 1896 (Lt M G S D Forbes Staff BFF)
QSA (2) RoM RoL (Lt G S D Forbes, Armd Train)
FORBES, GORDON STEWART DRUMMOND, Lieutenant, was born in 1868, son of General Sir J Forbes, GCB, of Inverness. He was mining in South Africa (Johannesburg) in 1889-93; in Rhodesia as Managing Director of Companies, 1893-1900. He served through the Matabele War of 1896 on Colonel Plumer's Staff, and then on Colonel Spreckley's Staff at the Battle of Umyussa (Medal). In 1891 he visited the West Coast of Africa, and was for a time engaged in mining there. He served in the South African War, and, for gallantry at Spion Kop, was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 19 April, 1901]: "Gordon Stewart Drummond Forbes, Lieutenant, Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa". The Insignia were presented to him by the King 3 June, 1901. He lived in Rhodesia, and was Managing Director of Companies there, his favourite recreations being steeplechasing and hunting. He was a member of the Legislative Council, Rhodesia, and was created a CMG in 1910. He served in the European War and died of wounds in France 21 May 1915.
he Great War trio to Major G. S. D. Forbes, C.M.G., D.S.O., 7th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, a veteran of the Matabeleland campaign of 1896 and the Boer War, who won his D.S.O. for gallantry at Spion Kop with Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry, was made C.M.G. as a member of the Legislative Council of Rhodesia, and died of wounds in France in July 1915
1914-15 Star (Major G. S. D. Forbes. C.M.G. D.S.O. K.O. Sco. Bord.); British War and Victory Medals (Major G. S. D. Forbes.)
Gordon Stewart Drummond Forbes was born in 1868, son of General Sir John Forbes, G.C.B., of Inverness. He was mining in South Africa, in the Johannesburg area, in 1889-93; in Rhodesia as Managing Director of Companies, 1893-1900. He served through the Matabele War of 1896 on Colonel Plumer's Staff, and then on Colonel Spreckley's Staff at the Battle of Umyussa (Medal). In 1891 he visited the West Coast of Africa, and was for a time engaged in mining there. He served in the South African War, and, for gallantry at Spion Kop, was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 19 April, 1901]: "Gordon Stewart Drummond Forbes, Lieutenant, Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa". The Insignia were presented to him by the King on 3 June 1901. He lived in Rhodesia, and was Managing Director of Companies there, his favourite recreations being steeplechasing and hunting. He was a member of the Legislative Council, Rhodesia, and was created a C.M.G. in 1910.
He volunteered for service in the Great War, joining the 7th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers as a Major, and landed in France on 9 July 1915. He died of wounds from a random shell on 21 July 1915, during his first tour of duty in the trenches and was buried in Fouquières Churchyard Extension. He was 48 years of age.
Sold with a postcard sized original portrait photograph of Major Forbes in uniform.
Major Forbes’ earlier awards were sold by Spink Medal Auctions, Spring 1991, and comprised:
D.S.O., V.R.; British South Africa Company's Medal 1890-97, for Rhodesia 1896 (Lieut., Staff B.F.F.); Queen's South Africa 1899-1902, 2 clasps, Relief of Mafeking, Relief of Ladysmith (Lieut., Armd. Train). Named miniatures of the last two were sold in a separate lot, and what may have been his C.M.G. breast badge in another lot
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