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Boer War DSOs 1 year 3 months ago #77033

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The DSO group to A M Foster sold for a hammer price of £2,000. Totals (inc VAT for UK only): £2,576. R49,100. Au$4,590. Can$4,270. US$3,470
Dr David Biggins

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Boer War DSOs 1 year 3 months ago #77087

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Picture courtesy of the London Medal Company

DSO VR;
OBE military, HM 1919;
QSA (6) Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen; (CAPT. P.J. BAILEY. 12/R.LCRS.);
KSA (2) (CAPT. P.J. BAILEY. D.S.O. 12/LCRS.);
1914 Star with Clasp; (MAJOR P.J. BAILEY. D.S.O. 12/LRS.);
British War Medal and Victory Medal; (MAJOR P.J. BAILEY.)

Percy James Bailey was born on 2nd December 1873 in London, the eldest son of Sir James Bailey M.P., of Loft’s Hall, Saffron Waldon, and after graduating from Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1892, he became a member of the Hurlingham Club Polo Association, and joined the British Army being commissioned and gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant into the 12th The Prince of Wales Royal Lancers on 11th December 1895, and then shined in polo, being one of the runners-up in the 1896 Irish Command Inter Regiment Polo competition, before being promoted to Lieutenant on 12th May 1897

With the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa, Bailey took part in the advance on Kimberley, including the action at Magersfontein, and was then present at the relief of Kimberley on 15th February 1900, and then on operations in the Orange Free State from February to May 1900, including the actions at Paardeberg from 17th to 26th February 1900, and Poplar Grove on 7th March 1900, where he was severely wounded.

The battle of Poplar Grove on 7th March 1900 saw the failure of both a Boer attempt to defend Bloemfontein and a British attempt to capture the main Boer army in the Orange Free State. The Boers at Poplar Grove were badly outnumbered. In the aftermath of the surrender at Paardeberg, only around 6,000 men were left to defend the Orange Free State capital. They had a new commander, Christiaan De Wet, who began work on a new defensive line on the hills around Poplar Grove. His main problem was that the morale of the Boer commandoes was at a very low ebb after Cronjé’s surrender. The British commander, Lord Roberts, decided to send two infantry division straight at the Boer position, while the cavalry made a wide flanking move to the south, coming up behind the Boers to prevent their escape.

His main problem was the poor condition of his cavalry horses. Many of them had been lost during the successful relief of Kimberley, while the remaining horses had been on short rations since the loss of the main supply column at the start of the operations in February. Worse, the commander of the cavalry, Sir John French, can best be described as being in a sulk. His mood was not improved by a dressing down he had received after the chief supply officer forgot to include the sick and injured horses in his calculations of required rations and accused the cavalry of taking too much food.

As a result, French moved very slowly on the morning of 7th March. He started late, and stopped twice to take long breaks to rest his horses. As a result the cavalry were nowhere near where they needed to be when the infantry advance began. That advance never needed to turn into an attack. The British infantry came into view from the Boer camp at about 8 a.m. Demoralised by recent events, the burghers simply turned and fled. De Wet blamed the fiasco on Cronjé’s surrender, only two weeks earlier, although it probably helped save his army. If the Boers had stood and fought at Poplar Grove then French would have been able to get into place to cut off their retreat, and the entire army might have been lost.

As it was, three quarters of De Wet’s men abandoned the fight, at least for the moment. When he made his next stand at Driefontein it was with only 1,500 men. Bailey though severely wounded, recovered enough in time to to see action at Driefontein on 10th March 1900, and in the action at the Zand River, and then served during the operations in the Transvaal from May to June 1900, including the actions at Lindley, Behtlehem, and Wittebergen, being then appointed Brigade Signalling Officer and graded as Staff Captain on 13th October 1900, and afterwards served on the Staff as a Staff Officer to a Column and Brigade Signalling Officer.

Bailey was promoted to Captain in April 1901, and for his gallant and distinguished services he was Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette for 17th June 1902, and appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order in the London Gazette for 26th June 1902, the award being present to him by His Majesty King Edward VII on Bailey's return from South Africa on 24th October 1902.

Bailey continued in the 12th Lancers after the Boer War, being appointed as Adjutant and Quartermaster at the Cavalry School from August 1905 to August 1909. Having married Dorothy Jessica in 1907, the daughter of Thomas Gibson Bowles, Esq. M.P. and of Jessica (who died in 1887), the daughter of General Evans Gordon, Bailey had then been promoted to Major on 22nd August 1908, and was still serving with the regiment on the outbreak of the Great War as a Major, having seen service in India, where he was noted for his involvement in game hunting, gaining a record head a some stage during his time in India.

With the outbreak of the war, the 12th Lancers was then stationed at Norwich, Norfolk, and Bailey who according to the Hurlingham Polo Association Handicap Official List as revised for August 1914, had a club polo handicap of '4', then served in France from 17th August 1914 with the British Expeditionary Force with his regiment as part of the 5th Cavalry Brigade, and in command of 'C' Squadron, 12th Lancers.

On the 28th of August 1914 the 12th Lancers, specifically 'C' Squadron led by Lieutenant Colonel Wormold, made a charge with lances against the Prussian Dragoon Guards near the village of Moÿ de l'Aisne, near St. Quentin. This was the last, or one of the last, such events in modern warfare. The village planned a big centenary event in August 2014. A new memorial was also planned at or near the site of Moÿ Chateau from whence the 12th Lancers set forth on their charge. It was inaugurated during the centenary celebrations.

As noted previously Bailey was the 'C' Squadron Commander when the regiment went out to France, however though the regimental history records a Corporal London as having been the first casualty of the regiment in action on the evening of the 23rd August, the actual first casualty of the war for the regiment was Bailey, who on the morning of the battle of Mons, 23rd August 1914 as the regimental history puts it: 'The Regiment however had its first casualty, an unlucky one, that morning. Running up the stairs of his billet, Major Bailey, commanding 'C' Squadron, had the misfortune to shoot himself in the leg with his own revolver. He was sent to Maubeuge, then being put into a state of defence by the French, and was there when it was surrounded by the enemy. Finding himself the senior British officer present he co-operated with the French in the hopeless defence of the place until it fell.'

As such though Bailey did not take part in the regiment's most famous action of the war on 28th August, an action which could well have seen him go down in history as one of the most famous officers of the regiment if he had been there to command his Squadron, but may well have seen him killed, he did have the unusual honour of taking part in the hopeless defence of Maubeuge which lasted from 24th August to 7th September 1914, and was the most senior British officer present, and interesting record on its own account.

On the morning of 24th August 1914 General French briefly threatened to retreat away from the Charles Lanrezac's Fifth Army towards Amiens, until he was dissuaded by Joffre and French also considered withdrawing the British Expeditionary Force into the fortress of Maubeuge. Later that day German Second Army opened its attack on Maubeuge. Next day the German Second Army bypassed Maubeuge and left behind a corps to cover the fortress. French General Headquarters ( GQG ) ordered the fortress commander to hold on and German forces beyond, completed the investment of the fortified area. From 29th August to 5th September the Maubeuge fortresses were bombarded German heavy and super-heavy artillery. German infantry attacked the fortress on 5th September and next day stormed four of the bypassed forts. On the evening of 6th September fortified area of Maubeuge was surrendered to the Germans.

Bailey who as recorded, accidentally wounded himself, is also listed as wounded in action, this being uncertain as to whether he may well have also been wounded in action for real during the defence of Maubeuge from 24th August to 7th September 1914, but was is for sure is that Bailey was taken prisoner of war at the fall of the French garrison in the Maubeuge Fortress on 7th September. It is interesting to note that another account states that Bailey was himself taken prisoner on the 11th September 1914, it being possible that he went into hiding for a few days before surrendering.

Bailey was interned in Germany at Krefeld, and is recorded by name in an interview concerning time spent in captivity as given by Lieutenant Colonel R.G. Bolton, Scots Guards. iIt would appear however that Bailey later escaped to Switzerland and was interned there from 9th December 1917, there being no other reason why he would have been interned in Switzerland other than the fact that he must have escaped from German captivity, as his injury in the leg, or other possible wound, would if it had been serious enough, necessitated his being repatriated home or else handed over to the Red Cross for internment in Switzerland or Holland much earlier than December 1917.

With the cessation of hostilities, Bailey was repatriated from Switzerland on 6th December 1918, and was then appointed Assistant Commandant of the Remount Service at Shirehampton, as part of the Southern Command from 3rd January to 5th April 1919, and was then appointed Deputy Director of Remounts with the rank of Colonel, based at the General Headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine from 6th April 1919, being appointed an Officer of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the King's Birthday Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 3rd June 1919 'for valuable services in connection with the war'. This award is unusual in that though nothing can be stated as fact, this award was almost certainly for his services as a Prisoner of War, and presumably for his escape to Switzerland, he had rendered no service in the period after his release which would have merited the award otherwise.

Bailey retired after this appointment as a Lieutenant Colonel on 12th December 1919, and later lived at Fosseway House, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. He died on 1st February 1947.

£4,500
Dr David Biggins
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Boer War DSOs 10 months 2 days ago #79907

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Picture courtesy of City Coins

Described as:

DSO VR.

Mackenzie, Ian Russell, Tpr 288 in the Natal Carbineers transferred as Lieutenant to the 1st Scottish Horse during the South African War, 1901-2. He was severely wounded at Gruisfontein on 5.2.1902; was mentioned in Despatches 3.12.1901; and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.

LG 26 June 1902: “Ian Russell Mackenzie, Captain, Scottish Horse. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa”. He was invested by the King 18.12.1902, served in Northern Nigeria in 1906. Source: DSO recipients (VC and DSO Book).

Served with the 12th South African Infantry in GEA, invalided home in 1916, returned to GEA and transfered to the 2nd C.C.

He died of wounds 13.09.1917, wound having been unintentionally self inflicted, was buried at Blantyre Church.

Privately engraved “Capt Ian MacKenzie” on the edges of the cross.
Dr David Biggins
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Boer War DSOs 10 months 11 hours ago #79928

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From City Coins auction 72, 3 December 2021



CMG neck Badge, silver-gilt and enamel;
CBE neck Badge, silver-gilt and enamel;
DSO VRI;
MC GV, unnamed as issued;
QSA (6) CC, Tug H, OFS, RoL, Tvl, L Nek (811 Tpr. B. Nicholson. Natal Carbnrs);
KSA (2) (Lieut. B. Nicholson. Imp. L.H.);
1914-15 Star (Lt. B. Nicholson 5th M.R)
BWM and AVM (Bil) (Capt B. Nicholson);
WM and ASM (223436 B. Nicholson)

Naming of QSA and KSA impressed. War Medal is an UK issue. WWII medals are late issues (July 1997) and are pantograph-engraved.

Bertram Nicholson CMG, CBE, DSO, MC, fondly known as “Nicholson of Swaziland”, was born in Richmond, Natal, in 1875. He was the youngest son of William and Fanny Nicholson who came out to South Africa as Byrne settlers. After matriculating at Maritzburg College in 1893 Bertram joined the Natal Civil Service in January 1894, gaining valuable administrative experience in the Magistrates' Court in Durban from 1896 to 1899.

Bertram served throughout the Boer War, initially with Murray’s Horse and then with the Natal Carbineers from 22 November 1899 to 1 October 1900. He was mentioned in an Addendum to Lord Roberts’ Despatch of 2 April 1901 that was belatedly published in the LG of 4 December 1903 (p8019) for “meritorious services performed” while serving Trooper with the Natal Carbineers.

On 2 October 1900 he transferred to the Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment and continued to serve with them until 30 December 1900. The following day he re-enlisted in the Imperial Light Horse and served with them as a commissioned officer up to the end of the war, earning a further mention from Kitchener which was noted in London Gazette of 18 July 1902 (p4595) as follows: “Lieutenant B. Nicholson, Imperial Light Horse: With 3 men captured 18 Boers on 15th April 1902 at Yserspruit, after a long chase”. It is most probably this act which was the reason for the subsequent award of the DSO. (LG 31 October 1902)

After the Boer War, Bertram joined the Swaziland Administration. He was initially appointed as the Assistant Commissioner at Hlatikulu. Further appointments followed as Resident Magistrate, Member of the Special Court, and finally as Resident Commissioner.

Upon the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, he commanded the Swaziland Troop of the Imperial Light Horse, and served in both the Rebellion and in German South West Africa. He was awarded the Military Cross, as published in the UDF General Order 2691: Rewards for War Services - German South-West African Campaign, dated 24 Dec 1918.

The Recommendation for the award of his Military Cross was listed under “Headquarters Staff” as follows: “Lieut (Temp Captain) Bertram Nicholson, 5th Mounted Rifles (Imperial Light Horse): In charge of all Intelligence work which he supervised and directed with conspicuous energy and ability and much skill.”

On his return to Swaziland after demobilisation, he was appointed Deputy Resident Commissioner and Government Secretary and continued to serve as a member of the Special Court with Mr JS Marwick, OBE. He was finally appointed Resident Commissioner of Swaziland, and thereafter retired on pension in 1931. For his outstanding work in Swaziland, he received the CBE in 1924 (Birthday Honours List, LG 3 June 1924) and the CMG In 1932 (Birthday Honours List, LG 3 June 1932). Both awards (CMG and CBE) were for his services as Deputy Resident Commissioner and Government Secretary in Swaziland.

During WWII, he volunteered for service once again was given command of the 4th Battalion Native Military Guards and retired with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1942.

He died in Bremersdorp at the age of 69 in 1944.

Quite apart from his meritorious record of service in both peace and war, he found time to be a very fine cricketer, a noted hunter of big game and a most ardent fisherman. He did much in the way of trout and black bass acclimatisation in and beyond Swaziland. He was also very keen on the conservation of the environment and of wildlife.

After his death and at his request, Maritzburg College was presented with a very fine pair of elephant tusks from his own collection and a German Shield, which he took from a railway engine at the battle of Gibeon in South West Africa. The tusks and shield, suitably mounted, serve to this day to remind boys of a distinguished Old Collegian.

Sold with a substantial file of copied service and other documents. These include medal rolls relating to his Boer War Service, copies of pertinent London Gazette extracts, service details and recommendations for his service period during the Great War and limited WW11 documents. The small photograph is copied from the well-known “The V.C. and D.S.O.” by Creagh and Humphris. The copied papers include a relatively poor photostat copy of a seemingly excellent published photograph titled “Magistrate and Staff, Msinga District, 1896” but unfortunately the details of this publication is not noted. This evidently fine photograph shows Magistrate Bertram Nicholson surrounded by his European and Native Staff - the names of the Europeans being recorded.
Dr David Biggins
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Boer War DSOs 9 months 2 days ago #80346

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Picture courtesy of DNW

DSO VR, silver-gilt and enamel, with integral top riband bar;
QSA (6) Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen, South Africa 1901, date clasp a tailor’s copy (Capt. C. Leigh. D.S.O, K.O. Sco: Bord:) engraved naming;
Ottoman Empire, Order of Osmanieh, Fourth Class breast badge, silver, silver-gilt, and enamel;
Order of the Medjidieh, Third Class neck badge, silver, gold, and enamel, with mint mark to reverse, with neck riband, red enamel damage to crescent part of suspension;
Khedive Sudan (1) Nyam-Nyam, unnamed as issued

Provenance: Woodliffe Collection, Dix Noonan Webb, May 2011.

D.S.O. London Gazette 27 September 1901: ‘In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.’

Ottoman Order of Osmanieh, Fourth Class London Gazette 9 December 1910.

Ottoman Order of the Medjidieh, Third Class London Gazette 2 July 1912.

Chandos Leigh was born on 29 August 1873, the son of the Hon. Sir E. Chandos Leigh, K.C.B., K.C., and was educated at Harrow and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and joined the King's Own Scottish Borderers from the Warwickshire Militia on 29 May 1895, becoming Lieutenant in September 1897. He served in South Africa during the Boer War, where he was employed with Mounted Infantry, and took part in the Relief of Kimberley; operations in Orange Free State, including operations at Paardeberg; actions at Poplar Grove, Houtnek (Thoba Mountain), Vet River and Zand River; operations in the Transvaal, including actions near Johannesburg and Diamond Hill; and operations in Orange River Colony, including actions at Wittebergen and Bothaville. For his services in South Africa he was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 4 September 1901), received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with six clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. His D.S.O. was presented to him by the King on 29 October 1901.

Leigh was promoted to Captain in April 1901, and then spent ten years in the Egyptian Army. He was with the Western column, in the operations against the Nyam Nyam tribe in the Bahr-el-Ghazal Province, and received the Orders of the Medjidieh and Osmanieh, and the Khedive’s Sudan Medal and clasp. A fine horseman and polo player, he was well known on the Cairo turf, where he more than once headed the winning list of steeplechase riders, both amateur and professional. He had hunted from his boyhood in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, and more recently with the Meath and Ward Union packs, when he was quartered with his regiment in Ireland. He also took honours in the open jumping at the horse show in Dublin.

Reverting to his parent unit, Leigh was with his battalion at Belfast during the troubled time of the riots at Harland and Wolff shipyards in 1912, and through the many succeeding troubles in Dublin from the strikes in August 1913. Following the outbreak of the Great War he proceeded to France as Officer Commanding, “D” Company, 2nd Battalion, on 15 August 1914, and took part in the Battalion’s initial action at Les Herbieres on the Mons-Conde Canal during the Retreat from Mons.

On the evening of 23 August 1914, the Battalion was positioned on the banks of the Canal at Lock 4. Next to the canal stood a small farm house that was occupied by three Belgians: a man and his wife and their daughter. That night they cooked a fine eve-of-battle dinner for the K.O.S.B. Officers. The lady of the house then invited all those present to sign their names on the tablecloth as a memento of the event. The next day battle began. Leigh himself was an early casualty, posted missing in action following a defence of the canal bridge at Lock 4. Reportedly, when last seen, though severely wounded, he ordered his men to leave him and retire across the canal, so that there should be no delay in blowing up the bridge in the face of the advancing Germans.

After having been returned as ‘missing’ for seven months, news was received in March 1915, from a returned disabled prisoner that Major Leigh had died of his wounds on 29 August 1914, shortly after his capture, and he is buried at Hautrage Military Cemetery, Belgium. He was the first of 644 Old Harrovians to fall in the War.

By way of a postscript, four years later, in November 1918, shortly before the Armistice, Major d’Ewes-Coke, a fellow K.O.S.B. Officer, who had dined with Leigh at the farmhouse back in August 1914, found himself in the same place, overlooking the canal and the lock. At first he could not recognise the house, which was mostly destroyed by four years of war. At last he found the remains of the building, and proceeded to explore. Suddenly out of a door appeared the two women who had hosted and fed the officers four years ago. Invited in, d’Ewes-Coke recounted that he had been their guest on that occasion, and recalled signing the tablecloth. As soon as he mentioned it, the women produced the treasure. Each signature had been embroidered, and at their instance, d’Ewes-Coke signed the tablecloth a second time. Today the tablecloth hangs in the Regimental Museum, and directly in the centre in the embroidered signature ‘C. Leigh’. Accompanying it in the Regimental Museum are the recipient’s two war diaries that contain his personal accounts of the Boer War, as well as photographs and drawings.

Note: Major Leigh’s Medal Index Card for the Great War ‘1914 Star returned, undelivered, 17.2.20’. It would appear that no medals for his service in the Great War were ever received by his family.
Dr David Biggins
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Boer War DSOs 5 months 3 weeks ago #82470

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Picture courtesy of Liverpool Medals

Described as:

Engraved on the edge of the 3 arms at 3, 6, 9 o’clock: “CAPT IAN MACKENZIE”
No apparent flaking or chips to white enamel.

With comprehensive research file including WW1 service papers, photo of his gravestone and numerous entries.

Boer War services:

Saw service from 31st December 1900 until 7th July 1902 when he resigned from the Scottish Horse.
Promoted to Capt 20th April 1901

Severely wounded in action at Gruisfontein on 5th February 1902 as Captain of 1st Battalion Scottish Horse.

Mentioned in Despatches 8th October 1901: Captains PN Field and Ian R Mackenzie and Lieut W Jardine, all 1st Bn, for work done by them in clearing kloofs in Megaliesberg in September.

Mentioned in Despatches again on 3rd December 1901.

DSO awarded announced in London Gazette, 26th June 1902.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 13th November 1917:
DEATH OF GALLANT OFFICER

The death of Lieut Ian Russell Mackenzie, D.S.O., from accidental injuries, is announced in a casualty list from Central Africa.
Deceased began his military career in the Natal Carabineers, and saw much servce in the famous Colonial Corps in the Boer War.

An energetic and tireless officer, Mackenzie had attained by the end of the war the rank of Captain, and had received the D.S.O.

He volunteered on the outbreak of the Rebellion, and subsequently engaged for German East Africa, whence he was invalided with fever after a year’s service. Some few months after he re-enlisted and was sent to Central Africa.

The deceased officer was born in Aberdeen, the son of the late Mr John Russell Mackenzie, a well known architect in the city.
The latter brought his family to Johannesburg in the very early days, and of his 5 sons was has claimed 3.
The youngest and surviving son, Lieut Kenneth Mackenzie, has seen active service from the outbreak of the present war in German West Africa, Egypt and Flanders where he was recently wounded.”

At the time of his death he was a Lieutenant in D Company, 2nd Cape Corps in Central Africa.

His papers note that he was wound to be Dangerously Wounded on 13th September 1917 and died of wounds the same day which was said to be “Self inflicted but unintentional”

During the Boer War he had been twice mentioned in despatches and was awarded this D.S.O. in the London Gazette on 26th June 1902:

“Ian Russell Mackenzie, Captain, Scottish Horse. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.”

After the war he also saw service in Northern Nigeria in 1906 (possibly earning an Africa General Service Medal)

Announcement of his Wound in 1902 at home in Scotland, Dundee Evening Telegraph 11th February 1902:

“CAPTAIN IAN RUSSELL MACKENZIE
Captain Ian Russell Mackenzie of the Scottish Horse, reported severely wounded, is a son of the late Mr John Russell Mackenzie, architect of Aberdeen and Johannesburg. He was mentioned in a despatch from Lord Kitchener, published in the beginning of December, for meritorious service sin clearing the kloofs of Magaliesberg. A younger brother of Captain Mackenzie is also in the Scottish horse, being on the staff of Lord Tullibardine.”

£2,560.
Sold at City Coins in December 2021 for a hammer price of R24,750. Totals: £1,525. R29,700. Au$2,680. Can$2,530. US$2,010
Dr David Biggins
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