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Medals to the Royal Artillery 1 year 4 months ago #88955

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QSA (5) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Laing’s Nek, Belfast (6734 Gnr. A. Hunt. 16th S.D., R.G.A.);
KSA (2) (6734 Gnr: A. Hunt. R.G.A.);
BWM and VM (127811 Pte. A. Hunt. Labour Corps.)
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 1 year 4 months ago #88957

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QSA (3) Natal, Transvaal, Orange Free State (33527 Gnr: G. Querie, 10th E.D., R.G.A.) last clasp attached with wire;
KSA (2) (33527 Gnr: G. Queree. R.G.A.)
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 1 year 4 months ago #88958

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QSA (4) Cape Colony, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen (10295 Gnr: C. W. Smith, 36th S.D., R.G.A.);
KSA (2) (10295 Gnr: C. W. Smith. R.G.A.);
1914-15 Star (3022, Bmbr: C. W. Smith. R.G.A.);
BWM and VM (3022 Gnr. C. W. Smith. R.A.).

Together with two related L.C.C. school attendance bronze medals both named (M. Smith)
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 1 year 4 months ago #88959

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QSA (4) Natal, Transvaal, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901 (28324 Gnr: W. J. Wotton, 10th Coy. W.D., R.G.A.) some unofficial rivets;
BWM and VM (69689 Gnr. W. J. Wotton. R.A.)
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 1 year 4 months ago #89017

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Most of the many QSAs to the RA sold at DNW yesterday. Many of the individual QSAs sold for sub £100 and the pair to Colonel Priestley made a hammer price of £220.
Dr David Biggins

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Medals to the Royal Artillery 1 year 4 months ago #89019

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Egypt, dated reverse (1) Tel-El-Kebir (Lieut: W. H. O’Neill. F/1. B.. R.A.);
AGS 1902 (1) N. Nigeria (Major W. H. O’Neill, R.F.A.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Lieut: Col: W. H. O’Neill, 62/Bty., R.F.A.);
Khedive’s Star, dated 1882, unnamed as issue

William Heremon O’Neill was ‘born in Auckland and was the fourth son of the late Hon. James O’Neill, who was a member of the old Auckland Provincial Council, and later sat in the first Parliament of New Zealand as a member for Auckland City in 1854-55, and member for the northern division of Auckland from 1861 to 1868.’ (New Zealand Herald, 9 June 1925 refers)

O’Neill was commissioned into the Royal Artillery, and a letter he wrote to a relation in Lincoln was published in the Lincolnshire Chronicle, 22 September 1882, and gives the following:

‘Ismailia, Sept. 8, 1882 - We start for Kassassin tomorrow, and expect to attack Tel-El-Kebir on Tuesday or Wednesday. After Tel-El-Kebir is taken we go on to Cairo in all probability. I hope Arabi won’t sack Cairo before we arrive. This climate is not half bad, although they tell me it is a good deal worse at the front; however, it agrees with me very well, and I am not likely to knock under. The ammunition, too, is always put in a safe place, so it is a sort of picnic with me. I regret to say that our horses are dying by the dozen. Ismailia is filled with representatives of every nation under the sun. The natives are coming back by degrees; they all bolted when we took the place. I have lots to do, as one of my two junior subalterns is seedy.’

O’Neill was promoted captain in 1885, and advanced to major in October 1893. He was seconded for service with the West African Field Force in September 1899. O’Neill was placed in command of a force for operations against the forces of Bida and Kontagora (North Nigeria), July - December 1900:

‘In July, Lugard [Sir Frederick, High Commissioner] received information that the Sarkin Sudan Emir of Kontagora, and the Etsu Nupe, Emir of Bida, were planning to massacre the small garrison that he had left at Wushishi, the site of his projected new capital of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate. The bulk of the West African Frontier Force was away on active service in Ashanti, but Lugard in person at once hurried up to Wushishi from Jebba, bringing reinforcements under Major O’Neill, Royal Artillery.

The situation was indeed serious. The village heads of Wushishi had been assassinated and the West African Frontier Force soldiers were being attacked virtually on the threshold of their camp. Ngwamachi, the notorious Emir of Kontagora, and the Emir of Bida, had sent messengers to Ilorin, urging the Emir to join in a rising and expel the white man whose troops, it was rumoured, had been exterminated in Ashanti.

O’Neill, with Lieutenant [H. A. ‘Bertie’] Porter [whose medals were offered for sale in these rooms as part of the A. A. Upfill-Brown Collection in December 1991] as his second-in-command, patrolled the countryside for some 20 miles round Wushishi, keeping the Nupe and Kontagora cavalry at their distance by a series of masterly skirmishes. A number of small military forts, such as those at Wushishi, Wuya and Maraba, were erected as soon as the rains ceased. In November O’Neill’s force defeated a band of Kontagora levies at Dabb in Egbake district, north of Kutigi, and, crossing the Kaduna, they routed the Bida horsemen. With immense gallantry O’Neill entered Bida town, accompanied by a mere handful of troopers, on December 19th, and endeavoured to kidnap the Emir. Badly wounded, O’Neill escaped only by the greatest of luck.’ (The Second Battle of Bida article by A. H. M. Kirke-Greene refers)

Lugard’s despatch for the operations, praises both the gallantry of O’Neill and Porter but stresses that the former had exceeded his orders and was fortunate to escape with his life:

‘On the 19th December Sergeant H. Edwards defeated with heavy loss a force estimated at 100 horse and 700 foot. On the 15th and 16th Major W. H. O’Neill, Royal Artillery, and Lieutenant H. A. Porter, 19th Hussars attacked and defeated the Bida raiders, who are said to have lost 50 killed at least. On the night of the 17th he marched on the hostile forces again and surprised them at dawn. He estimated the enemy at 500 horse and 1,000 foot, and states that they suffered at least 200 casualties. His own force consisted of himself, Lieutenant Porter, Sergeant Edwards, eight mounted and fifty dismounted men. Again on December 18th he advanced towards Bida with Lieutenant Porter and 13 mounted and 25 dismounted men, driving parties of enemy before him. These he pursued up to the walls of Bida and actually entered the town with his handful of men and endeavoured to seize the Emir with his own hand. In a desperate hand to hand encounter he was badly wounded, but the opportune arrival of some of his men [under Porter, for which he was promoted.] enabled him to put the Fulanis to flight and to effect a retirement, during which his party was much harassed. The other casualties, besides Major O’Neill himself, being one man severely and two slightly wounded. Major O’Neill had received distinct and positive orders not to approach too close to Bida, still less to enter it, and I consider that a grave disaster was only averted partly by good fortune and partly by the resource and ability shown by Lieutenant Porter.... There is no doubt that this most adventurous exploit created an immense impression on the people of Bida.’

In 1902 O’Neill was appointed to the ‘command of the 18th Imperial Yeomanry at Ficksburg, Orange River Colony, at present with Col. Ternan’s column. The men do not belong to any particular county, but are picked men and called “Sharp Shooters.” (Lincolnshire Chronicle, 7 March 1902 refers). He subsequently retired, and died as a result of an accident whilst staying at the Mansion House, Kawau Island, in June 1925:

‘When war broke out in 1914 he went Home and offered his services to the Imperial Army, being accepted for home service. In recent years he has resided at Tauranga and Devenport.’ (Obituary refers)

Colonel O’Neill is buried in O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, Auckland.

Sold for a hammer price of GBP 3,000. Totals: GBP 3,864. R 82,710. AUD 6,770. NZD 7,300. CAD 6,180. USD 4,490. EUR 4,240.
Dr David Biggins
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