QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill (31 Pte. H. G. Challen, CIV);
1914-15 Star (Major H. G. Challen. 12-Lond. R.) unit unofficially re-engraved;
BWM and VM (Major H. G. Challen);
Territorial Decoration, GV silver and silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1918, complete with integral to riband bar.
Howard Gartney Challen was born in Romford, Essex in July 1876. He joined the Artists Rifles on 16 February 1897 and served with their detachment in South Africa during the Boer War in the Infantry Battalion of the City Imperial Volunteers.
Challen was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 22nd Middlesex (Central London Rangers) Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1902, was promoted Captain on 28 August 1906, and on 1 April 1908 was appointed Captain in its successor unit, the 12th Battalion, County of London (The Rangers) Regiment.
On 31 August 1914, following the outbreak of the Great War, Challen was advanced Major, 12th Battalion (Kensington), London Regiment and served with them on the Western Front from 24 December 1914 until severely wounded at the Second Battle of Ypres on 8 May 1915.
The foreword to the war history of the Rangers cites the counter attack by the 1/12th at the Second Battle of Ypres as the finest ever witnessed by the commander of 85 Brigade - a regular brigade of the British Expeditionary Force to which the Rangers were Territorial Force troops attached. The account describes how Challen took command of the Battalion after the C.O. had been wounded and consequently commanded the vital counter attack which saved Ypres, being severely wounded himself in so doing.
‘24 April 1915: During the advance, the C.O., Lieut.-Colonel A. D. Bayliffe, was wounded in the leg, the command of the Battalion devolving on Major H. G. Challen.
8 May 1915: At 11.15am came the order to advance in support of the Monmouth, the right of the Brigade line having been broken by the German advance. The Battalion, now about 200 strong, led by Major Challen and Major Foucar, and D Company under Captain Jones, in support, the Machine Gun Section with only one gun left, moving independently on the left flank. The Battalion had to pass through a gap in the barbed wire in front of GHQ line on which the German machine guns were trained, and suffered heavily in its passage. The whole of the ground over which the further advance took place was heavily shelled, and in places exposed to heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, so that the Battalion rapidly dwindled. A small remnant pushed forward. Of survivors there were ultimately collected by Sergeant W. J. Hornall (every officer having been either killed, wounded or taken prisoner), 53, mainly pioneers and signallers. The determination of the attack, it is said, was such that the Germans thought it could only have been made by troops sure of speedy and strong support, not, as in fact had been the case, by practically the last remaining troops between them and Ypres, and so the enemy dug in without further advance, and thus was achieved the object for which so many gallant souls gave up their lives.’ (Historical Record of the Rangers by Captain A. V. Wheeler-Holohan and Captain G. M. G. Wyatt refers)
Challen was so badly wounded that he spent the rest of the war at a training establishment in England, serving with 3/10th, London Regiment. He was awarded his Territorial Decoration in 1919 (LG 30 May 1919).
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill (1438 Pte. R. H. Byng, CIV);
Natal 1906, (1) 1906 (Lt. H. R. Byng, Natal Rangers) engraved in running script as issued to officers
Harold Robert Byng was born at Portsea Island, Hampshire in 1874, the son of Lieutenant Arthur H. Byng, R.N. Belonging to an old Essex family, he was first cousin to Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy, and also to Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng, author and sinologist.
An engineer by profession, Byng enlisted into the Artists Rifles in 1895 and served with their City Imperial Volunteers detachment in South Africa during the Boer War with the Infantry Battalion. His later career saw him take charge of the Borneo Railways for the British North Borneo Chartered Co. before retiring to Little Easton, Essex in 1928. He died there, aged 63, in 1938.
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill (38 Pte. G. W. Kerr, CIV);
Special Constabulary Long Service Medal, GVI 1st issue (Graham W. Kerr);
Together with a silver presentation cigarette case, hallmarks for Birmingham 1899, 80mm x 90mm, the front with centrally mounted 1899 Queen’s shilling, and engraved ‘City of London Imperial Volunteers, pro cristo et patria dulce periculum, Graham W. Kerr, 11th January 1900’; the reverse engraved ‘For use in South Africa from his friends at Staines wishing him God speed.’
Graham William Kerr was born in Staines, Middlesex in 1877. A foreign exchange broker by occupation, he enlisted into the Artists Rifles on 3 November 1896 and served in South Africa during the Boer War with their City Imperial Volunteers detachment.
He was most likely the Graham William Kerr who was commissioned Second Lieutenant into the Royal Garrison Artillery, Special Reserve of Officers on 1 September 1916, and was advanced Lieutenant on 1 March 1918.
QSA (2) Cape Colony, Orange Free State (1006 Pte. W. S. Thomas. CIV);
Coronation 1902, City of London Police, bronze (P.C., W. S. Thomas.);
Coronation 1911, City of London Police (P.C., W. S. Thomas.)
Walter Sidney Thomas was born in Stepney in 1875. He enlisted into the 21st Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps (the Finsbury Rifles) on 12 November 1895 and served with their detachment in South Africa during the Boer War in the Infantry Battalion, City Imperial Volunteers. A Police Constable for the City of London Corporation by career, he attested during the Great War on 16 April 1915 for service with the Army Service Corps, (Mechanical Transport). Discharged, no longer physically fit for war service, on 22 December 1916, he was awarded a Silver War Badge. He died in Tottenham, Middlesex, in 1956.
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Civil Division, silver-gilt;
The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, silver-gilt and enamel;
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, 1st type, Military Division, silver-gilt and enamel;
Royal Victorian Order, silver-gilt and enamel;
Order of St. John of Jerusalem, silver and enamel, with heraldic beasts in angles;
Queen’s South Africa, (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal;
King’s South Africa, (2) South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902;
BWM and VM;
General Service 1918-62, (2) Palestine, Malaya;
Defence and War Medals 1939-45;
Efficiency Decoration, GVI 1st issue, Territorial, with 3 G.VI.R. Additional Award Bars;
Special Constabulary Long Service, GV 2nd issue, with Long Service 1939 and 1941 bars;
Service medal of the Order of St. John, with 2 Additional Award Bars and with silver laurel-leaf emblem on ribbon;
League of Mercy, silver-gilt and enamel, with Long Service Additional Award Bar;
Japan, Empire, Order of the Sacred Treasure, Fourth Class, silver-gilt and enamel, with rosette on riband, mounted Court-style as worn
Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, September 2002.
CB (Civil) LG 1 January 1936.
CMG LG 4 June 1921: ‘In recognition of services as Director of Military Training, New Zealand Military Forces.’
CBE (Military) LG 3 June 1919.
MVO LG 15 October 1920: ‘Director of Military Training, Wellington.’
Order of St. John, Knight of Justice LG 23 June 1931.
Sir James Lewis Sleeman was born on 7 March 1880, the grandson of Major-General Sir William Sleeman, KCB, suppressor of the Thuggee in India. He joined the 21st Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps (The Finsbury Rifles) in 1896 and served with their contingent in South Africa during the Boer War with the No. 2 Mounted Infantry Company of the City Imperial Volunteers. He was on the Staff of Lord Roberts at Bloemfontein and was severely wounded at Thaba Nehu in 1900. Commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Sussex Regiment on 24 July 1901, serving as a scout officer and a company commander, he made the last capture of prisoners in the Boer War. Promoted Captain on 2 February 1911, he served during the Great War on the Western Front, was promoted Major on 24 July 1916, and was appointed Second in Command of the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. He was on the Imperial General Staff, Director of Military Training and attaché to the Japanese Fleet on war service during 1916-18. For his services during the Great War he was twice Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the CBE in 1919.
Post-War Sleeman held the post of Chief of Staff of New Zealand Forces, 1919-21 and took part in numerous tours of inspection around the Empire; attaining the rank of Colonel in 1930 and being awarded the MVO in 1920, CMG in 1921, and CB in 1936. He was knighted in 1946 (LG 13 June 1946). An author on several works on military training and the suppression of the Thugs, he died on 4 November 1963.
DSO GV, silver-gilt and enamel, with integral top riband bar;
OBE (Civil) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge, silver-gilt;
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, top lugs removed (409 Pte. S. Chart. CIV);
BWM and VM with MID oak leaves (Lt. Col. S. Chart.);
DSO LG 26 July 1918: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. His battalion was sent up to reinforce the brigade. His dispositions were excellent, and he handled the situation with great skill and courage. He maintained his position until ordered to conform to the new situation. Never sparing himself, he set a splendid example of coolness and confidence, and greatly inspired all ranks under him.’
OBE LG 15 June 1945.
Stephen Chart was born in Mitcham, Surrey on 6 December 1878 and was educated at Whitgift School, Croydon. He enlisted into the 22nd Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps (Central London Rangers) on 8 March 1897 and served with their detachment in South Africa during the Boer War in the Infantry Battalion of the City of London Imperial Volunteers.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor, Chart was a member of the firm Chart, Son and Reading, architects and surveyors, 1904-15.
Continuing to serve as a Volunteer with the Rangers and as a Territorial with their successor the 12th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment (The Rangers) until 1912, he rejoined the regiment in 1914 with the rank of Captain, and commanded the regiment in France from 5 February 1917, being wounded in October 1918 (gun-shot wound to right leg) - he later wrote three chapters of the 12th Rangers’ regimental history. His brother Geoffrey Chart, who also served during the Boer War, remaining in Cape Town afterwards, died in 1917 from wounds received fighting with the Highlanders at Passchendaele in 1917.
For his services during the Great War, Chart was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order; was three times Mentioned in Despatches (LGs 24 December 1917; 25 May 1918; and 30 December 1918), and was promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel.
Continuing after the war as Clerk to the Urban District Council of Mitcham until 1934, Chart was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1945 for these services and his role as Air Raid Precautions Controller, Mitcham, during the Second World War.