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Medals to the Berkshire Regiment 3 years 4 weeks ago #60182

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DSO GV
MC GV
QSA (2) CC 02 (Lieut. C. F. de S. Murphy, R. Berks: Rgt:);
1914 Star (Capt. C. F. de S. Murphy., R.B.R. Attd: R.F.C.);
BWM & VM with MID (Lt.Col. C. F. de S. Murphy. R.F.C.);
Belgium, Kingdom, Order of the Crown, Officer’s breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, with rosette on riband,

DSO London Gazette 1 January 1917. MC London Gazette 3 June 1916. Belgian Order of the Crown, 4th Class London Gazette 24 September 1917.

Cyril Francis de Sales Murphy was born in Cork on 17 May 1882 and was educated at Beaumont College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment on 18 January 1902, and served with the Regiment during the Boer War in the Cape Colony from April to 31 May 1902. He was promoted Lieutenant on 1 July 1904, and Captain on 3 June 1911, and was a member of the Army Gymnastic Staff from 1910 to 1913.

A pioneering flyer, Murphy obtained his Aviator’s Certificate, No. 599, at Bristol School, Salisbury Plain, on 20 August 1913, and was appointed a Flying Officer in the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) on 30 June 1914. He served on attachment to the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War on the Western Front from 9 September 1914, and served throughout the War on the Western Front at Ypres, Messines and on the Somme. Having been promoted Wing Commander (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) on 12 April 1916, in July of that year he was appointed to the Command of 13th (Army) Wing, comprising Nos. 11 and 23 Squadrons, and in April 1917 proceeded to the Command of 2nd (Corps) Wing, comprising Nos. 6, 21, 42, 46 and 53 Squadrons. He was appointed a Brigade Commander on 6 March 1918, and was promoted Temporary Brigadier-General on 25 March of that year. For his services during the Great War he was twice Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 22 June 1915 and 4 January 1917), was awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order, and was created an Officer of the Belgian Order of the Crown. After the War he briefly commanded R.A.F. station Northolt, before resigning his commission on 17 September 1919, being granted the honorary rank of Brigadier-General.

Brigadier-General Murphy attested for the Cambridge Special Constabulary on 7 May 1926, and served as a Special Constable during the General Strike (5-12 May 1926). During the Second World War he was employed at the Air Ministry from 1939 to 1944. He died at Banaghan, Co. Offaly, Ireland, on 7 January 1961.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Berkshire Regiment 10 months 5 days ago #72928

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From the next City Coins auction, November 2020

QSA (3) CC, OFS, Tvl (4796 Pte. M. Loveridge. 2nd Rl. Berks. Regt.);
KSA (2) (4796 Pte. M. Loveridge. Rl. Berks. Regt._

The QSA has been re-suspendered with the clasp set added to the suspender.
Both medals with edge bruising.

“The attack [on 1 January] was carried out in every detail as ordered. The four companies of the Berkshire Regiment rushed the hill most gallantly, driving off a strong picquet of the enemy, who retired in great disorder and with loud shouts.

They were completely surprised.

The hill to the east of this, immediately overlooking Colesberg town, was strongly occupied by the enemy, and a hot fire was for some minutes poured on the column in the darkness. The Berkshire Regiment commenced their assault at 3.45am, and the dawn of day found our troops in possession of this important outwork of Colesberg.”

Lt Gen French’s Despatch. (LG 4 May 1900, p2839).

Pte Loveridge was wounded in the Berkshire’s early morning attack. According to the QSA roll (signed in August 1901) he was invalided to England, but, seeing that he qualified for a 2 clasp KSA, he must have returned for duty in South Africa before the end of 1901.
Dr David Biggins

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Medals to the Berkshire Regiment 6 months 4 days ago #75444

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QSA (1) Cape Colony (4164 Pte. C. Jones, 2nd Rl: Berks: Regt.)

Private C. Jones was mortally wounded at Colesberg on 1 January 1900, and died two days later. He was the father of Frederick G. Jones, who served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment in France from 23 February 1915, and later transferred to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Three to Private F. G. Jones, Royal Berkshire Regiment, later Royal Army Ordnance Corps
1914-15 Star (16578 Pte. F. G. Jones. R. Berks: R.);
British War and Victory Medals (16578 Pte. F. G. Jones. R. Berks. R.)
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Berkshire Regiment 5 months 1 week ago #75924

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CMG b/b;
DSO GV;
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Lieut: G. P. S. Hunt. Rl: Berks: Regt);
KSA (2) (Lt. G. P. S. Hunt. Rl. Berk. Rgt.);
1914 Star, with clasp (Capt: G. P. S. Hunt. R. Berks: R.);
British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Brig. Gen. G. P. S. Hunt.);
Great War Bronze Memorial Plaque (Gerald Ponsonby Sneyd Hunt)

CMG London Gazette 14 January 1916.

DSO London Gazette 18 February 1918:

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He established and organised the line after an attack by siting a series of posts on commanding ground. During an enemy attack he held his position against repeated thrusts by the enemy, although his right flank was exposed, and when touch was lost with the brigade on his right he re-established communication. He showed splendid leadership and courage.'

MID London Gazette 30 November 1915, 1 January 1916, 7 April 1918 and 8 November 1918 (posthumous). The last recommendation, originally for the Victoria Cross states:

'For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near Manancourt on March 23rd 1918. During intense hostile rifle fire and machine gun fire he personally supervised the work of placing his own men and those of other units to the best advantage. He showed at all times a clear appreciation of very difficult situations, and when other troops had fallen back, realising that it was of the utmost importance to hold on in order to gain valuable time, by his own magnificent example in the front line, he inspired all ranks to further efforts. He refused to spare himself, though frequently begged to do so by his subordinates, and continued to patrol and organise his line up to the moment of his death. He showed an utter disregard for his own personal safety throughout the day, and all his efforts were directed towards restoring a very critical situation. He held up the enemy for two hours when his flanks were exposed, and then succeeded in withdrawing his men from a position which had no longer become tenable.'

Gerald Ponsonby Sneyd Hunt was born on 24 July 1877, was educated at Harrow and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment on 8 September 1897. Having seen active service in the Boer War, including being commandant at Wildfontein (Queen's Medal & 3 clasps, King's Medal & 2 clasps), he was promoted Captain on 11 February 1905, whilst with the 2nd Battalion in Egypt. He was then posted to the depot at Reading, returned to his Battalion in India, and was at Jhansi when mobilization was ordered.

Hunt served with the 1st Battalion in France from 6 November 1914 and was clearly in the thick of the action, for his was wounded early in 1915. Hunt was soonafter given command of his old Battalion when Lieutenant-Colonel H. M. Finch was killed at the Battle of Fromelles on 9 May 1915. Promoted Temporary Major on the 17 June 1915. He was with his battalion in the severe fighting at Bois Grenier on 25 September, at the time of the Battle of Loos. The Official History gives further detail of the attack:

'The attack by the III Corps (Lieut-General Sir W P Pulteney) on the left of the Indian Corps, was carried out at 4.30am, by the 8th Division (Major-General H Hudson) without gas, but with smoke to cover the flanks, from the neighbourhood of Bois Grenier (south of Armentières), which gives its name to the action. It was preceded by a bombardment on the previous day and five minutes short, sharp fire.

The general idea of the operation was to push through towards Fournes and eventually affect a junction with the Indian Corps on Aubers Ridge. Three battalions of the 25th Brigade (Br-General R B Stephens), the 2/Rifle Brigade (Lieut-Colonel F H Nugent), 2/R Berkshire (Lieut-Colonel G P S Hunt), and 2/Lincolnshire (Lieut-Colonel S Fitz G Cox) assaulted the German position on a frontage of 1,200 yards, between Corner Fort and Bridoux Fort, two works in the German front line. The attack started promisingly. The front trench, including both Corner and Bridoux Forts, was carried in the first rush, and 3 officers and 120 men of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment were taken prisoner. The Lincolnshire, on the left, pressed on and took a considerable length of the support trench. At one part only, a front of three hundred yards at the junction of the lines of the Rifle Brigade and the Berkshire, was the attack held up, machine guns in Angle Point, a small work in the front line, repulsing all assaults. After the first rush the Germans on the flanks and in Angle Point maintained a continuous fire on No Man’s Land, so that reinforcements with ammunition were unable to cross it. At 1pm a determined counter-attack drove back the Lincolnshire on to Bridoux Fort, and shortly afterwards German bombers forced them back from the captured front trench, the survivors, together with two companies of the 1/R Irish Rifles (Lieut-Colonel R A C Daunt), which had come up in support, withdrawing along the dykes to their original starting trenches. By 2pm the position of the Berkshire, now hard-pressed on both flanks, both from Bridoux Fort and Angle Point, also became untenable, and Colonel Hunt ordered them to withdraw to their original trenches. At Corner Fort the right of the Rifle Brigade continued to hold on and beat off several counter-attacks, two trench mortars brought up into the work assisting greatly in keeping off the German bombers. It was felt, however, that the retention of this isolated position would not be worth the losses it would entail, and at 3.30pm the defenders were ordered to withdraw, the movement being skilfully carried out with little loss. Advantage had been taken during the attack to dig a new trench, which was completed during the night, across the re-entrant in the British line at this point, thereby reducing the frontage considerably and cutting out a weak point in the sector.'

The attack had cost the Berkshire's 7 Officers killed and 5 wounded, with 32 ORs killed, 216 wounded and a further 143 missing in action.

In December 1915 Hunt was appointed to Command a Territorial Infantry Brigade and thus made a Temporary Brigadier-General. He went back to England in order to go up to Buckingham Palace for the investiture of his C.M.G. on 8 March 1916. His appointment as Brigadier-General was as GOC 173 Brigade, 58th
Division. The Brigade was formed in 1915 and first went to France in January 1917. Hunt was replaced as GOC on 20 April 1917 by Bernard Freyburg, fresh from winning his V.C. and later Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg, VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO & Three Bars.

Never far from the action, he took the demotion in the right spirit and forged ahead, assuming command of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berkshires on 3 May 1917 ( etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6503/1/Harvey16PhD.pdf , ‘An Army of Brigadiers’ - British Brigade Commanders at the Battle of Arras 1917 T. G. Harvey, refers. His Battalion would be heavily engaged at Cambrai from 26 November-4 December. That command would thence last for 310 straight days in the field, only being cut short by his gallant death on 23 March 1918, two days into the German Spring Offensive of 1918. Their War Diary (TNA WO95/1371 refers) gives its own abridged account:

'They had scarcely got into position when the enemy came in sight and a rearguard action commenced and we withdrew in stages via the cemetery at ETRICOURT (where Capt. P.L. MOUSELEY was wounded), LICHELLE WOOD (where the Commanding Officer Lt. Col. G.P. Hunt, CMG, DSO was killed while gallantly rallying all troops within reach).'

The actions of Hunt in the hours prior to his death are best recalled in the aforementioned recommendation, with his comrades of the view that the actions deserved the award of the Victoria Cross. A letter from the Lieutenant-Colonel who assumed command to a fellow Officer on 10 April 1918 states:

'Dear Pope, Clayton has asked me to write and let you know details of Colonel Hunt's death. I have not writted to Mrs Hunt on the subject yet personally, as I have put him in for a V.C. and I want to find out what they are going to do with the application before giving details. The fact reamins that he died a most magnificent death, I was with his Companies in the Front Line to the very last. He was shot through the head by a bullet and died instantaneously. Throughout those two very trying days, when we were constantly retiring from position to position, he was always in front organising the defence and inspiring all ranks to further efforts. He was constantly ordered to go to Battn HQ but always refused to do so. He managed to hold the Boches up for two hours in one position - entirely on his own initiative - because nearly all his Officers were gone and the Regiment was out of reach with the Brigade. I sincerely hope they will give him his V.C., I feel certain that no greater acts of heroism were ever performed than those performed by him on those two days. We all mourn his loss a a really great Commanding Officer.'

The recommendation was downgraded to a posthumous 'mention' by the Field-Marshal, with Hunt being buried in the Varennes Military Cemetery, aged 40.

Sold for a hammer price of £7,000. Totals (inc VAT on the commission for the UK only): £8,680. R168,800. Au$15,200. Can$14,530. US$11,590
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Berkshire Regiment 2 months 3 weeks ago #77168

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Queen’s South Africa 1899-1901, (2) Cape Colony, Orange Free State (6941 Pte R. Hawthorn. Rl: Berks: Regt.);
Territorial Efficiency Medal, GV (394 L. Cpl. R. J. Hawthorn. Bucks: Bn: Oxf: & Bucks: L.I.)

W. J. Hawthorn was awarded his Territorial Force Efficiency Medal on 1 July 1912.
Dr David Biggins
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