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Unusual medal combinations that include a QSA 2 weeks 5 days ago #72863

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That is quite a group!
Dr David Biggins

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Unusual medal combinations that include a QSA 2 weeks 4 days ago #72867

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Picture courtesy of Spink

East and West Africa 1887 (1) Niger 1897 (Sub. Commdt. E. R. Robinson);
Royal Niger Company's Medal 1886 (1) Nigeria 1896-97 (Captain E. R. Robinson, 4th Royal Irish Rifles);
East and West Africa 1887 (1) Sierra Leone 1898-99 (Capt. E. R. Robinson, S. Leone F.P.C.);
QSA (5) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Capt. & Adjt. E. Rokeby-Robinson, 13/Impl. Yeo.), the dated clasps loose on riband,

Ernest Rokeby Robinson was born at Etterbeek, Belgium on 30 January 1872, a scion of the Rokeby baronetcy, which title fell into abeyance in 1895.

Appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the Duke of Connaught's Isle of Wight Artillery (Militia) in January 1890, he attended Woolwich at the year's end. Having then been advanced to Lieutenant and gained his Hythe Certificate in Musketry, he resigned his commission in April 1895, in order to take up an appointment as a Sub. Commandant in the Royal Niger Constabulary.

Niger-Soudan Expedition 1897

It was in this capacity that he was actively employed in the expedition to Egbon, via Kabba, in early January 1897; he was third in command of No. 5 Company, under Lieutenants C. E. Pereira and P. G. Rigby.

The opposition largely having been dispersed, he was next engaged in the expedition against the Foulah Kingdom of Nupe, under Major Arnold of the 3rd King's Own Hussars and with the Governor of the Niger Territories - Sir George Goldie - in attendance.

For his own part, Robinson was given command of the artillery, comprising one 12-pounder and one 9-pounder Whitworth guns, together with five 7-pounders, the whole served by three officers and 39 Hausas.

Having crossed the Niger River, the force went into action at Bida on 26-27 January 1897, when it was met by a rebel army that some sources estimated to number around 30,000 warriors, including about 1,000 mounted men.

Arnold's force, numbering around 1100 men, formed into a square, and faced relentless - courageous - charges. But the efficiency of Robinson's artillery pieces - and the Maxims - held the day. Major Arnold's despatch, dated at Egbon on 7 February 1897, takes up the story:

'At 2.30 p.m. [on 26 January 1897] the 7-pounders came up, having lost one on the road, and the remining four came into action against the flanking parties of the enemy, which now seriously threatened our rear and the guns still on their way. At the same time, two companies were sent back to assist the 9- and 12-pounders, the progress of which were so slow on account of the difficulties of the road.

By 3.30 the shells of the 7-pounders had stopped the steady stream of the enemy's horse to our flanks, and two guns were then directed upon the enemy to the front, now assembled in full force, about 30,000, of which 1,000 at least were mounted irregulars. The camp was all the time being subjected to a galling fire from the irregular marksmen, who advanced to within 100 yards of it.

At 4.00 the 9-pounder Whitworth gun arrived, and at once came onto action against the centre and right of the enemy. The execution by this gun was very great, but still the enemy held the slopes until, dusk falling, they at length retired over the crest to Bida. Lieutenant A. C. Thomson, Leicester Regiment, was killed when attempting to pass from the advanced reconnaissance to call up the 7-pounders if they had arrived. His orders were to return to the crest of the ridge to see if he could observe the guns on the farther slopes in rear of the camp already formed, but he apparently went on to the camp and was cut off by the enemy's horse and killed. His body was recovered during the retirement upon the camp.

During the night of the 26th two rounds from the 12-pounder, which arrived in camp at 8 p.m., after 14 hours on the march, were fired by compass bearing, at extreme elevation, into Bida. Rockets were fired every two hours and, although confidently expected, no attack was made by the enemy.

27th January: Scouts of the enemy showed early on the crest of the ridge, and by 8 a.m., the crest was lined by him in force. The advance was slow as the pace was that of the Whitworth guns which advanced from the rear end of the parallelogram to the front, and then halted whilst the parallelogram moved up until the rear face touched the guns.

Strict orders as to reserving volleys for short ranges only had been issued, and the fire of the enemy was not replied to until the crest of the ridge was reached and the main body of the enemy - 20,000 - became visible on the sloped towards Bida. Here a halt of half an hour was made, the guns being brought into action whilst the enemy, who had now completely surrounded us, were held-off by well-directed Maxim and rifle fire.

The fire of the guns was concentrated upon the masses of the enemy on the slopes towards Bida, which by 9.30 were scattered in all directions. A further advance, still in the face of the enemy all around us, was then made half-right to the position selected during the reconnaissance of yesterday, and the bombardment of Bida was at once commenced, at 10.30, from an excellent artillery position, 600 yards from the walls.

By noon the enemy was in retreat and a company was sent forward to fire the outskirts of the town. The bombardment continued during the afternoon, and at 4.00 p.m. four companies were sent forward to fire the southern edge and drive the enemy out. The flying enemy came under fire from the 12-pounder, as they fled the town on the north side and suffered heavy losses from the extreme range of fire … '

Enemy casualties amounted to 600 killed and around 1,000 wounded, versus British losses of eight killed and nine wounded; one of the latter was the aforementioned Lieutenant A. C. Thomson of the Leicestershire Regiment, who, on making his way to some of Robinson's guns, was surrounded and beheaded.

Soon after the action at Bida, Major Arnold was ordered to mount another punitive expedition, this time against the Emir of Ilorin. The ensuing journey comprised transportation by river in the Company's stern-wheelers and land marches.

On reaching the Emir's capital on 15 February 1897, the force met an enemy army estimated at 5,000 warriors, with 800 horsemen. Once again forming a square - and once again with the Maxims and Robinson's artillery to the fore - the enemy force was dispersed with heavy loss; one British officer and four Hausas were wounded, the former being hit by a 'slug' in the mouth.

In his concluding despatch, Major Arnold noted:

'The Artillery was transported entirely by hand, the 7-pounders being carried on men's heads throughout the Kabba and Ilorin marches. Through the Bida march all the guns were dragged by manual labour. Sixty men were required to haul the 9-pouder Whitworth gun and 80 men the 12-pounder Whitworth … '

Robinson was awarded the East & West Africa Medal & clasp, in addition to the Royal Niger Company's Medal in silver, for his part in the Iddah-Keffi Expedition.

Sierra Leone Expedition 1898-99

In September 1898, Robinson was appointed a Captain in the 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and, at the year's end, he was seconded to the Sierra Leone Frontier Police as Adjutant.

And it was in this capacity that he quickly witnessed further active service in what became known as the 'Hut Tax War', waged against the Timini and Mendi tribes. It was during the course of these operations that he was relieved of his Adjutancy and appointed District Commissioner of Falaba.

Falaba was at the centre of the uprising and Robinson found himself in a difficult position. But he received a favourable early report from his senior, Captain S. Moore, his conduct being described as 'very satisfactory'. However, as verified by a subsequent submission made by Robinson, he appears to have been dismissed from his post without an opportunity to explain his side of the story, versus evidence taken against him not under oath.

The exact circumstances of his misdemeanours remain a matter of debate but by his own confession he opened fire with his revolver 'to frighten deserting carriers' from looting a town under his jurisdiction.

Whatever the truth, he was entitled to a second clasp to his East & West Africa Medal, but was in fact issued with a second Medal.

Boer War

In February 1900, following the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa, Robinson was appointed Captain & Adjutant of the 13th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry. The unit comprised four companies, including the 45th (Irish Hunt) and 47th (Lord Donoughmore's), the latter being nicknamed 'The Millionaires Own' on account of its ranks of titled gentry and old Etonians.

With rare exception, none had witnessed any form of active service, a shortcoming aggravated by poor staff work. It was just such failings that led to the disastrous action at Lindley on 31 May 1900, when the 13th Battalion was overwhelmed by accurate Boer Artillery. A Corporal of the 47th Company raised a white flag in surrender and Colonel Spragge, commanding, felt duty bound to stand by that action.

The Battalion's casualties amounted to seven officers and 73 men, of whom 25 were killed; the afore-mentioned Corporal was among them, having been shot down by his enraged comrades.

The prisoners were marched to Nooitgedacht from whence, at length, the officers - including Robinson - were taken to Barberton; they were released on 13 September 1900.

He subsequently served as a Staff Captain and D.A.A.G. for the Imperial Yeomanry in the Transvaal (Medal & 5 clasps).
Dr David Biggins
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Unusual medal combinations that include a QSA 1 week 1 day ago #73304

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Picture courtesy of City Coins

QSA (3) CC, OFS, Tvl (Sir A. Milner. G.C.B., G.C.M.G. High Commissioner.);
Jubilee 1897;
United States of America, Distinguished Service Medal (Army), bronze and enamel, the rim officially numbered ‘672’

When the group was sold at Spink's Boer War Centenary Sale (Oct 1899) it was noted that “No figure looms larger over the Boer War than Alfred George Milner, the 1st Viscount Milner of St. James's London and Cape Town, KG, GCB, GCMG. His extraordinary career embodies the origins of the struggle, the course of the War itself, including being one of two British signatories to the Peace Treaty, and the reconstruction of South Africa after peace through to the creation of the Union in 1910”.

After the War Milner went to great lengths in his efforts to also be issued with a KSA. King Edward expressed the opinion that he could have a no clasp KSA "if by any means he could be brought within the conditions which govern its award", but the Army Council decided in 1906 that "having regard to the stringency of the conditions" he was not entitled to receive it.

He was appointed Secretary of State for War in April 1918 and presided over the Army Council for the remainder of WWI. After the "Khaki Election" (Dec 1918) he was appointed Colonial Secretary, in which capacity he attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He was one of the signatories of the Treaty of Versailles.

The American award was, inter alia, for the part played by Milner at Versailles: this time he successfully pulled strings to get it. In the Churchill Papers at Cambridge there is a letter (dated 30 April 1919) from Lord Milner to Lord Stamfordham asking him to get the King to agree to Milner's acceptance of the United States Distinguished Service Medal despite the Foreign Office regulation that Ministers of the Crown cannot accept foreign decorations. Milner argued that military co-operation with the United States during the war was an exceptional case. The letter had the desired effect and he could add a third medal to the pair he already had.
Dr David Biggins
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Unusual medal combinations that include a QSA 2 days 13 hours ago #73521

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The DSO DCM group sold this morning at DNW for a hammer price of £26,000. Totals (inc VAT on the commission for the UK only): £33,488. R660,900. Au$58,400. Can$55,800. US$43,200
Dr David Biggins
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