MM (GVI) and WWII group of six to WX1822 Corporal John Torrens Snelling all medals correctly impressed. A painter from Northam, WA, he enlisted on 4 Mar 1940, as one of the 2/11th Bn reinforcements reallocated to raise the Australian 25th Brigade in the UK. An original member of ‘B’ Company, 2/31st Bn, he took part in the 2/31st Bn defence of Mersa Matruh in Apr-May 1941, then the advance into Lebanon in June. During the Battalion’s first engagement with the enemy at Khirbe, during the capture of Merdjayoun, B and D companies were caught by surprise in the open by a Vichy French fireplan, leaving many wounded men without cover. As a driver, he made numerous trips forward, initially by vehicle, then on foot, rescuing at least eight men. He was recommended for the immediate award of the DCM, but subsequently awarded an immediate MM for his extreme bravery in crossing the fire swept ground in front of the well-defended enemy position. Merdjayoun was eventually captured, for the loss of 16 killed and 34 wounded and was the first of WX2437 PTE James Heather Gordon of B Coy’s actions cited, for which he was awarded the first West Australian VC of the war. He took part in the capture of Jezzine, and was wounded in action by a shell blast during the Vichy counter-attack on 16 Jul, leaving him partially blind. He returned to Australia with the 2/31st in Jan 1942 and was transferred to the 2/1st Guard Bn, serving in New Guinea and Morotai until the end of the war. He returned to WA and was discharged in Sep 1945, worked as a painter for the WA Government Railways until retirement, and died in Como, WA, on 27 May 1991. (group swing mounted as worn, on original ribbons. Includes original portrait photo in uniform, original colour patch, and his RAS Badge)
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FIRST INTO MAFEKING
Pair: British South Africa Company Medal 1890-97, reverse undated, 1 clasp, Mashonaland 1890 (Tpr. G. Seymour. B.S.A.C.P.) & Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Relief of Mafeking, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal (570 Sjt: G. Seymour. Imp: Lt. Horse)
George Seymour attested for the British South Africa Company Police on 4 March 1890, being assigned the regimental number ‘399’. He served in “E” Troop in the Pioneer Column of 1890, and was discharged on 25 November 1891.
When war broke out again and as an experienced soldier, George found his way into the elite group under the control of Major Karri-Davies in the Imperial Light Horse. Instrumental in the relief of Ladysmith where they disabled two Boer "Long Tom" artillery guns on Gun Hill, and when challenged by a Boer picket, Major Davies bellowed the command "Fix bayonets and charge the buggers" (The Boer War, Thomas Pakenham, pg 271), It was not long after Sergeant Seymour volunteered and went on with seven others to personally relieve (break) the siege of Mafeking with a gallant charge into the town alongside their fearless leader Major Karri-Davies, thus ending the siege after 217 days. The picture above is in relation to a silver salver than was presented to all nine men for their heroics.
BSA Medal and clasp is confirmed in the roll by Colin Owen. Only 112 medals were issued to the British South Africa Company's Police for Mashonaland 1890, including 73 with this single clasp.
QSA confirmed on medal roll with only 209 medals issued with Relief of Mafeking and Relief of Ladysmith clasps.
Note: Major Karri Davies (West Australian), who was a personal friend of Cecil Rhodes, took part in the Jameson Raid. He was captured by Kruger's forces, and sentenced to imprisonment for two years. He and Major Woolls-Sampson were the last two imprisoned and refused to admit defeat. When the Boer War broke out Major Karri Davies and Major Woolls-Sampson recruited the Imperial Light Horse, 500 strong, and for this body they provided the entire equipment at their own expense. Colonel Davies went through the siege of Ladysmith, and it was during the siege that he received the severe wounds from which he never completely recovered. Karri-Davies was the first to enter Mafeking when the siege of that city was raised and it was acknowledged that he refused a VC and have his CB removed from the London Gazette as "he does not fight for medals but for his Queen". A truly amazing man.
Australian Camel Corps
FAMILY GROUPING OF FATHER (CAMEL CORPS) AND SON (CHANGI POW)
GROUP 1: FOUR: 1914/15 star, British War and Victory Medal all correctly impressed to 1393 PTE R. WILLIAMS 32/BN AIF. Death plaque correctly named to ROBERT WILLIAMS
EMB: 18th November 1915 with the 32nd Battalion.
Transferred to the Camel Corps on the 24th January 1916. Previous occupation “Jockey”
It appears Private Williams was severely injured by a “Defective Cap” which caused a “Compound Fracture of Radius…B. W. Forearm” whilst on duty with the Camel Corps on the 15th March 1916 at Assuit
He was further invalided to Australia to recover on the 24th June 1916
Admitted to 8th A.G. Hospital (Subiaco, Western Australia) 14th February 1917 “Delirium Tremens” and died a few days later. Cause of death stated as “Cerebro Spinal Meningitis”
Note: As his death was war related and as he was still serving this is a rare example of a soldier receiving a Death Plaque even though his died in Australia.
Liberated Changi POW's
GROUP 2: Four: 1939/45 Star, Pacific Star. War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939/45 all medals correctly impressed to WX16956 R. S. WILLIAMS
Robert Sydenham Williams (known as “Thirsty Bob”) enlisted 8th October 1941 and was taken on strength with the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion 30th December 1941
Sailed for Singapore 16th January 1942 and was attached to E Company 1 platoon of the Special Reserve Battalion (all Machine Gunners) under the command of Major Bert Saggers.
He was recovered at Changi Gaol Camp on the 4th September 1945. Returning to Sydney from Singapore via Darwin on the Hospital Ship Oranje, then by train to Perth to 110 Military Hospital with Berri Berri (Malnutritian).
Discharged 4th April 1946
Note: Major A. E. Saggers wrote the book “To Hell and Back” which may give further incite. Also comes with masonic medal dated 1938 to R. Williams
Both groups VF $3400
Trio: British War Medal, Victory Medal and War Medal 1939/45 first two correctly impressed to 7726 A-CPL. G. T. HETTICH 11 BN AIF. War Medal 1939/45 correctly named W237627 G. T. HETTICK
EMB: 29th June 1917 11 BN AIF
No further information is given as his WW1 record is not digitalised?
WW2 home service with in Head Quarters Western Command as a staff Sergeant
Note: As the Australian Service Medal was not issued until 1952, this could be his full issue. Further research required.
Trio: 1914/15 star, British War and Victory Medal all correctly impressed to 2848 PTE. J. WATERMAN 20/BN AIF.
EMB: 2nd November 1915
WIA: 27th July 1916 (remained on duty) France
Admitted to hospital November 1916 sickness severe
Transferred to 5th Machine Gun Coy 24th November 1917
RTA: 20th May 1919
Good VF $775
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Trio: 1914/15 star, British War and Victory Medal all correctly impressed to 2103 A-SGT (PTE on star) H. M. MILLS 22/BN AIF.
Previous service listed as “Snr Cadets 57th Bn (1 yr), inf. 6oth (1 yr), 58th Inf (2 ¼ yrs), A.I.F. (6 weeks) Colour Sgt”
EMB: 27th September 1915
Appears to go up and down in rank depending on the requirement within the unit
RTA: 24th May 1918
Note: Comes with Prayer Book and 58th Battalion Record of service book covering 1911 through to 1920 (62 pages)
Trio: 1914/15 star, British War and Victory Medal all correctly impressed to 982 PTE. S. C. SMITH 25/BN AIF.
EMB: 29th June 1915 (25th Bn A. Coy)
Taken on strength with 5 Field Company Engineers and remustered as Sapper number 4568 to re-joined unit at ANZAC (Gallipoli) on the 5th October 1915
Transferred as Driver to the F.A.B in 1916 finally ending up with the 17th Field Artillery Battery for service in France until 1919
RTA: 8th February 1919