Orders, Decorations and Medals (21 September 2007)

Date of Auction: 21st September 2007

Sold for £4,500

Estimate: £2,500 - £3,000

An exceptional Great War M.C., Boer War D.C.M. group of nine awarded to Warrant Officer Class 1 A. F. Watts, Royal Artillery, who was awarded the M.S.M. in 1953, aged 70 years

Military Cross
, G.V.R..; Distinguished Conduct Medal, E.VII.R. (87933 Sjt. A. F. Watts, 68th(sic) Bty. R.F.A.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (87933 Sgt. A. F. Watts, 88th Bty. R.F.A.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (87933 Serjt., R.F.A.); 1914 Star, with clasp (87933 R.S. Mjr., R.F.A.); British War and Victory Medals (87933 W.O. Cl. 1, R.A.); Army L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (87933 B.S. Mjr., R.F.A.); Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.VI.R., 2nd issue (87933 W.O. Cl. 1, R.A.), this last with officially corrected surname, somewhat polished, thus nearly very fine or better (9) £2500-3000

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 14 January 1916.

D.C.M. London Gazette 27 September 1901.

Arthur Frank Watts was born in November 1873 and enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery at Birmingham in December 1891. Appointed an Acting Bombardier in May 1893, he passed the Rough Riders course at Woolwich and was advanced Corporal in 1896 and to Sergeant in August 1898.

Subsequently awarded the D.C.M. for his services in South Africa in 88th Battery, R.F.A. (AO 15 of 1902), where he served from January 1900 until his return home in October 1902, following two months in hospital at De Aar with ‘fever in ague’, he was advanced to Battery Sergeant-Major in April 1903 and awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in AO 73 of 1910.

Watts was embarked for France as Regimental Sergeant-Major in XXVII Brigade, R.F.A. (comprising 119, 120 and 121 Batteries, and 37 Howitzer Battery) on 17 August 1914, and would therefore have witnessed the famous action fought by his unit’s guns near Elouges on the 24th (a.k.a. “Shrapnel Monday”). The C.O. of 119 Battery, Major E. W. Alexander, was awarded the V.C., so, too, Captain F. O. Grenfell, 9th Lancers, who, having emerged from the regiment’s charge at nearby Audregnies, assisted in the evacuation of 119’s guns. For his own part, Watts was gazetted for the M.C. in January 1916, and returned to the U.K. in December of the same year.

Re-deployed to the Italian front in April 1918, he was finallly discharged on his return to the U.K. in the following year, but went on to receive the M.S.M. in 1953, when aged 70 years (AO 98 of that year refers), a distinction which is believed to be one of just five such awards granted to ex-Boer War D.C.M/Great War M.C. recipients; see The Annuity Meritorious Service Medal 1847-1953, by Ian McInnes, for further biographical information.