Orders, Decorations and Medals (19 & 20 March 2008)

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £620

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Second World War D-Day operations M.M. group of five awarded to Private R. J. Brennan, 7th Parachute Battalion, Army Air Corps, who landed behind enemy lines on the night of 6 June 1944

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (4462955 Pte. R. J. Brennan, A.A.C.), an official replacement with attempted erasure of the ‘R.’; 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals, together with a Parachute Regiment badge, good very fine or better (6) £600-800

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 31 August 1944. The original recommendation states:

‘Private Brennan was one of the parachute troops who landed behind the German lines on 6 June 1944. His battalion was in continual action for 21 hours. Throughout this time, Private Brennan’s courage and cheerfulness were an inspiration to his comrades and made an important contribution to the success of this unit.’

Ronald James Brennan, a native of Darlington, is listed among those members of his battalion who were wounded in the period leading up to 5 August 1944 (W.O. 171/1239 refers).

The 5th Parachute Brigade, a glider-borne force which included the 7th Parachute Battalion, was charged with seizing the crossings over the River Orne and the canal at Benouville and Ranville, in addition to clearing landing zones north of Ranville for the arrival of reinforcements later on D-Day. Famously, of course, the capture of the former objective was carried out by six platoons of the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment, commanded by Major R. J. Howard, but it should be added that it was the 7th Parachute Battalion who arrived on the scene a little later, in order to help secure the area.

Of the fate of Brennan’s original M.M., and his replacement award, the following extract from a Northern Ireland Branch S.S.A.F.A. newsletter is not without interest:

‘At a simple ceremony in the Northern Ireland War memorial Building on Thursday, 8 January 1987, Mr. Ronald I. Brennan, M.M., was re-presented with the decoration awarded to him for gallantry in Normandy in 1944 ... an Englishman who has been living in Northern Ireland for some years, he served in the 7th (Light Infantry) Battalion, the Parachure Regiment in North-West Europe 1944-45. The original medal was presented by the then General Montgomery at an investiture in the field in 1944 ... After the War, during the course of his travels as an entertainer, Mr. Brennan lost his Military Medal, and it was not until S.S.A.F.A. came to his assistance on another matter, that Mrs. Grace Herbert, the Secretary for Northern Ireland District, heard the story and applied to the Army Medal Office for a replacement.’