Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 & 26 June 2008)

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Date of Auction: 25th & 26th June 2008

Sold for £2,400

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,600

A fine Great War Gallipoli operations D.S.O. group of four awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel E. C. P. Bridges, South Staffordshire Regiment, who was severely wounded while leading his battalion into action at Lala Baba in August 1915

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamels; 1914-15 Star (Major, S. Staff. R.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Lt. Col.), obverse centre of the first recessed and with traces of glue repair, otherwise good very fine (4) £1400-1600


D.S.O. London Gazette 2 February 1916.

Edward Charles Philippi Bridges, who was born in April 1870, was commissioned in the South Staffordshire Regiment in May 1890. Having then gained advancement to Captain, he served as an Adjutant in the Indian Volunteers 1902-04 and was placed on the Reserve of Officers in December 1905. Of his subsequent part in the Great War, the following statement of services was submitted by him to the War Office in December 1920:

‘In the Spring of 1914, being then a Captain on the Reserve of Officers, and hearing from my brother Lieutenant-Colonel T. Bridges, D.S.O., then Military Attache in Brussels, of the extreme probability of an immediate war with Germany, I at once sold my farm in Matthew County, Virginia, U.S.A., and returned to England. I reported myself to the War Office and was informed if wanted I should be notified. About 6 August 1914, I was instructed to report myself at the depot of my old regiment at Lichefield, and against the advice of my medical adviser, I at once did so.

In February 1915, I was appointed Brigade Machine-Gun Officer to the 33rd Brigade. In this appointment I served continuously at Cape Helles, attached to the Royal Naval Division, and, after the Brigade returned to the 11th Division, at the Suvla landing. On 10 August 1915, I was appointed to the command of the Regiment [7/South Staffordshires], vice Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. Daukes, killed in action on the 9th. I remained in command of until severely wounded in an attack on 21 August. I was evacuated to England and was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital, London, until March 1916, after which I was attached to various Staffs and to assist in training work.’

Only two officers from the 7th South Staffordshires emerged unscathed from the attack at Lala Baba in the afternoon of 21 August, the serious nature of Bridges’ wounds being summarised in the following report:

‘At Suvla Bay on 21 August 1915, he was wounded by a rifle bullet in the right arm ... At 2 a.m. on 22 August aboard a hospital ship, under anaesthetic, a tube was put in the wound. He was transferred straight to England, arriving on 9 September 1915, and was in the Royal Free Hospital ... during which time he had an anaesthetic for the evacuation of pus ... the limb is flexed at a right angle on a splint and there is great muscular wasting on both upper and forearm.’

Bridges was mentioned in General Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatch dated 11 December 1915 (London Gazette 28 January 1916 refers), and was awarded the D.S.O.

In May 1917, while serving as Commandant of the 5th Army School of Musketry at Warloy, Bridges was badly concussed when his horse bolted into some barbed wire entanglements - he was unable to pull the horse up on account of his disabled arm - and was admitted to hospital back in England. However, following a short spell of light duty on being discharged, he was found to be unfit for further military service in February 1918, ‘owing to wounds and disabilities contracted on service’, and was placed on the Reserve of Officers as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the same month.