Orders, Decorations and Medals (29 March 2000)

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Date of Auction: 29th March 2000

Sold for £900

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

An exceptional Great War ‘Palestine’ D.C.M., ‘Western Front’ M.M. pair awarded to Sergeant T. Hyde, Royal Munster Fusiliers, who later died of wounds

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (6-986 A. Sjt., R. Muns. Fus.) last three digits of regimental number officially corrected; Military Medal, G.V.R. (986 Sjt., 2/R. Muns. Fus.) nearly extremely fine (2) £800-1000

Footnote

D.C.M. London Gazette 1 May 1918. ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was in command of a patrol of one platoon which was fired on by the enemy at short range. He at once led his men to the attack and captured an officer and eleven other prisoners, engaged the enemy, inflicting heavy casualties on them, and then withdrew his party, bringing back two of his men who had been wounded. He set a magnificent example of courage and initiative.’

M.M. London Gazette 5 December 1918.

Sergeant Thomas Hyde was born at St Mary’s, Cardiff and lived at Canton, Cardiff. He died of wounds France and Flanders 27 October 1918 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers.

The following is extracted from the book Chindwin to Criccieth, by Charles Drage. ‘In the late afternoon we came up to a position known (for obvious reasons) as ‘Machine-Gun Hill’ and it looked like being a tough nut to crack. Our two Dublin battalions ahead of us were pinned to the ground by the heaviest fire I’d ever met. It was clear that a full dress attack would have to be mounted on the morrow and so I sent Captain Keevil forward with Lieutenant O’Keefe and two platoons of ‘D’ Company to reconnoitre the ground as far as possible before dark.

We managed to keep down the Turkish fire directly in front of us while Keevil was crossing the open and then they vanished among the rocks and hillocks. Almost at once there was a volley of shots. I could distinguish two Lewis-guns firing hard and here some shouts. ‘Poor devils,’ I thought, ‘that‘s the end of that. I’ve lost a lot of good men just when I’ll be needing them.’

Then back trailed an amazing procession, at least it amazed me because the first four figures wore fur coats and because Keevil’s command seemed to have nearly doubled its strength. They reached our line safely and told their tale. Just as we lost sight of them, they’d bumped up against a strong-point well out in front of the main Turkish position and promptly rushed it. Accounts of hand to hand fighting are bound to be a bit confused, but Sergeants Hyde and Thomas had done extra good work, while Private O’Connor had charged the nearest machine-gun and bayonetted the two Turks behind it. They‘d come back with 4 Turkish officers and 19 other ranks, Private O’Connor’s machine-gun and both our own casualties, one wounded and one dead.

......Before dawn next day we moved up to ‘Dublin Corner’ ready for the attack and feeling in fine form.....At ten o’clock that same Sergeant Hyde, in charge of No.13 Platoon, attacked an enemy party, taking prisoner one officer and eleven other ranks at a cost of two men wounded and sent the whole lot back with an escort of one solitary private. He held on to his ground, beat off a counter-attack and then withdrew in good order.’

The Royal Munster Fusiliers received a total of 63 D.C.M.’s during the Great War.