The Allan and Janet Woodliffe Collection of Medals Relating to the Reconquest and Pacification of the Sudan (18 May 2011)

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Date of Auction: 18th May 2011

Sold for £3,500

Estimate: £3,000 - £3,500

The Boer War D.S.O. group of five awarded to Captain Chandos Leigh, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, who took part in the Nyam Nyam expedition and died of wounds at Mons on 23 August 1914

Distinguished Service Order, V.R., silver-gilt and enamels; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 6 clasps, Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen, South Africa 1901 (Capt. C. Leigh. D.S.O., K.O. Sco: Bord:) last clasp a contemporary tailor’s copy; Order of Osmania, 4th Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamels; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 1 clasp, Nyam-Nyam, unnamed; Order of the Medjidie, 3rd Class neck badge, silver, gold and enamel, the last with enamel damage to crescent suspension, otherwise good very fine (5) £3000-3500

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 27 September 1901: ‘In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa’.

M.I.D. London Gazette 4 September 1901.

Order of the Medijidiie, 3rd Class London Gazette 2 July 1912.

Order of Osmanieh London Gazette 9 December 1910.

Chandos Leigh was born on 29 August 1873, son of the Hon. Sir E. Chandos Leigh, K.C.B., K.C., and of Lady Leigh. He was educated at Harrow and Cambridge, and joined the King's Own Scottish Borderers from the Warwickshire Militia on 29 May 1895, becoming Lieutenant in September 1897. He served in the South African War 1900-2, employed with Mounted Infantry, and took part in the Relief of Kimberley; operations in Orange Free State, 1900, including operations at Paardeberg; actions at Poplar Grove, Houtnek (Thoba Mountain), Vet River and Zand River; operations in the Transvaal in May and June, 1900, including actions near Johannesburg and Diamond Hill; operations in Orange River Colony in 1900, including actions at Wittebergen and Bothaville; operations in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Cape Colony 30 November 1900, to 31 May 1902. He was mentioned in despatches, received the Queen's Medal with six clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. The Insignia were presented to him by the King on 29 October 1901.

He was promoted to Captain in April 1901, and then spent ten years in the Egyptian Army. He was with the Western column, in the operations against the Nyam Nyam tribe in the Bahr-el-Ghazal Province, and received the Orders of the Medjidie and Osmanieh, and the Bahr-el-Ghazal Medal and clasp.

He was a fine horseman and polo player, and was well known on the Cairo turf, where he more than once headed the winning list of steeplechase riders, both amateur and professional. He had hunted from his boyhood in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, and more recently with the Meath and Ward Union packs, when he was quartered with his regiment in Ireland. He also took honours in the open jumping at the horse show in Dublin.


He was with his battalion at Belfast during the troubled time of the riots at Harland and Wolff’s shipyards in 1912, and through the many succeeding troubles in Dublin from the strikes in August 1913.

Major Leigh gave his life at Mons on or about the 24th August, 1914, where, although severely wounded and in the open, he ordered his men to leave him and retire across the canal, so that there should be no delay in blowing up the bridge in the face of the advancing Germans. After having been returned as ‘missing’ for seven months, news was received in March 1915, from a returned disabled prisoner of the K.O.S.B. that Major Leigh died and was buried at Boussu shortly after the action in which he was wounded. He was the first Old Harrovian to fall in the war.

Major Leigh kept two war diaries which are held at R.H.Q. K.O.S.B. and contain his personal accounts of the Boer War, as well as photographs and drawings.

With a folder containing copied research.