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: £2,500 - £3,000

The unusual K.C.M.G., C.I.E. group of ten awarded to Sir Edward Bonham-Carter, an ex-England international rugby player who went on to set up the legal frameworks of the Sudan and Iraq, and who “accidentally” became involved in the Katfia affair in which he was wounded
The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, Knight Commander’s (K.C.M.G.) set of insignia, neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel; star, silver, silver-gilt and enamel, with gold pin, with neck cravat, in Garrard, London case of issue; The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Companions (C.I.E.) 3rd type neck badge, gold and enamel, with neck cravat, in Garrard, London case of issue; British War and Victory Medals (Sir E. Bonham Carter); Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 1 clasp, Katfia, unnamed, these mounted court style as worn, in leather case; Egypt, Order of the Nile, 2nd Class set of insignia, neck badge and breast star, silver, silver-gilt and enamel, with neck cravat, in J. Lattes case of issue; Ottoman Empire, Order of Osmania, 3rd Class neck badge, silver, silver-gilt and enamel, with neck cravat, some enamel damage; Italy, Messina Earthquake Commemorative Medal 1908, silver, in case, generally good very fine (10)
K.C.M.G. London Gazette 2 January 1920. Senior Judicial Official in the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia.
C.M.G. London Gazette 25 June 1909. Legal Secretary to the Soudan Government.
C.I.E. London Gazette 5 June 1919. Sudan Legal Department .
Order of the Nile, 2nd Class London Gazette 20 June 1916. Legal Secretary, Sudan Government.
Order of Osmania, 3rd Class London Gazette 23 September 1902. Legal Secretary, Sudan Civil Administration (Reorganising the Sudan’s Islamic Law Courts).
M.I.D. London Gazette 25 October 1916. ‘... to E. Bonham Carter, Esq., C.M.G.,Legal Secretary, I am indebted for much valuable advice on legal and other matters.’  (Egyptian Government Official).
M.I.D. London Gazette 18 February 1919. Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. ‘.... distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty.’
M.I.D. London Gazette 27 May 1919. ‘..... finally, I cannot close this despatch without a reference to the loss the Sudan Government sustained in 1917 when Mr. E. Bonham Carter, C.M.G., decided to accept the post of Senior Judicial Officer in the new Administration in Mesopotamia. Mr. Bonham Carter's services are too well known to Your Excellency to require commendation from me, but I should like to take this opportunity of thanking him for his unfailing support and sympathy and most helpful advice, not only in matters concerning his own Department, but in all the problems which confronted the Government during an anxious and difficult time ............’ (Political Dept., Indian Army)  


Carter, Sir Edgar Bonham, K.C.M.G., C.I.E. (1870–1956) was born in London on 2 April 1870, the fifth of the eleven sons of Henry Bonham-Carter (1827–1921), barrister and managing director of the Guardian Assurance Company, and his wife, Sibella Charlotte (1836/7–1916), daughter of George Warde Norman (1793–1882), a director of the Bank of England. Florence Nightingale was a relative, and took great interest in his early career. General Sir Charles Bonham-Carter and Sir Maurice Bonham-Carter were among his brothers. He was educated at Clifton College, to which his loyalty was lifelong: he was vice-chairman of its council from 1934 to 1946. At New College, Oxford, he obtained second-class honours in jurisprudence in 1892, and played rugby football as a forward for Oxford university and was capped once for England (England v Scotland at Richmond, 7 March 1891). In Lincoln’s Inn, he read law in the chambers of Edward Beaumont, whose pupil room taught many distinguished lawyers. He was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1895.

In 1899, after the conquest of the Sudan, Bonham-Carter was chosen by Lord Cromer at the age of twenty-nine to devise and set on foot a complete system of civil and criminal law in Sudan, where no legal system existed. He became judicial adviser, later legal secretary and a member of the governor-general's council, the only senior civilian member of a military administration. His success was immediate and brilliant. In the year of his appointment he introduced a simplified version of the Indian penal and criminal procedure codes; his modification of the Indian law of murder and homicide was considered by most Sudan judges to be an improvement on the original.

In 1900 there followed a simple code of civil procedure, derived from the Indian, substantive law being based on the English common law, Sudan statute, and (particularly as to land) local customary law. He rescued Islamic law courts from decay, and gave them a solid organisation under an ordinance promulgated in 1902. These codes established a complete system of courts with appropriate jurisdiction, and he followed up his acts as a lawgiver by years of guidance, firm but courteous and patient, of the British, Egyptian, and Sudanese officers and magistrates who then staffed the courts. The law so declared and administered was understood by the people, by the early amateur magistracy, and later by the professional judges; to the ordinary Sudanese his work seemed the ideal embodiment of justice, and the structure was maintained after the independence of the Sudan.

Mr. Bonham-Carter, the Legal Secretary, who was on a tour of inspection, became involved in the Katfia affair, where he was wounded.

In 1917 Bonham-Carter was invited to undertake a similar service in Iraq, where he became senior judicial officer in Baghdad and in 1919 judicial adviser in Mesopotamia, then freed from Turkish rule. There his task was different, for the Ottoman law existed in the vilayets; he laid no foundations, but built up and modernized what he found, and established a system of courts under judges with professional qualifications, and a competent clerical staff. He founded a school of law; established the machinery of justice; and drafted a great deal of the necessary legislation himself. In the face of the political ferment engendered by an ardent nationalism which accompanied the transition from subjection to freedom, by the sympathy and trust which he inspired he set up a soundly based Iraqi judicial system under Iraqi judges which survived the transition from mandate to treaty, and finally to complete independence. Nuri Said called him the father and founder of the legal system in the country, and Gertrude Bell wrote of him as the wisest of men.

While he was in Iraq he became very interested in the rich archaeological heritage of the country. With a legacy of £5000 from Gertrude Bell, he became the Hon. Sec. of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq.

The friendship and respect which had grown up between Gertrude Bell and Bonham-Carter during his years in Iraq impelled him, with his wife, to throw himself into the task of raising by public subscription a sufficient fund to establish the school on a firm basis. In 1932 the school was launched with adequate finances, and with Bonham-Carter as the first chairman of the executive committee, a post he held until 1950, when he yielded to eighty years and impaired health, but remained a member until his death.

In 1921 Bonham-Carter left the Middle East to begin a new phase of public work at home, which continued until his death, in spite of increasing lameness in his later years. From 1922 to 1925 he represented East Bethnal Green as a Progressive Liberal member of the London county council, and became the council's representative on the governing body of the School of Oriental and African Studies, to which he was regularly reappointed until his resignation in 1945. In 1926 he married Charlotte Helen, daughter of Colonel William Lewis Kinloch Ogilvy, 60th Rifles; they had no children. From 1929 to 1939 he was chairman of the First Garden City Ltd., which was formed in 1903 to create the world's first Garden City at Letchworth. All profits generated from the estate were ploughed back into the community.

He was chairman of the National Housing and Town Planning Council from 1940 until 1942; and remained a member of the council of the Town and Country Planning Association until his death. From 1927 to 1950 he was a member of the executive committee of the National Trust, and also of its finance and general purposes committee; and he gave long service to the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society. From the 1920s he had been interested in the work of First Garden City Ltd in developing the garden city at Letchworth, and from 1929 to 1939 he was a chairman in whom there was complete confidence. His vision and understanding of educational matters as a governor of Letchworth grammar school won the admiration of his colleagues. From 1953 he was president of the North-East Hampshire Agricultural Association. He was also president of the Commons Preservation Society. At his death he was the last surviving founder member of the Gordon Memorial Trust and the Kitchener School Trust.

With a folder containing extensive copied research.