Orders, Decorations and Medals (28 & 29 March 2012)

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Date of Auction: 28th & 29th March 2012

Sold for £4,300

Estimate: £3,000 - £3,500

A rare Great War B.E.F. 1914 operations D.S.O. group of seven awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel F. W. Moffitt, Essex Regiment: having gained a brace of “mentions” in the Boer War, he was decorated for his gallantry at Le Gheer in October 1914, when he was severely wounded holding off the Germans with a half company: afterwards he commanded the 1st Battalion during the Irish Troubles 1919-21

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamel; India General Service 1895-1902, 1 clasp, Punjab Frontier 1897-98 (Lieutt. F. W. Moffit, 2d Essex Regt.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 5 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast (Capt. F. W. Moffitt, 1/Essex Rgt.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Maj. F. W. Moffitt, Essex Rgt.); 1914 Star, with clasp (Capt. F. W. Moffitt, Essex R.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Bt. Lt. Col. F. W. Moffitt), mounted as worn, the earlier award with contact marks and occasional edge bruising, otherwise generally very fine (7) £3000-3500

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 18 February 1915.

Frederick William Moffitt was born at Woolston, Southampton in June 1872, the son of a Surgeon Major, and was educated at Haileybury.

Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment in October 1890, he witnessed active service as a Transport Officer with 4th Brigade on the Punjab Frontier 1897-98 (Medal & clasp), and again in the Boer War, when he served as a Company Commander in the 1st Battalion from May 1900 (Queen’s Medal & 5 clasps; King’s Medal & 2 clasps).

Present in the actions at Zand and Vet Rivers, at Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast and Frederickstadt, in addition to further operations in the Eastern Transvaal and the Orange River Colony, he was given the Brevet of Major and twice mentioned in despatches (London Gazettes 10 September 1901 and 29 July 1902 refers). One of the latter distinctions stemmed from an action near Standerton, where Moffitt was commended for his ‘gallant and dashing conduct’ in an engagement with a laager of 17 Boers - two were killed, one wounded and the remainder taken prisoner.

Having then held staff appointments in Ireland 1909-13, he was embarked with the 2nd Battalion for France in August 1914, where he was present in the actions at La Cateau, Marne, passage of the Aisne and Meterin, taking part in the operations around Ploegsteert and Armentieres, up until being severely wounded in the chest at La Gheer on 21 October 1914, while holding the enemy back with a half company. He was awarded the D.S.O.

An Assistant Adjutant-General in Southern Command from January 1915, he also served as a G.S.O. 1, Australian Training Command, Salisbury Plain, from July 1916 to December 1917 and was given the Brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel and mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 1 January 1917).

Advanced to substantive Lieutenant-Colonel in September 1919, he took command of the 1st Battalion in Ireland, and remained employed in that capacity until 1921, a period in which his men frequently came under fire. The following submission was made at a Court of Inquiry assembled by Moffitt at Bandon on 21 March 1921, to ascertain the circumstances behind the death of an ‘unknown civilian’ in Co. Cork:

‘At Ballinphellic, north of Crossbarry, on 19 March 1921, at about 1600 hours, I proceeded in command of a party to search the farm of Mr. Ford. About 0630 hours I warned Sergeant Poole that I was going to the house, and ordered him to the back door ... I forced the front door open with my foot and as I did so, I was immediately fired at by a man standing about two yards away at the foot of the stairs. I fired back and was again fired at, and was hit on the right chest and knocked sideways round the door. I then fired two more shots, and had another shot fired at me, which missed. The man then bolted to the back door. I followed and shouted to Sergeant Poole to look out. The man rushed out of the back door firing at Sergeant Poole as he went. Sergeant Poole fired back and shot him dead through the head.’