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

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Date of Auction: 28th & 29th March 2012

Sold for £65

Estimate: £60 - £80

Royal Military Tournament Prize Medal, silver, obverse, Royal Arms and motto with title around, reverse engraved, ‘Gib. 1895, Sword v. Sword, Mounted’ and ‘Lieut. W. E. B. Smith, 1st S.W. Bords.’, 38mm. diam., good very fine £60-80


Wilfrid Edward Bownas Smith was born in March 1867, the son of a clergyman, and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the South Wales Borderers in May 1888, direct from the Militia.

Advanced to Lieutenant in October 1891 and to Captain in November 1896, he served in Tibet Expedition in 1903-04 (Medal) and in India as a Brigade Major 1905-09.

Transferring as a Lieutenant-Colonel to the Lincolnshire Regiment in March 1914, he took the 1st Battalion out to France that August, where he and his men fought with great distinction in the retreat from Mons, suffering very heavy casualties. He was mentioned in despatches by Field Marshal Sir John French and awarded the C.M.G. (London Gazette 18 February 1915 refers).

Next appointed a Brigade Commander in the temporary rank of Brigadier-General, Smith served in that capacity from March 1915 to July 1918, latterly in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and added the C.B. (London Gazette 1 January 1917 refers), and three further “mentions” to his accolades in the same period. He was placed on the Retired List as a Major-General in 1919.

The General, ‘a great sportsman and deservedly one of the most popular officers we have ever had in the Regiment’ (his obituary in the Journal of the South Wales Borderers refers), died in Devon in May 1942, having recently returned to the fray as an Air Raid Precautions’ Organiser; sold with a large quantity of research, including numerous copied images of the recipient from regimental journals.