Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 - 21 June 2013)

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Date of Auction: 19th - 21st June 2013

Sold for £5,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

The important Boer War Naval Brigade medal and associated archive material pertaining to Commander C. R. Sharp, Royal Navy, who, as a sixteen year old Midshipman was the youngest member of H.M.S. Powerful’s naval brigade at the siege of Ladysmith; he was specially promoted for services in South Africa and was afterwards one of the Navy’s first submarine officers, serving aboard Holland 2, one of the first two submarines commissioned into the Royal Navy

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 1 clasp, Defence of Ladysmith (Mid. C. R. Sharp, R.N. H.M.S. Powerful) large style impressed naming, good very fine £5000-6000


Q.S.A. previously sold by D.N.W. in December 2004 (Lot 564 - £3100); Archive previously sold by D.N.W. in March 2005 (Lot 638 - £7500). Now offered together for the first time.

The important primary source archive material of naval and Boer War interest, formerly used as a research resource by Gerald Sharp, son of Midshipman C. R. Sharp, for his book The Siege of Ladysmith, published by Macdonald & Jane’s, 1976, a copy of which also accompanies this lot:

(a) Midshipman C. Reynolds Sharp’s large format Defence of Ladysmith Diary, titled by the author ‘H.M.S. Powerful, Naval Brigade Journal of The Siege of Ladysmith 1899-1900’, hard covers under contemporary cloth jacket decorated on front board with an H.M.S. Powerful cap tally band, the contents comprising approximately 54 pages (of approx. 100pp.) filled with manuscript, day by day entries, detailing military events and personal commentary on the 119 day defence; also includes a competent pen and ink plan of the Defence and Siege, and a frontispiece watercolour plan of a ‘12 pounder 12 cwt gun mounting for field service’. Volume size approx. 250mm x 195mm

Sample entry - 6 January 1900: ‘... Lealham , stoker, was killed and Ward AB was severely wounded in the arm. Mr Sheen was slightly wounded having his face cut about a good bit. It was found that several Boers had got right up to the sangars and opened fire at the same time shouting “Retire”. About 3pm Rifleman’s Ridge opened fire on Waggon Hill and raked it with shrapnel the Boers made another attack later in the evening .... Our casualties mount up to about 250 killed and wounded. The Boers must have lost enormously ...’

(b) Queen’s Regulation Log Book of Midshipman C. R. Sharp, hard covers under contemporary cloth jacket decorated on front cover with H.M.S. cap tally bands for Terrible, Powerful, Resolution and Gibraltar, approximately 55 pages of manuscript entries, technical drawings, pen and ink charts and cross-sections, compiled during service 1899-1901 in the aforementioned ships, Volume size approx. 320mm x 215mm.

(c) Boer War period letters written by Midshipman C. R. Sharp, including one penned during the Defence of Ladysmith.

(d) Conduct Certificates of C. R. Sharp, including one signed by Captain Hon Hedworth Lambton, R.N., H.M.S. Powerful, who commanded the naval brigade in Ladysmith, and one signed by Captain Sir Percy Scott, R.N., H.M.S. Terrible., who designed naval mountings for use ashore in South Africa, and during the First World War played a leading role in anti-Zeppelin measures.

(e) Aural archive material, comprising a CD (two copies) and one audio cassette recording C. R. Sharp’s reminiscences of life in the Victorian navy and during the Defence of Ladysmith, with typescript; together with two further audio cassettes and original documents relating to Sharp’s experiences in early submarines and during the First World War whilst King’s Harbour Master at Berehaven, Bantry Bay, Ireland; together with C. R. Sharp’s 1899 pocket book with pencil diary entries, and a small pocket diary, brief entries, for 1903.

(f) Signing-in Book of the Ladysmith Siege Officers’ Dining Club 1902-51, containing the signatures of officers, war correspondents and guests who attended the Ladysmith Day dinners in London during the years 1902-1951, the World Wars and 1936, when George V died, excluded. Guest signatures include Lord Athlone and the Prince of Wales (afterwards Edward VIII). Volume size 265mm x 215mm. Recently rebound and titled, contents good. Together with a quantity (approx. 130) of original related correspondence, including signed letters from Lord Roberts, Lord Milner, Sir Ian Hamilton, Sir Percy Marling, V.C., Sir Hubert Gough, siege correspondent Henry Nevinson, and Jan Smuts; officially printed list of officers present during the Siege of Ladysmith; two club secretary’s address books; nine typescript invitation envelopes addressed to officers who were discovered to have been killed in South Africa; a signed 1937 Ladysmith Dinner menu; two original reunion dinner photographs, circa 1951; a signed 1937 Ladysmith dinner menu; a large studio quality souvenir group photograph from the 1928 Ladysmith Dinner, with participants named; two original reunion dinner photographs, circa 1951 and a number of modern photographic reproductions of Ladysmith dinners and negatives.

(g) A quantity of modern photographic reproductions and negatives of the Naval Brigade and Gordon Highlanders in South Africa and at Ladysmith during the Boer War; a quantity of related copy photographic material collected by Gerald Sharp; together with a quantity of original (3) and copy photographic images of C. R. Sharp, including some fine studio portraits, generally good condition .

Commander Charles Reynolds Sharp, R.N., (1883-1966) was a chorister at Magdalen College School, before entering Britannia in 1898. He passed out in August 1899 and on appointment to H.M.S. Orlando on the China station was directed to take passage in the heavy cruiser Terrible sailing from Portsmouth. With the outbreak of hostilities imminent in South Africa, Terrible was ordered to rendezvous with her homeward bound sister ship Powerful at Simonstown where an urgent request for naval guns was received from Sir George White in Ladysmith. On 26 September 1899 Sharp was transferred to Powerful and sailed to Durban for the onward rail journey by the last train to Ladysmith before the Boers cut the line and invested the town. At sixteen Sharp was the junior midshipman and youngest member of Powerful’s 266-strong Ladysmith naval brigade. For services at Ladysmith he was mentioned in despatches and was recommended for early promotion on qualification for the rank of Lieutenant (1903). Upon Powerful’s return home in May 1900 Midshipman Sharp was presented to Queen Victoria on the occasion of a special parade of the officers at Windsor Castle. In July 1900 he was appointed to the battleship Resolution in the Channel Squadron, but in 1904 transferred to the newly formed submarine branch, and saw his early service in Holland boats. At Plymouth he was given command of A10 – ‘a devil of a boat – you had to have your hair parted in the middle to keep her afloat’; and in 1907 received command of C2 , conversely, ‘a magnificent boat’. During the First World War he was stationed at Berehaven, Ireland, where he combined the duties of Chief Examination Officer, King’s Harbour Master and Coaling Officer, and was involved in the salvaging of ships torpedoed by U-boats. He retired from the Service in 1922, and on the outbreak of the second World War was re-employed in Naval Control work in the U.K. and in Stockholm. For fifty years Commander Sharp was a stalwart of the annual Ladysmith reunion dinner held on the anniversary of the relief (28 February). From 1935 Sharp acted as secretary to the gathering until the final dinner at Claridges in 1951 by which time it was concurred ‘we were getting too old to assemble in London in mid-winter.’