Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (11 & 12 December 2013)

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Date of Auction: 11th & 12th December 2013

Sold for £460

Estimate: £250 - £300

India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, North West Frontier 1908 (Major C. C. Fenner, 59th Rifls.), good very fine £250-300

Footnote

No better summary of the recipient’s career may be found than that published in the The Roll of Sacrifice:

‘Lieutenant-Colonel Claude Cambridge Fenner, commanding 59th Scinde Rifles, Frontier Force, Indian Army, was the only son of Mr. H.A. Shrapnel Fenner, Mem. Inst. C.E., Public Works Department, India (retired), of 6, Eliot Hill, Blackheath, and was killed at Richebourg L'Avoue, France, in the forty-seventh year of his age; he was buried at Le Touret, Rue du Bois.

He was gazetted to the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment (the old 39th) from Sandhurst in February 1888, and served with that regiment for about two and a quarter years, when he was transferred to the Indian Army. He obtained his promotion to Lieutenant in 1889, Captain in 1899, Major in 1906, and Lieutenant-Colonel in August 1913, when he became Commandant of the 59th. With the exception of a short time spent in the 24th Bombay Infantry (now the 124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Beluchistan Infantry), his entire service in the Indian Army was with the 59th. In 1902 the 59th Rifles (then the 6th Punjab Infantry) gained under his instruction the distinction of being second in all India in Musketry, Colonel Fenner himself being a marksman.

In 1903-04 he was on active service in Somaliland as Second-in-Command of the 52nd Sikhs, F.F., his linked battalion. He commanded the regiment at the Battle of Jidballi, where it formed the front of the square when attacked by the Mullah and his hosts. He was attached, with some four hundred of his men, to a force of Mounted Infantry, the whole under the command of Colonel Kenna, V.C., which force went through incredible hardships from hunger, thirst, and long marches in intense heat. General Sir Charles Egerton, K.C.B. - himself an old frontier officer - mentioned him in his special despatch, and he received the Medal & two clasps.


In 1908 he took part in the operations against the Zakka Khel tribesmen who inhabit the mountains near Peshawar, and which led to a rising of the Khyber Pass tribes and the great Mohmand tribe. He received the Medal & clasp for those services.

Lieutenant-Colonel Fenner spent a month in the trenches in France, with the exception of a few hours, during most of which time his regiment held nearly a mile of the line. He was killed instantaneously by a bullet from the German trenches, while standing up directing operations. He was mentioned in Sir John French's Despatch of 31 May 1915, the 59th having the sad and unique distinction of having three Commanding Officers mentioned in that one despatch, Colonel Fenner under whose command they went to France, being the first to fall. The 59th was one of the first Indian Regiments to land in France.

Colonel Fenner was a gallant gentleman, if we may use the term, which denotes so much. Dauntless and brave, his numerous letters home are full of thought for his men and their comfort, and recognition of the services of the splendid European officers in his regiment.’