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

Date of Auction: 11th & 12th December 2013

Sold for £20,000

Estimate: £20,000 - £25,000

The exceptional Iraq ‘Battle of Danny Boy’ M.C. group of six awarded to Corporal M. R. Byles, 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, who was awarded a Military Cross for gallantry on 14 May 2004 when he dismounted his Warrior armoured vehicle and led a full frontal assault with bayonets fixed to clear an enemy trench system – A comrade of Johnson Beharry who was decorated with his Victoria Cross at the same time as the recipient, the story of this extraordinarily action packed tour is fully recounted in Beharry’s autobiography, Barefoot Soldier as well as the book, Dusty Warriors, by Richard Holmes, in both of which books Byles is extensively mentioned
Military Cross, E.II.R., reverse inscribed ‘24836752 Cpl M. R. Byles, PWRR, 2005’; General Service 1962, 1 clasp, Northern Ireland (24836752 Pte., R. Hamps.); N.A.T.O. Medal, clasp, Former Yugoslavia; Iraq 2003-11, no clasp (24836752 PWRR); Jubilee 2002; Accumulated Campaign Service Medal (24836752 Pte., PWRR); together with a transcript copy of the original recommendation, Central Chancery investiture letter, a DVD of the Buckingham Palace presentation ceremony and boxes of issue for Iraq, NATO and Jubilee medals, good very fine and better (6) £20000-25000

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 18 March 2005.

The following is extracted from the official recommendation submitted by Lieutenant B. U. Plenge (Officer Commanding, 9 Platoon, C Company, 1st Batallion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment):

‘Report on the actions taken by Cpl. Byles on the 14th May 2004 at Danny Boy Permanent Vehicle Check Point:

On the afternoon of 14 May 2004 Cpl Byles was traveling in the back of Warrior 30 with Pte Beggs. The call sign had been crashed out in response to a mortar attack on camp and subsequent ambush on light call signs from 1st Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. As W30 arrived on the scene to the north of Danny Boy, and to the west of the dual carriageway Lt Plenge gave the signal to debus and a quick steer to another friendly dismounted call sign (Lcpl Wood, Ptes Rush,Tatawaki). Almost immediately they began to come under sporadic small arms and RPG fire. Cpl Byles was then quick to identify the enemy positions that posed the biggest threat. He issued Battle orders to the section and they broke down into fire-teams. He assessed that the best way to assault the positions was full frontal. This was due to the ground and also to minimise the threat of Blue on Blue [‘friendly fire’] from heavy call signs by remaining clearly visible to them. They then crossed the open ground using fire-team fire and movement. Approximately 10 metres from the position, the order, "Pairs assault," was given by Cpl Byles. At this point the section split with Lcpl Wood assaulting one half and Cpl Byles the other. Bayonets were fixed and grenades and automatic fire was used to clear the 20m long trench position. There were several enemy on the position and 4 POW’s were captured.

Almost immediately the trench came under fire from a depth position, previously unseen to the south. The POW’s had to be controlled quickly due to the numbers involved (5 soldiers/4 prisoners) and the pressure of the situation. They were therefore treated roughly as some still resisted, and all were bound with plasicuffs. Cpl Byles then organised a full re-org on the position despite being under effective enemy fire from 5 enemy in depth. He began to engage the enemy and killed 2. A further 1 was killed by chain gun from a Warrior call sign, and the other 2 played dead and were subsequently captured. After a few moments W22, commanded by Sgt Broome arrived on the position. At this point Cpl Byles and Pte Beggs left the rest of the section to rejoin the other dismounts from his Platoon. They then assisted on the re-org conducted by W33A.

Throughout the whole contact Cpl Byles showed immense professionalism under pressure. He showed bravery in the face of the enemy and strong leadership qualities in leading a dangerous assault against a larger enemy position. He is certainly a credit to his Platoon, Company and Cap badge and it is my belief that he should be recognised as such.’