Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (10 & 11 December 2014)

Date of Auction: 10th & 11th December 2014

Sold for £350

Estimate: £100 - £140

An Army Distinguished Service Cross group of seven attributed to Captain Frederick Blake Atto, 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, killed in action, Italy, 22 May 1944

1939-45 Star; Italy Star; Defence Medal, Canadian issue, silver; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, with overseas clasp, this privately named, ‘Capt. Frederick B. Atto.’; War Medal 1939-45, M.I.D. oak leaf, Canadian issue, silver; U.S.A. Army Distinguished Service Cross, slot brooch; Purple Heart, enamelled, slot brooch, unnamed except where stated, good very fine (7) £100-140


Frederick Blake Atto was born in Montreal, Canada on 30 September 1919, the son of Frederick Howard and Daisy Blake Atto. A Salesman by occupation and a member of the 17th D.Y.R.C. Hussars, June-July 1940, he enlisted into the Canadian Active Service Force at Montreal on 18 July 1940. Posted to the U.K. in September 1941, served with the 7th Recce Battalion. Returning to Canada in April 1942 he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in July 1942 and in August was posted to the 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion, being promoted to Lieutenant in October. With the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion he entered the Italian theatre of war in November 1943. Wounded in action, with a bullet wound to the chest, on 7 January 1944 - the same month being awarded the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in action on 6 December 1943.

Citation reads: ‘For extraordinary heroism in action on Mount La Difensa, Italy on 6 December 1943. First Lieutenant Atto led a patrol of three men with the mission of destroying several isolated enemy machine guns, mortar emplacements, and snipers whose fire was causing heavy casualties in his unit. The patrol penetrated deep into enemy territory and neutralised several enemy positions, killing nine of the enemy and taking two prisoners. On the return trip First Lieutenant Atto and the two prisoners became separated from the remainder of the patrol. While proceeding alone with the prisoners, he was fired upon from an enemy position. Armed only with a pistol, he returned the fire and caused five more Germans to surrender to him. He was forced to fire his remaining bullet to keep the prisoners in line. He brought the seven prisoners to his own lines although his only weapon was an empty pistol. First Lieutenant Atto’s courage and presence of mind in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon himself and the two armies which he serves.’

Captain Atto was killed in action on 22 May 1944, aged 25 years. He was buried in the Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio.

With copied service papers, recommendation and other research. Also with one cloth and six metal badges/insignia for display purposes.

This lot is sold as seen and is not subject to return. Please see saleroom notice on lot 280 for fuller details.