Orders, Decorations and Medals (8 September 2015)

Date of Auction: 8th September 2015

Sold for £5,000

Estimate: £3,000 - £3,500

An outstanding ‘Malaya Emergency’ O.B.E. and Airborne Division ‘North-West Europe’ immediate M.C. group of nine awarded to Colonel E. J. O’B. ‘Rip’ Croker, Leicestershire Regiment and Parachute Regiment; ‘he personally killed 3 Germans with his rifle and when a serjeant was wounded he immediately attacked his assailant and killed him with a fighting knife’

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge; Military Cross, G.VI.R. reverse officially dated 1944; 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals; General Service 1918-62, 1 claps, Malaya, G.VI.R. ( Lt/Col. E. J. O’B. Croker. O.B.E. M.C. R. Leicesters) some official corrections to first letter of surname and parts of unit; Coronation 1937; Coronation 1953, together with companion miniature medals, both sets mounted as worn, good very fine (18) £3000-3500


M.C. London Gazette 21 December 1944. The recommendation states:

‘T/Major Edward James O’Brien Croker, 12 Para Battalion, 5 Para Brigade, 6 Airborne Division.

On 19th July, 1944, Major Croker’s Company led in a Battalion attack on the village of Puten en Auge [Putot-en-Auge]. The village was occupied by about 100 Germans and the position had a large number of automatic weapons in it. Mortar and Machine Gun fire was intense. The two leading platoons became completely pinned by fire by the time half the village was cleared and the situation looked desperate. Major Croker then led the third platoon personally against one of the strong points consisting of three houses. He personally killed 3 Germans with his rifle and when a serjeant was wounded he immediately attacked his assailant and killed him with a fighting knife. As soon as this strong point fell the enemy lost heart and the remainder of the village was rapidly captured. It was mainly due to the courage, ferocity and personal leadership and complete disregard of danger of Major Croker that the whole of its Garrison was either killed or captured. His example was an inspiration to the whole Battalion.’

London Gazette 19 October 1951. The recommendation states:

‘Lieutenant-Colonel Edward James O’Brien Croker, M.C., Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

For outstanding services as G.S.O.I. Singapore Base District since 20th November 1949.

In addition to his normal work, which has been of a high order he has shewn very marked ability and enthusiasm in the organising and conducting all Courses for officer training and promotion examinations. His outstanding achievement, however, has been his exceptional devotion to duty during the Singapore riots in December 1951, when he displayed qualities of the highest order. His organising ability and untiring efforts contributed in a very large measure to the smooth conduct and efficiency of the Military measures taken to restore law and order and in the following days. His services have been of great value to the Army and fully deserve recognition.’

Edward James O’Brien Croker was born on 21 June 1910, son of Engineer Rear-Admiral E. J. O’B. Croker. He was educated at Imperial Service College and was commissioned into the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. Prior to the outbreak of the war he was for a time attached to the Royal West African Frontier Force. Promoted Captain in 1938 and Temporary Major in 1942, Croker subsequently trained with the 6th Airborne Division in preparation for the Normandy Invasion. He landed on D-Day with the 5th Parachute Brigade, under the command of Brigadier J. H. N. Poett, in the area to the north of Ranville, Croker being in command of “B” Company of the 12th Parachute Battalion. The action at Putot-en-Auge, and the gallantry of Major Croker, is described in Lieutenant-General R. N. Gale’s
With the 6th Airborne Division in Normandy, whilst Para! by Peter Harclerode also mentions his part in the attack on Pont L’Eveque in August 1944 and in Operation ‘Varsity’, the 6th Airborne Division’s drop for the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

Croker served afterwards in Malaya as G.S.O.I. H.Q. Singapore Base District from November 1949 to December 1951, being rewarded with the O.B.E. for his work there. He retired in 1958 with the Honorary rank of Colonel and died on 13 May 1967.

For related Croker family medals see Lots 163, 228, 280, 421 and 424.