Orders, Decorations and Medals (8 September 2015)

Date of Auction: 8th September 2015

Sold for £1,200

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

A Great War D.S.O. group of four attributed to Captain R. C. Dunford, Northumberland Fusiliers, who was recommended for the V.C. on the occasion that he was fatally wounded on the Somme in September 1916

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamel; 1914-15 Star (Capt. R. C. Dunford, North’d Fus.); British War Medal 1914-20 (Captain R. C. Dunford); renamed; Victory Medal 1914-19 (Capt. R. C. Dunford), good very fine (4) £800-1000


D.S.O. London Gazette 14 November 1916:

‘For conspicuous gallantry in action. For three days prior to the attack he directed the digging of assault trenches under heavy shell fire. During the attack his personal direction of his company resulted in heavy losses to the enemy and the capture of 150 prisoners. Finally he was shot through the body whilst organising the defences.’

Roy Craig Dunford was born at Kirkcudbright, Scotland in June 1881 and was educated at Richmond Grammar School, Yorkshire. Articled to the Chartered Accountants Messrs. J. M. Winter & Sons, he subsequently qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1904 and established his own practise at St. Nicholas Chambers, Newcastle.

An old volunteer, he was commissioned in the 1/6th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 and went out to France in the following year. Wounded in September 1915, he returned to France in the new year and was, as cited above, fatally wounded on the Somme on 15 September 1916 during the battle of Flers-Courcelette. As verified in
The V.C. & D.S.O., he was recommended for the V.C. on the same occasion.

Evacuated to the U.K., Dunford died of his wounds a few weeks later, on the 15th November, and was buried in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Old Jesmond) General Cemetery. On 18 October, his Adjutant sent the following congratulatory message:

‘I had the extreme pleasure to read aloud to Assembly at Battalion Headquarters’ the announcement of your award (D.S.O.). Dawson is now dictating the award to appear in Orders. Our hero! The man the 6th are proud of, not only because of his decoration, but because of his sterling qualities as a man and soldier.’

A photograph of his widow, Helen Walker Dunford, being presented with his D.S.O. by King George V at St. James’s football ground, Newcastle on 19 June 1917 survives in the Conquest Collection, part of the Picture Stockton Archive. The photograph first appeared in the
Daily Mirror two days later and includes the Queen about to greet the late Captain’s toddler son; Dunford’s campaign medals were forwarded to Helen at 9 Polwarth Terrace, Edinburgh in May 1923; sold with copied research.