Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (22 July 2015)

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Date of Auction: 22nd July 2015

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500

An interesting C.I.E., M.B.E., K.P.M. group of five awarded to Superintendent Richard Howard Hitchcock, Madras Police

The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, C.I.E., Companion’s 3rd type neck badge, gold and enamels; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Civil) Member’s 1st type breast badge, silver, hallmarks for London 1918; King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (Richard H. Hitchcock, Supt.. 5th Gr. Madras Pol.); Delhi Durbar 1911, silver, unnamed, these four mounted for wear; India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, Malabar 1921-22 (R. H. Hitchcock, D.S.P.), K.P.M. with slight edge bruise, good very fine and better (5) £1200-1500

Footnote

C.I.E. London Gazette 3 June 1922. Richard Howard Hitchcock, Esq., M.B.E., District Superintendent of Police (on military duty), Madras.’

M.B.E. London Gazette 8 January 1919. ‘Captain, District Superintendent of Police, Madras (on military duty).’

K.P.M. London Gazette 1 January 1916. ‘Superintendent 5th Grade, Madras Police.’

Richard Howard Hitchcock was born on 12 March 1884 at Basford Nottinghamshire. His father, also named Richard was a Rector of Fordwich for many years - there is a window commemorating his memory in the parish church. He was educated at King’s School Canterbury, 1894-1903. Academically bright, Hitchcock sat for the competitive examination to join the Imperial Indian Police and came first. Competition was great, as compared to Sandhurst where 200 places were annually available, only 15-20 places were available per year for entry into the Indian Police.

He joined the Indian Police in 1903 and was posted to Bengal. In 1916 he was awarded the K.P.M. for heading off an uprising by the Mapillas. In the final year of the Great War Hitchcock was seconded to the Army and granted the temporary rank of Captain. He helped raise the 2/73 Malabar Battalion at Cannanore for which he was awarded the M.B.E. in 1919.

With troubles in Malabar, Hitchcock organised a new police force on the model of the British Army which came into existence on 30 September 1921 as the Malabar Special Police - Hitchcock himself being the first Commandant of the unit. In June 1922 he was awarded the C.I.E.

In November 1921 Hitchcock was involved in the ‘Moplah Train Tragedy’. Hitchcock was the police officer in charge of transporting Moplah prisoners by rail, when 70 were found dead, asphyxiated in a railway luggage van. The subsequent enquiry found that the deaths were due to a defect of the van but also that that Hitchcock and Evans (the civilian in joint charge of the operation) failed to exercise proper supervision of the vans containing the prisoners. Police and railway officials of lesser rank were found guilty of culpable negligence.

Hitchcock died of a perforated ulcer on 31 August 1926, aged 42 years, whilst on home leave in Tunbridge Wells. A memorial was erected to his memory at Vizagapatum.

Sold with riband bar which also includes that of the British War Medal. With copied gazette and The Times extracts, death certificate and other research.