Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (22 July 2015)
Date of Auction: 22nd July 2015
Sold for £3,800
Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Military) Member’s 2nd type breast badge; Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (240082 C.S. Mjr. T. Auld, 1/5 R.S. Fus.); Military Medal, G.V.R. (6764 Sjt. T. Auld, 1/5 R. Sco. Fus.); 1914-15 Star (6764 Pte. T. Auld, R. Sc. Fus.); British War and Victory Medals (6764 W.O. Cl. 2 T. Auld, R.S. Fus.); Defence Medal 1939-45; Territorial Efficiency Medal, G.V.R. (240082 W.O. Cl. II T. Auld, D.C.M., M.M., 5-R.S. Fus.), the earlier awards somewhat polished, nearly very fine and better (8) £1800-2200
FootnoteM.B.E. London Gazette 15 December 1944.
D.C.M. London Gazette 18 February 1918:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He assisted his officer in leading two platoons successively over a fire-swept zone. He several times carried in wounded men and set a splendid example on all occasions.’
M.M. London Gazette 16 November 1916.
Thomas Auld, a native of Dalmellington, Ayrshire, entered the Gallipoli theatre of war in early June 1915 as a Private in the 1/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. His unit was heavily engaged on the peninsula up until its evacuation from ‘V’ beach at the end of December and suffered severe casualties. By the end of July 1915 alone, battalion losses amounted to seven officers and 71 other ranks killed, and four officers and 224 other ranks wounded, nine missing and another eight officers and 141 other ranks to hospital, sick.
The Battalion’s subsequent part in the Egypt and Palestine operations, for which Auld was awarded the M.M. and D.C.M., is neatly summarised by P. J. R. Mileham The Scottish Regiments - A Pictorial History 1633-1987:
‘The two battalions serving in the 52nd Lowland Division which had fought at Gallipoli, had been in Egypt since February 1916. They manned the Suez Canal defence line from the same month, just as plans were being made for it to be extended eastwards into the Sinai desert. The Turks, however, who had hitherto not attacked the canal defences, mounted an attack on a position at Dueidar on the new railway, held by a company of the 5th Royal Scots Fusiliers; but a detachment of the 4th Battalion marched quickly to their assistance and the Turks rapidly withdrew.
The British line was extended further eastwards and in late July a major battle was fought at Romani, where the enemy were lured to attack the well-prepared positions of the 52nd Division. The defence held and a counter-attack was successfully mounted; half the large Turkish force became casualties or were taken captive. This allowed the British to advance eastwards without further hindrance, which they did in October with the 52nd Division leading. By the end of January 1917 British and dominion troops entered Palestine. In the same month the 12th Battalion of the regiment was formed in this theatre from the dismounted Ayrshire and Lanarkshire Yeomanry regiments, which had been amalgamated earlier.
None of the three battalions took part in the first battle of Gaza, but the 4th and 5th Battalions fought together in the second battle which began on 19 April. Their brigade took several objectives, the most desperate fighting being for Outpost Hill. After several attacks on the hill which the Turks beat off, two companies of 4th K.O.S.B. joined up with companies of 5th Royal Scots Fusiliers.
Despite all they had been through, the Borderers and Fusiliers were ready for another assault. When all was ready Major Forrest (K.O.S.B., the Scottish international rugby player) led his men forward. This charge of men from almost every unit in 155 Brigade was a most inspiring sight. Under a murderous fire, which struck down many, they rushed up the hill. About fifty Turks saw them coming, leaped from a ravine and bolted away into the cactus hedges on the western slope. Major Forrest was mortally wounded as he entered the works.'
Thus was the hill captured and held for a while in face of fresh enemy counter-attacks.
The position had to be evacuated eventually during the night, the battle for Gaza by this time having been lost. The third battle of Gaza in November 1917 was successful, chiefly due to the actions of the cavalry. The 12th Battalion of the regiment was engaged in the latter stages of the battle.
In the pursuit of the enemy, the 4th and 5th Royal Scots Fusiliers took part in a number of assaults on successive enemy positions, including the important ridge at Katrah overlooking the railway line to Jerusalem. On 24 November the two battalions were ordered to seize a brigade objective at El Jib. This was defended with great determination by the Turks and, although nearby Nebi Samwil was taken, the El Jib position was successfully held by the enemy. A few days later the battalions had to resist enemy counter-attacks in the El Burj area, which they did successfully despite casualties. Meanwhile, the advance on Jerusalem was pressing ahead and the 12th (Ayr and Lanark Yeomanry) Battalion captured a hill of 1,000 feet at Beit Iksa. The holy city was entered by General Allenby's troops on 11 December.’
The 1/5th Battalion was embarked for France in early 1918, landing at Marseilles in mid-April, and ended the War in positions at Jurbise, south of Mons.
Auld, who was advanced to Company-Sergeant-Major and also mentioned in despatches for his part in the Palestine operations (London Gazette 12 January 1918), was awarded his M.B.E. in respect of his services in the 6th Battalion, Ayrshire Home Guard.