Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (25 & 26 November 2015)

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Date of Auction: 25th & 26th November 2015

Sold for £24,000

Estimate: £12,000 - £15,000

The outstanding early India and Defence of Jellalabad C.B. group of six awarded to Major A. P. S. Wilkinson, 13th Somerset Light Infantry, who was wounded in the Burmese War and commanded the regiment at the Storming of the Heights of Jugdulluck and at the Recapture of Cabul

The Most Honourable Order of The Bath, C.B. (Military) breast badge in 22 carat gold and enamels, hallmarked London 1815, maker’s mark ‘TD’ over ‘HD’ for Thomas and Henry Davies, complete with wide gold swivel-ring bar suspension and gold ribbon buckle; Army of India 1799-1826, 1 clasp, Ava (Lieut. A. P. S. Wilkinson, 13th Foot) short hyphen reverse, officially impressed naming; Ghuznee 1839 (Captn. A. P. S. Wilkinson, 13th Lt. Infantry) fitted with silver clip and gold bar suspension; Jellalabad 1842, Mural Crown, unnamed, fitted with silver clip and gold bar suspension; Jellalabad 1842, Flying Victory (Major A: P: S: Wilkinson 13th Regt.) officially impressed naming, fitted with silver loop and gold bar suspension; Cabul 1842 (Major A. P. S. Wilkinson, C.B., 13th Lt. Infantry) fitted with silver clip and gold bar suspension, all medals fitted with contemporary gold ribbon buckles; together with a contemporary oval portrait miniature, in gold glazed case with fittings as worn on a lady’s bracelet, minor chipping to the first, the campaign medals with some edge bruising and light contact wear, otherwise very fine or better and a very attractive and rare group (7) £12000-15000

Footnote

C.B. London Gazette 29 September 1843.

Mentioned in despatches of Sir Robert Sale, 30 October 1841 and 7 April 1842; and of Major-General Sir George Pollock, 9 September and 14 September, 1842.

Arthur Philip Savage Wilkinson was first commissioned into the 13th Light Infantry on 25 December 1822, and promoted to Lieutenant on 16 December 1824. He served with the 13th Light Infantry throughout the Burmese war, including the landing at Cheduba, storming the stockade, and capture of the island; affair at Kumaroot, storming of seven stockades at Kumaroot, attack and capture of Syriam, actions near Rangoon on the 1st, 5th, and 7th December, 1824; the storming of Kokein, where he was wounded and, in recognition of his gallantry, promoted to Lieutenant the following day; expedition to Bassein, and capture of Negrais, Bassein, and Lamina; actions at Sembike and Nadadee, storming of Melloon, and battle of Pagahm Mew.

Wilkinson next saw action at Ghuznee in Afghanistan in 1839, where a company of the 13th under his command succeeded in capturing the redoubt of the fort, took two enemy standards and captured sixty prisoners. He was promoted to Captain on 6 September 1839 and also served in the expedition to Girishk, the storming of the Khoord Cabool Pass, the affair of Tezeen, the forcing of the Jugdulluck Pass, on which occasion he was especially mentioned in despatches by Major-General Sir Robert Sale, and at the reduction of the Fort of Mamoo Khail.

He served with distinction as one of the ‘Illustrious Garrison’ throughout the heroic Defence of Jellalabad, including the sorties on the 14th November and 1st December, 1841, 11th March, 24th March, 1st April, and 7th April, 1842. On 24th March Wilkinson’s company sortied out of the Peshawar Gate and were established as skirmishers around the ruins of some old forts, the remainder of the regiment being held in reserve, finally retiring in perfect order under fire. In the general action and defeat of Akbar Khan before Jellalabad on 7th April 1842, command of the Centre column devolved on Captain Wilkinson after the fall of Colonel Dennie.

In the advance on Cabul, Wilkinson commanded the 13th Light Infantry at the storming of the heights of Jugdulluck, the general action at Tezeen, and the recapture of Cabul. At the storming of the Jugdulluck Pass he led the regiment against the hill considered to be the key to the position, the lofty heights being assaulted by two columns, commanded by Wilkinson and Captain Broddfoot. For these services Wilkinson was promoted to Major by brevet on 4 October 1842, and made a Companion of the Bath. He returned to England in 1844, and purchased his Majority on 3 November 1846, retiring by sale of his commission some five years later. Major Wilkinson died in 1874.

Wilkinson was one of the few officers and men of the 13th Light Infantry to receive the second, or ‘Flying Victory’, issue of the Jellalabad medal. The original Mural Crown medals, struck in India, were distributed to the regiment on the west bank of the Sutlej River on 14 December 1842. These were the first medals to be awarded for the war in Afghanistan and were considered to be inartistic and rather unattractive. Accordingly a second issue was struck at the Royal Mint in London and offered in exchange for the original medal, but the soldiers were now proud of their medals and few accepted the offer of exchange;
it is believed only about 37 from the 13th did so at first. In the following years a further ten also applied for the Flying Victory type, one as late as 1876. The initial batch of these medals, at least, were officially impressed with the names of the recipients.