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

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Date of Auction: 25th & 26th November 2015

Sold for £420

Estimate: £400 - £500

A Great War M.C. awarded to Lieutenant R. F. Howship, East Surrey Regiment, who was decorated for his gallantry in the 12th Battalion’s costly crossing of the Courtrai-Bossuyt Canal at Knocke in October 1918

Military Cross, G.V.R., the reverse privately engraved, ‘R. F. Howship, 2nd Lt., 12th E. Surrey Regt., Knocke 22 Oct. 1918’, in its case of issue, lacquered, good very fine £400-500


M.C. London Gazette 4 October 1919:

‘On the 22 October, 1918, during an attack on Knokke, he led the company to the back of a strong enemy machine-gun post, and afterwards advanced and established a line 800 yards ahead. Finding his flank to be uncertain, he voluntarily carried out a most daring reconnaissance, and succeeded in locating a strong enemy post, all the while under incessant machine-gun fire. His fearless and cool leadership was a great inspiration to the company.’

Reginald Frank Howship, a native of Wallington, Surrey, enlisted in the London Regiment in December 1915 and first went to France in the 1/12th Battalion (The Rangers) in October 1916. Less than a month later he was attached to the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, from which unit he came home to an O.T.U. in late 1917.

Duly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment in May 1918, he returned to France on attachment to the 12th Battalion, where he won his M.C. for the above cited deeds at Knocke that October.

Howship, who was advanced to Lieutenant at the time of his demobilisation in 1919, served latterly in the 9th Battalion in the Army of Occupation in Cologne. Accompanying copied official correspondence reveals that the Infantry Record Office was trying to track his whereabouts in April 1920. His father wrote to say that his son had been admitted to the King Edward VII Sanatorium at Midhurst, Sussex, suffering from consumption ‘as a result of Army life.’ Moreover, his
MIC entry reveals that he never received his British War and Victory Medals, both being returned to the issuing office after repeated attempts to deliver them (reference ‘as per 992 K.R. 1923’).