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

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Date of Auction: 25th & 26th November 2015

Sold for £1,700

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,400

A rare Great War Palestine operations M.C. group of four awarded to Lieutenant L. L. Blake, Royal Engineers, who was decorated for gallant work in support of the battle of Megiddo, his unit being charged with the demolition of road and rail bridges over the Jordan: Lawrence of Arabia added to the Turks’ misfortune by calling in the Royal Flying Corps who flew numerous missions in support of the same operations

Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (2 Lieut. L. L. Blake, R.E.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. L. L. Blake), good very fine (4) £1200-1400


M.C. London Gazette 4 October 1919:

‘For gallantry and devotion to duty on 21 September 1918, when in command of one of two parties organised to destroy the railway and road bridges over the Jordan at Jisr El Mejamie. During the work of preparation the officer in charge of the other party was wounded. He then took charge of both parties and completed the work in a most efficient and expeditious manner.’

Llewellyn Lloyd Blake was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in March 1915 and first witnessed active service in France, where he arrived in late May of the same year.

His subsequent award of the M.C. was in respect of operations in the Palestine campaign in September 1918, when he was serving in 4th Field Squadron, R.E., attached 4th Cavalry Division, which unit was charged with blocking off potential rail and road crossings that might be used by Turks fleeing the scene of the battle of Megiddo.
The History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, takes up the story:

‘Three special demolition parties were organized to destroy the road and rail bridges including those over the Jordan at Jisr el Majami, south of Galilee. Training in rapid demolition was given and special charges for bridges, with iron dogs and rope ladders for placing them in position, were carried by pack animals. To supplement the reduced scales of equipment carried by the leading echelons of field troops, a provisional mobile park with lorry transport was organized to follow up in the rear. The 4th and 5th Field Squadrons were brought up to strength on their way to concentration areas. On arrival the field squadrons marked the cavalry routes to the Auja and built two more pontoon bridges ... ’

The same source continues:

‘[At the battle of Megiddo], the first objective of the Desert Mounted Corps was the line Tul-Karm-Caesarea, twenty miles from the old British front. On the right the 4th Cavalry Division was then to move by the Musmus Pass to El Affule, where the railway junction and the Nablus-Damascus road were to be blocked; on by the Valley of Jezreel to Beisan, from which various Jordan crossings could be stopped; and Jisr el Majami to occupy more crossings of the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers ... Captain Falcon’s demolition party of the 4th Field Squadron, after a short rest, marched across rough and hilly country during the night [of 20 September 1918] to Jir el Majami. The Jordan was reached at 5 a.m. on the 21st and the road and rail bridges to Dera on both the Jordan and the Yarmuk were prepared for demolition.’

Here, then, the point at which Blake won his M.C., several of these crossings being manned by Turkish troops; sold with an original portrait photograph, taken in later life, and a quantity of copied research; his
MIC states that he was eligible for the Silver War Badge and that his campaign medals were sent to him at Shanklin Villa, Hornchurch Road, Romford, Essex, in early 1922.