Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (24 & 25 February 2016)
Date of Auction: 24th & 25th February 2016
Sold for £3,400
Estimate: £1,600 - £1,800
The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, C.M.G., Companion’s breast badge, gold and enamel, swivel-ring suspension, complete with riband buckle; The Royal Victorian Order, M.V.O., Member’s 4th Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, the reverse officially numbered ‘238’; Ashantee 1873-74, no clasp (Lt. J. L. Burr, R.N., H.M.S. Argus, 73-74); Coronation 1902, silver, the third with one or two edge bruises, otherwise very fine and better (4)
FootnoteC.M.G. London Gazette 20 June 1899:
‘For commanding Her Majesty’s Ship Intrepid during the recent revolution at Blewfields.’
M.V.O. London Gazette 10 May 1904:
‘On the occasion of King Edward VII’s visit to Ireland in 1904.’
John Leslie Burr was born in August 1847, the son of Charles Burr of Luton House, Bedfordshire. Entering the Royal Navy as a cadet in January 1861, he was advanced to Sub. Lieutenant in November 1867 and to Lieutenant in February 1872, in which latter rank he lent valuable service in H.M.S. Argus during the Ashantee War of 1873-74, being twice mentioned in despatches.
Further accolades were to follow in 1879, when he received the thanks of the Foreign Office, Admiralty and Government of Sierra Leone; with command of the Pioneer, he went 700 miles up the Niger with gifts for the Emir of Nupi (Thanks of the Foreign Office and Governor of the Gold Coast), and in the same expedition bombarded and captured Onitsha, settled disputes and re-opened trade (Thanks, together with testimonial plate, from the Africa Company).
Advanced to Commander in June 1887, Burr received a ‘handsome piece of plate’ from the directors of the P. & O. Company for his valuable services when in command of the Porpoise in rescuing survivors of the wreck of the S.S. Bokhara, lost on Sand Island, Pexadores in October 1892.
Advanced to Captain in January 1894, he was awarded the C.M.G. for his command of the Intrepid during the revolutions at Blewfields, Nicaragua and in Honduras in 1899. Situated at the mouth of the River Escondido, Blewfields was an old British settlement and protectorate over the Miskito Indians. With the arrival of many southerners from the United States to escape the ‘Reconstruction’ after 1865, their presence increased tensions with the British and Nicaraguans and climaxed in 1894 when Santos Zelaya claimed sovereignty over the community. The U.S.A. sided with Zelaya to try and oust the British but the conflict between the American ‘southerners’ and the Nicaraguan President remained. In fact Blewfields became a hotbed of revolution, into which scenario Burr and the Intrepid were cast in 1899.
Placed on the Retired List in August 1902, Burr was appointed Captain of the Port of Holyhead, in which capacity he was awarded the M.V.O. on the occasion of King Edward VII’s visit to Ireland in 1904. Otherwise a J.P. for Anglesey, he was advanced to Rear-Admiral on the Retired List in June 1905 and died at Government House, Holyhead in November 1917; sold with copied research.