Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (24 & 25 February 2016)

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Date of Auction: 24th & 25th February 2016

Sold for £1,900

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200

A good Great War Western Front D.S.O., Egypt operations O.B.E. group of six awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel S. Gubbins, Royal Fusiliers, late 5th Contingent, Victoria Mounted Rifles, who was decorated for his courageous leadership of the 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers in an attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in March 1916

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamels; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 1st type breast badge, silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1919; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 5 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (2/Lieut. S. Gubbins, Rl. Fus.); 1914-15 Star (Major S. Gubbins, R. Fus.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Lt. Col. S. Gubbins), mounted as worn, minor enamel damage to wreaths on the first, otherwise good very fine (6) £1800-2200

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 15 April 1916:

‘This officer commanded his Battalion in an attack, the success of which was due to the excellent organisation he had established in his Battalion, and to the fighting spirit he had fostered in it.’

O.B.E.
London Gazette 3 June 1919.

Stamer Gubbins was born in Co. Limerick, Ireland in 1882 but subsequently moved to Australia, where he was educated in Melbourne. Joining the 5th Contingent, Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1900, he served in South Africa during the Boer War and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers in 1902 (Queen’s Medal & 5 clasps).

Having then been seconded to the West African Frontier Force in Nigeria 1904-09, and been advanced to Major, Gubbins was embarked for France in June 1915, where he commanded the 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers from August of that year until May 1916.

It was during this period that he won his D.S.O. for the Battalion’s attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt (a.k.a. The Chord) on 2 March. On that occasion, the attack was launched at 5.45 p.m. with the detonation of seven mines, the largest of which was intended to wreck the bulk of The Chord. Certainly the earth thrown up by the mines partly covered the enemy’s wire, thereby allowing Gubbins’s men - and the neighbouring 8th Battalion - to gain access to the enemy’s defences, but not without significant loss. As stated in
The Royal Fusiliers in the Great War, the 9th Battalion ‘found many Germans in their sector of The Chord who, though dazed, did not surrender and had to be killed. There followed a number of fierce grenade fights, the Germans rushing down from the north end of The Chord and along the trenches leading from the east into it ... but the craters were held against enemy bombing attacks during the night.’

Gubbins, who was also mentioned in despatches (
London Gazette 15 June 1916, refers), later served in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, services that resulted in his award of the O.B.E. He died in 1940.