Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 March 1997)

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Date of Auction: 25th March 1997

Sold for £520

Estimate: £200 - £300

A Second World War campaign group of six awarded to Major Ian Fenwick, 1st Special Air Service Regiment and Army Air Corps, killed in action during operation ‘Gain’

1939-45 Star; Africa Star, clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf emblem, these all unnamed as issued but sold with named condolence slip (Major Ian Fenwick) extremely fine (6)


M.I.D. London Gazette 10 May 1945.

Ian Fenwick was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Leicestershire Yeomanry in 1937. After serving with the Royal Artillery and King’s Royal Rifle Corps, he joined the Special Air Service, having gained his wings with the Army Air Corps. He commanded “D” Squadron, 1st S.A.S., during operation ‘Gain’, parachuted into France on the night of 16th/17th June 1944, with six men. Working on foot some thirty to fifty miles south of Paris, in the gap between the Loire and the Seine, they proceeded to blow up railway lines and, working with the French Resistance, Fenwick’s party derailed many trains. This was all occurring too near the Gestapo’s Paris stamping ground to be long tolerable, and finally a double agent enabled the Gestapo to raid Fenwick’s base. On the 7th August, 1944, the base was surrounded by a large enemy force. The base party was successful in breaking out, while Ian Fenwick was out on an operational patrol at the time. On his way back he received garbled reports which must have indicated that most of his party had been captured. “It was typical of him” wrote another officer, “that his first thought should be for the safety of his men. It was in an attempt to relieve them immediately that, after successfully attacking an enemy column, he was ambushed in his jeep and killed instantaneously. Thus died a very gallant Englishman.”

Ian Fenwick was a noted cartoonist for
Punch and other magazines. The lot is sold with further research including a copy of his book Enter Trubshaw, which was published shortly after his death in 1944, with a Preface by David Niven who had been a friend of Fenwick since his childhood days.