Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 March 1997)

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Date of Auction: 25th March 1997

Sold for £800

Estimate: £500 - £600

A remarkable B.E.M. group of nine awarded to Corporal L. A. Easter, Royal Signals, who served with the Royal Marines during WWII, the French Foreign Legion in Indo-China, 22nd Special Air Service Regiment in Malaya, the Parachute Signal Squadron in Jordan, and the Trucial Oman Scouts in the Arabian Peninsula

British Empire Medal, E.II.R. (Military) for Meritorious Service (22844578 Cpl. Leonard A. Easter, R. Sigs.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Defence and War Medals; General Service 1918-62, 2 clasps, Malaya, Arabian Peninsula, naming details erased, original medal forfeited; France, Croix de Guerre des Theatres d’Operations Extérieurs, with bronze star; Medaille Coloniale, with bar ‘Extreme-Orient’; Medaille de la Campaigne d’Indochine, generally good very fine (9)

Footnote

B.E.M. (Military) London Gazette 13 June 1959. Awarded for services in Jordan 1958. The following details are taken from the 6th Field Force HQ & Signal Squadron History 1940-77: ‘Corporal Easter, for his devotion to duty in Jordan, was awarded the B.E.M. He manned the Brigade rear link to Cyprus alone and without a break for almost four days. He was at the time suffering from a combined attack of dysentry and malaria and, after collapsing at his set, was evacuated to hospital.’

Croix de Guerre awarded by the President of France, 17 September 1951. ‘An excellent marksman, remarkably cool and cold blooded. On 7 June 1951, at PHU-LY (Tonkin) he particularly distinguished himself during a skirmish by his unit with a Vietnamese mobile unit which was solidly entrenched. With his fire he stopped a flanking movement by the enemy causing the enemy serious losses.’ Permission to wear this award was granted in the
London Gazette during 1963.

Leonard Easter was born in Norfolk, England, on 1 June 1922. He began his remarkable service career when he enlisted in the Royal Marines on 8 March 1939. He served with No. 1 Coast Defence Battery (MNBDO), aboard H.M.S.
King George V, with 40 R.M. Commando, and on Field Security work until discharged in November 1946 as being ‘physically unfit for Royal Marines Service’. In January 1950, Easter enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and served in Indo-China as a Legionnaire 2nd class, fighting against Viet Minh forces in North Vietnam. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action at Phu-Ly on 7 June 1951. He was discharged from the Legion in January 1953 and immediately enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals on 10 February 1953. After serving for three years in the U.K., Easter was attached to 22 Special Air Service Regiment, serving with “D” Squadron in Malaya for two years. His service in Jordan during June to October, 1958, earned him the award of the B.E.M. whilst attached to the Parachute Signal Squadron. He subsequently served in the Arabian Gulf, attached to the Trucial Oman Scouts, with the British Army of the Rhine, and in Cyprus. In the rank of Sergeant, Easter was discharged ignominiously form the Army on 12 May 1964. The circumstances of his discharge are unknown but he was forced to forfeit his 2 clasp General Service Medal, although he was allowed to retain his well earned B.E.M.

The group is sold with several original documents including named forwarding letter for the B.E.M., Foreign Legion Certificate and citation for the award of the Croix de Guerre, two further Certificates for the French campaign medals, and various badges including British and French metal Parachute wings.