Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (17 & 18 May 2016)

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Date of Auction: 17th & 18th May 2016

Sold for £5,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

An outstanding Second World War D.C.M. group of eight awarded to Sergeant A. Cole-Evans, 1st Royal Dragoons (R.A.C.), late 4/7th Dragoon Guards, onetime attached 51 (Middle East) Commando, who was decorated for his gallantry in France in the summer of 1944: on 1 September, ‘though greatly outnumbered, he fought his way to the bridge over the Somme in an attempt to prevent it being blown. He was badly wounded in the leg but continued to direct his section for some time and was responsible for killing about 30 of the enemy and causing many more to surrender in the village’

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (404474 Sjt. A. Evans, The Royals); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Canal Zone (22772062 Sgt. A. Cole-Evans The Royals), this last with its named card box of issue, together with a set of related miniature dress medals (excluding the ‘Canal Zone’ G.S.M.), , good very fine (15) £5000-6000

Footnote

D.C.M. London Gazette 29 March 1945. The recommendation original states:

'On 31 August 1944, the Troop of which Sergeant Evans was a member approached the Southern outskirts of Grusmenil during the advance to the Somme. The village was found to be strongly held by the enemy and the Troop came under heavy fire from machine-guns and mortars. Sergeant Evans left the leading car and advanced alone towards the village and was able to get valuable information about the enemy. While he was returning, still under heavy fire from machine-guns, he saw a wounded British soldier lying in the ditch. On further investigation he found an officer and three men, all seriously wounded who had been there for some considerable time. He applied first aid to all the wounded and then went back for a stretcher party which he guided back.

During the whole time Sergeant Evans showed complete disregard for his own safety, though under constant and accurate fire. He undoubtedly saved the lives of the wounded men. During the whole time the Regiment has been operating, Sergeant Evans has shown exemplary courage and energy on operations. On several occasions he has lifted mines and dealt with booby traps under fire, which had been holding up the advance of our infantry. On 1 September he led his Section on foot into Picquigny where there were still a large number of German infantry. Though greatly outnumbered, he fought his way to the bridge over the Somme in an attempt to prevent it being blown. He was badly wounded in the leg but continued to direct his section for some time and was responsible for killing about 30 of the enemy and causing many more to surrender in the village.’

Amwell Cole-Evans was born in Swansea in August 1911 and enlisted in the 4/7th Dragoon Guards in January 1931. Having then been placed on the Army Reserve in January 1937 - following a conviction for being absent without leave - he was mobilised in September 1939 and joined the 1st Royal Dragoons in Palestine; he quickly faced a District Court Martial for using insubordinate language to his superior officer but the sentence was remitted and he returned to duty in March 1940.

A period on attachment to No. 51 (Middle East) Commando followed and he served in Egypt, Libya and Syria in 1941-43, prior to being embarked for Italy. Returning to the U.K. in early 1944, he landed with the 1st Royals in Normandy in late July, in which theatre of war he remained actively employed until being seriously wounded by a gunshot to his thigh while winning his D.C.M. on 1 September. He received his award at Buckingham Palace in February 1946 and was discharged to the Royal Army Reserve in the following month.

A month or two later he re-enlisted and was granted his war substantive rank of Sergeant in the 1st Royals, in which capacity he served in the Canal Zone in 1952-54. Finally discharged in October 1957, he died in Swansea in November 2004, aged 93 years.

Sold with some 20 or so photographs, the majority of regimental reunion interest, together with related menus, etc.; and two original certificates, one for his services in the 1st Royal Dragoons from October 1939 to September 1957, and the other for First Aid from the S.J.A.B. (Priory of Wales), dated February 1960; together with copied service record which contains confirmation of his ‘Canal Zone’ G.S.M.