Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (22 July 2016)

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Date of Auction: 22nd July 2016

Sold for £2,400

Estimate: £1,600 - £1,800

A Great War D.S.O. group of seven awarded to Colonel G. J. Houghton, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was decorated for his command of 112 Field Ambulance on the Western Front and afterwards mentioned in despatches for his services in the Iraq operations of 1919-20

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamel; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 5 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Lieut. G. J. Houghton, R.A.M.C.), re-engraved naming; 1914-15 Star (Major G. J. Houghton, R.A.M.C.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Col. G. J. Houghton); General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Iraq (Lt. Col. G. J. Houghton); Belgian Croix de Guerre 1914-18, mounted court-style as worn, generally very fine or better (7) £1600-1800


D.S.O. London Gazette 1 January 1918.

George John Houghton was born at Rathmines, Dublin in September 1873 and was commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps in April 1900. He quickly witnessed active service in South Africa, where he was present in operations in the Transvaal in May-December 1901, and in the Orange River Colony in January-May 1902 (Queen’s Medal & 5 clasps).

Advanced to Captain in April 1903 and to Major in January 1912, in which period he served in India and West Africa, Houghton went to France in May 1915, where he commanded No. 112 Field Ambulance from December of the same year until May 1918. He was afterwards on the Staff and gained advancement to the acting rank of Colonel at the war’s end. The award of his D.S.O. aside, he was twice mentioned in despatches (
London Gazettes 29 May and 24 December 1917, refer), and was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre (London Gazette 4 September 1919, refers).

He subsequently witnessed further active service in the Iraq operations 1919-20 (Medal & clasp), when he commanded a Field Ambulance and was present at the relief of Kufah and was awarded another “mention” (
London Gazette 9 September 1921, refers). Having then held appointments in India 1919-25, in the British Army on the Rhine 1925-26 and in Egypt 1926-28, he was placed on the Retired List in the rank of Colonel in September of the latter year. He died at Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire in November 1946.

During the course of his extensive travels - in West Africa and Mesopotamia - the Colonel is believed to have undertaken some exploration and to have collected a number of insect specimens, some of which are believed to be held at The Natural History Museum.

Sold with an original 55 Infantry Brigade Pennant, as used in Iraq in 1919-20, and as presented to the recipient by Brigadier-General H. A. Walker, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., with inscribed presentation plaque which lists Houghton as ‘O.C. 39 C.F.A., Kufah, November 1920’; together with the recipient’s sword belt, cross-belt and pouch, and a ‘rolled gold’ cigarette case, the interior inscribed, ‘To Colonel G. J. Houghton, D.S.O., From the South African War Veterans, On His Retirement, As a Token of Love and Appreciation of His Services, Jan. 20th 1939.’