Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (1 & 2 March 2017)

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Date of Auction: 1st & 2nd March 2017

Sold for £460

Estimate: £300 - £400

An O.B.E., Kaisar-i-Hind group of three to Major Sir Alfred Pickford, Calcutta Light Horse, and sometime Sheriff of Calcutta

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Civil) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge, silver-gilt; Kaisar-i-Hind, G.V.R., 2nd class, 2nd type, silver, with integral top riband bar; Volunteer Force Long Service, G.V.R. (Major A. D. Pickford, C. Lt. Horse.) mounted court style for display purposes, nearly extremely fine £300-400


O.B.E. London Gazette 9 January 1946.

Kaisar-i-Hind, 1st Class in Gold London Gazette 1 January 1919.

Sir Alfred Donald Pickford was born on 20 May 1872, the son of C. H. Pickford Esq., and was educated at George Watson’s College and Fettes College, Edinburgh. He spent 29 years in business in India, of which 20 were spent in Calcutta, and he became the senior partner in the firm Begg, Dunlop & Co. He was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal for his services during the Great War, having served for three years in the Bengal Legislative Council, and was appointed Sheriff of Calcutta in 1920, receiving the customary knighthood at the end of his year in office. The following year he was elected to the Indian Legislative Assembly. He also served as a Major with the Calcutta Light Horse.

Sir Alfred was a major figure in the boy scouting movement, and served as the Chief Commissioner for India from 1919-21, and toured India with Baden-Powell. He returned to England in 1922, and served as the Boy Scouts Headquarters Commissioner for Overseas Scouts from 1922-29, and as Commissioner for Development, 1930-32. In January 1940 he was appointed Commissioner for Publicity, and it was for this role that he was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1946 New Year’s Honours List. Standing at six feet four inches, and wearing a monocle, the result of a childhood accident on Kensington High Street that left him with a glass eye, he was a larger-than-life character in more ways than one. He died, unmarried, on 7 October 1947.

Sold with copied research, including the recipient’s lengthy obituary from The Scouter.

Note: Sir Alfred Pickford’s Volunteer Force Long Service Medal (included in this lot) sold separately in these rooms in December 2005, as part of the Alan Wolfe Collection. Another group, comprising the O.B.E., the Kaisar-i-Hind 1st Class medal in Gold; the Delhi Durbar medal 1911 in silver; and a named Indian Volunteer Forces Decoration, is known to exist.