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

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Date of Auction: 1st & 2nd March 2017

Sold for £3,600

Estimate: £3,000 - £3,600

A rare Burma Campaign Gold D.S.O. pair to Captain Alexander Campbell, C.I.E., D.S.O., Royal Indian Marine

Distinguished Service Order, V.R., gold and enamel, with integral top riband bar, reverse of top bar with slide fitting to facilitate mounting; India General Service 1854-95, 1 clasp, Burma 1885-7 (Captn. A. Campbell, H.M. I.M.S.), nearly extremely fine (2) £3000-3600


D.S.O. London Gazette 20 May 1887 Alexander Campbell, Capt, R.I.M. 'For operations in Burma.'

The recommendation, made by Sir Charles Bernard, Chief Commissioner, Burma, to General the Hon. G. Chesney, states: 'I wish to bring to your notice the good services done by Officers of the Indian Marine in Upper Burma during the last 16 months. They have been partly under the Military Authorities, and their work has been highly appreciated by the soldiers. Since none of the Marine Officers received recognition for their services while soldiers, navy men and civilians have been more or less honoured in the ‘Upper Burma Campaign Gazette’, and on the occasion of the Jubilee. As I am leaving Burma for good I wish to recommend to your notice two men who have come most to the front among Indian Marine Officers: Captain Alexander Campbell. He was Transport Officer with the Expedition, arranged marshalling etc. of steamers, was Transport Officer at Mandalay for months. Did well and gave satisfaction all round, while at the same time holding his own. General Prendergast spoke highly of his work. But none but naval men knew the difficulties of conducting 28 steamers, with flats, smoothly and regularly up a shallow river without pilots. The Irrawaddy, Kathleen and Marine Survey Party helped, but Captain Campbell was the real Commodore, or sailing-master of the fleet.'

Captain Alexander Campbell, C.I.E., D.S.O. (1839-1914), born Ballyatton, Country Down, Ireland; employed as an Apprentice aboard the Acadia from 1854, and served in this vessel until 1858; appointed Third Officer in the Delgancy, 1858; served as 2nd Officer in the Barousmore, and was one of the 19 survivors when she foundered in a cyclone in 1863; joined the Indian Marine as a 1st Grade Officer for service in the Clyde, August 1865; subsequent service included in the Coromandel and the Sir John Lawrence; promoted Commander, August 1867 and served in a number of vessels over the following three years before being appointed Dock Master at Karachi Dockyard, September 1880; he also carried out duties of Superintendent of Marine; appointed Port Officer Rangoon, 1883, and Staff Officer Bombay Dockyard the following year; he served as Transport Officer Calcutta, from October 1885; in this capacity he was employed in connection with the 1885-87 Burma Expeditionary Force; Campbell subsequently received the following appointments: Acting Deputy Director Indian Marine, May 1886; Staff Officer Bombay Dockyard, April 1887; Officiating Director Indian Marine, May 1887; Deputy Director Indian Marine, Bombay,November 1888; Officiating Director Indian Marine, Bombay, May 1890; Deputy Director Karachi Dockyard, August 1890; Officiating Director Bombay Dockyard, October 1891; Deputy Director Karachi Dockyard, October 1891; retired 1894 (created C.I.E. October 1893); in later life he resided at Rathgael, Bedford.

Only three Officers of the Royal Indian Marine were recommended for any form of reward for their services during the Burma Campaign 1885-87. Of these men only one, Captain Alexander Campbell, received a decoration, the other two being promoted in rank.