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

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Date of Auction: 1st & 2nd March 2017

Sold for £3,200

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,600

A superb D.S.O. and Bar, O.B.E. group of eight awarded to Lieutenant Colonel G. S. Brighten, Liverpool Regiment, attached 2/5th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamel, with Second Award Bar and integral top riband bar; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) 2nd type, Officer’s breast badge, silver-gilt; 1914-15 Star (Lieut. G. S. Brighten, L’pool. R.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Lt.Col. G. S. Brighten.); Defence Medal; Belgium, Kingdom, Order of the Crown of Belgium, 5th class breast badge, silver and enamels; Belgium, Kingdom, Croix de Guerre, mounted as worn, good very fine (8) £2000-2600

Footnote

Provenance: Dr A. W. Stott Collection, D.N.W., March 1997.

D.S.O. London Gazette 26 November 1917, details 6 April 1918: Lieut. (Acting Lieut.-Colonel), Liverpool Regiment, ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When his battalion could advance no further owing to intense machine gun fire, he went forward and personally reorganised it and established a strong defensive line. Later, when this hostile fire slackened, he at once initiated an advance which gained a considerable amount of ground. Throughout, his admirable reports were of the greatest assistance. His ability, coolness, and grasp of the situation had a marked effect on all ranks.’

Bar to D.S.O. London Gazette 16 September 1918: Lieut. (Acting Lieut.-Colonel), Liverpool Regiment, attached Lancashire Fusiliers, ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy attack. He was commanding the battalion in reserve and employed it with such advantage that the attack was held up and the enemy repulsed with heavy loss, many prisoners being taken. His clever disposal of his forces and his fine example of coolness did much to restore the position.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 15 June 1916, 18 December 1917, and 27 December 1918.

O.B.E. London Gazette 15 December 1944.

George Stanley Brighten was born on 14 May 1890, and educated at Haileybury becoming a Solicitor at Brighten & Lemon. He enlisted at the age of 24 in the 20th Royal Fusiliers in September 1914, and was commissioned two months later into a territorial battalion of the Liverpool Regiment where he served as Adjutant. He succeeded Bertram Best-Dunkley as commanding officer of the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers. Brighten commanded from August 1917 to the armistice and was awarded the D.S.O. and Bar as commanding officer. He clearly demonstrated military perceptiveness, initiative, personal example, and organisational ability. Firstly, on the Menin Road, during the Third Battle of Ypres, when his battalion was held up by intense machine-gun fire, ‘he went forward and personally reorganised it and established a strong defensive line. Later, when this hostile fire slackened, he at once initiated an advance which gained a considerable amount of ground.’ It was considered that ‘his ability, coolness, and grasp of the situation had a marked effect on all ranks.’ Secondly, in April 1918 during the German Spring Offensive near Givenchy he employed his unit ‘with such advantage that the attack was held up and the enemy repulsed with heavy loss, many prisoners being taken. His clever disposal of his forces and his fine example of coolness did much to restore the position.’ This was all the more remarkable as Brighten had suffered a personal tragedy immediately prior to this action: his wife whom he had only married in October 1916 had died. His post-war career did not follow the same glowing trajectory, however. His legal practice was disolved and he was struck off the roll of solicitors in April 1932. In October that year, he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three year’s servitude. Bankrupt, he had embezzled a cheque for £202 2s 5d. from La Société Anonyme des Hotels et Casino de Deauville. He had also presented a number of dud cheques at Les Établissements Gastón Duperay in Brussels, passing himself off as an active serving officer. He wrote from Wormwood Scrubs: ‘To lose the rank I have had the honour to bear adds heavily to the existing punishment for my offence. There was a happier end to his tale, however, as the Second World War saw him a Colonel of the Home Guard, and he began to practise as a solicitor again. He died in 1954, a major shareholder and director of the famous Whiteley’s department store.