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

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Date of Auction: 1st & 2nd March 2017

Sold for £1,800

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

Family group:

Ten: Brigadier T. Macleod, Royal Artillery, who served on Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and who was taken P.O.W. on the Colony’s fall in December 1941, whilst commanding all Royal Artillery units
1914-15 Star (Capt. T. MacLeod. R.F.A.); British War and Victory Medals (Major T. MacLeod); 1939-45 Star; Pacific Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, these four privately engraved, ‘Brigadier T. MacLeod’; Civil Defence Long Service, E.II.R., privately engraved, ‘Brig. T. MacLeod’; Jubilee 1935, privately engraved, ‘Major T. MacLeod, R.A.’; Coronation 1937, privately engraved, ‘Lieut. Col. T. MacLeod, R.A.’, mounted as worn, the Great War awards polished, thus fine or better, the remainder very fine or better

Six: Mrs. Winifred MacLeod, Hong Kong Volunteer Nursing Service, late Voluntary Aid Detachment and Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, who, in common with her husband, was taken captive at the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941
British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaves (S.M.P. W. M. Freeman, Q.A.I.M.N.S.); 1939-45 Star; Pacific Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, together with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps Medal, silver, obverse, entwined dragons with crown above, reverse, engraved, ‘H.K.V.D.C., Nursing Detachment, W. M. MacLeod’, this on Spink & Son brooch-bar for wearing, official correction to ’S.M.P’ on the second, very fine or better

Three: Lieutenant T. C. MacLeod, Royal Artillery, who was killed in action at the first battle of Alamein in July 1942
1939-45 Star; Africa Star; War Medal 1939-45, all privately engraved, ‘Lieutenant T. C. MacLeod, R.H.A.’, good very fine (19) £800-1000

Footnote

Torquil MacLeod was born in Calcutta in August 1888, the son of Kenneth MacLeod, a Brigade Surgeon in the Indian Medical Service. Commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in July 1907, he was advanced to Lieutenant in July 1910 and to Captain shortly after the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. He first went to France in the summer of 1915 but as a consequence of being wounded, he was invalided home in July 1916. He subsequently witnessed active service as a Brigade Major in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, from November 1917 until October 1918.

Between the Wars he gained advancement to Lieutenant-Colonel in June 1935 and to Colonel in June 1938, and he was serving as a Temporary Brigadier and C.R.A. in Hong Kong at the renewal of hostilities in September 1939. He also served on the colony’s Legislative Council. In The Guns & Gunners of Hong Kong, by Denis Rollo, extensive extracts from a war diary are quoted, a diary complied in secrecy at the behest of MacLeod whilst he was held at Argyle Street Prison Camp in Hong Kong. Thus a full account of the fate that befell his assorted artillery units in the desperate fighting of December 1941.

Following his capture, MacLeod was interviewed by Lieutenant-General Kitajima, the Japanese G.O.C., who described the work of the R.A. as ‘ably directed but inaccurate’. The Brigadier also receives mention in South to Bataan, North to Mukden, the wartime memoirs of Brigadier-General E. W. Brougher, an American and fellow guest of the Japanese. In it MacLeod is credited with lending the General a number of clothing items while he was suffering from flu - ‘A godsend to me without a thread of wool to my name. He is a Scotchman too! But a grand chap.’

The Brigadier was placed on the Retired List on his eventual repatriation from the so-called ‘Hellcamps’ of Taiwan. He died in November 1976, having, it would appear, moved south to Halsted, Essex.

Winifred Mary ‘Susan’ MacLeod (née Freeman), the wife of Brigadier Torquil MacLeod, was born at Cambridge House, Haverhill, Suffolk in October 1892. Having attended a special course at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, she was mobilised as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment and served at No. 19 General Hospital in Alexandria from January 1918 until the War’s end. She married Torquil MacLeod at Church Langton, Leicestershire in August 1919, at which point he was serving as a Major in the Royal Field Artillery.

Having joined the Hong Kong Volunteer Nursing Detachment in the mid-to-late 1930s, she was taken captive by the Japanese in December 1941. Whether she was among the nursing staff at St. Stephen’s College, when the Japanese stormed the building on Christmas Day 1941, remains unknown. Yet by way of illustrating the dangers faced by such nursing staff, the following extract is quoted from Second to None: The Story of the Hong Kong Volunteers, by Phillip Bruce:

‘Early on Christmas morning, as fighting was still going on, the Japanese stormed the main building of St. Stephen’s College where an emergency hospital had been set up. The hospital was under the Command of Lieutenant-Colonel G. D. R. Black of Volunteer headquarters. With him was a captain, named Whitney, from the Royal Army Medical Corps, a sister from the Military Hospital, and European and Chinese nurses, including those of the Nursing Detachment of the Volunteers. There were also nurses of the St. John Ambulance Brigade.

On rushing into the hospital, the frenzied Japanese troops started bayoneting the wounded men, driving their bayonets clear through the wounded and the mattresses underneath. When Lieutenant-Colonel Black tried to stop them by blocking a door-way, he was immediately shot and bayoneted dozens of times as he lay on the floor. The same thing happened to Whitney. Soon all the 56 patients in the main hall had been slaughtered. Some managed to hide, including Company Sergeant-Major Begg who had been one of the three survivors of the Eucliff massacre.

The following day, the surviving wounded and the orderlies, about 40 in all, were confined to a small upper floor. As the day went on, a few died, while the remainder were taken out and killed. At about 5 p.m. a Japanese officer told the survivors that Hong Kong had surrendered, which was lucky for them. The walking wounded were made to carry the dead bodies to a large fire which had been made during the evening out of school desks.

The women were raped repeatedly, three Volunteer nurses being amongst those who died. Again a Japanese officer told those who managed to survive that they were lucky that Hong Kong had surrendered.’

Post-war, she and her husband settled in St. Andrews, where she was Commandant of Fife No. 2 Detachment of the Red Cross 1948-51 and was an Area President for the following ten years. She died in October 1970.

Torquil Charles MacLeod was born in St. Marylebone, London in August 1920, the son of Brigadier Torquil MacLeod. Having been commissioned in the Royal Artillery, he was killed in action in the first battle of Alamein on 4 July 1942, aged 21, whilst serving in the 3rd Regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery. He had no known grave and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

Sold with a quantity of original family documentation, including birth and marriage certificates, and numerous portrait photographs (one or two framed and glazed), the whole contained in a black tin storage case bearing the Brigadier’s name.