Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 & 20 July 2017)
Date of Auction: 19th & 20th July 2017
Sold for £700
Estimate: £700 - £900
The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, C.I.E., Companion’s 2nd type breast badge, gold and enamel; 1914-15 Star (A. J. Hughes, Dy. Dir. Postal Deptt.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Major A. J. Hughes.) C.I.E. missing reverse backplate, otherwise very fine (4) £700-900
FootnoteC.I.E. London Gazette 12 November 1920:
‘…in recognition of Meritorious Services in Mesopotamia, under the command of the late Lieut.-General Sir Stanley Maude, the appointment to date from 1st January, 1918.’
M.I.D. London Gazettes 21 June 1916; 1 December 1916; and 12 March 1918.
Alfred James Hughes was born in 1872, the son of the late Dr. James Hughes, Civil Surgeon, Nowgong, Assam. He joined the Post Office of India in 1895 and was appointed Probationary Superintendent attached to the Postmaster General’s Office, Calcutta. He was deputed to famine duty, Bombay, from March 1900 to November 1900, and again from August 1901 to May 1902. In November 1902, he was deputed to the Delhi Manoevres with the Northern Army, Persian Gulf Division. He was deputed as Chief Superintendent with the Somaliland Expeditionary Force from 24 January 1904, relieving Mr C. W. Wynch in June 1904 (but not entitled to the Africa General Service Medal).
During the Great War Hughes served with the Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian Expeditionary Forces, Royal Engineers and Indian Army Postal Services. From 12 October to 28 December 1914 (Suez Canal), Hughes was deputed to Field Service with the Indian Expeditionary Force, Egypt (Force E), with 11th Division, as Deputy Director in charge of Indian Field Post Offices, Egypt. He arrived in Egypt with Field Post Office 108 and set up base at Ismailia in November 1914, before leaving for Suez, where Hughes and McMinn set up Field Post Offices along the Suez Canal from Suez to Port Said. In his annual report for 1915-16, he commented that ‘at one time, we were serving twice as many British and Australian units as we were our own’ (in Suez). He was first mentioned in despatches by Lieutenant-General Sir J. A. Maxwell in August 1915 and again mentioned in General Sir A. J. Murray’s despatch of 13 October 1916 for operations of Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 1 June to 30 September 1916. He was appointed Director of Field Post Offices, Indian Expeditionary Force, Mesopotamia, from 3 March 1917, taking over from Lieutenant-Colonel A. B. Thomson, and in July 1917, was appointed temporary Major, Royal Engineers. He was mentioned in despatches for the third time by Lieutenant-General Sir S. Maude in November 1917 and for his Great War services was appointed a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire.
The Post Office of India in The Great War (Lieutenant-Colonel H. A. Sams) refers:
“The great Turkish attack on the Canal took place on 3rd February 1915, in full view of most of the Indian Field Post Offices along its banks; but in spite of the dangers of bursting shells and stray bullets, the staff enjoyed the novelty of the experience and never flinched in their duties. An uninterrupted mail service by rail and launch was maintained throughout operations.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Sams also had this to say about taking over the from Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes at Basrah in September 1917:
“At Basrah I found Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes, whom I was to succeed, Major Angelo. Captain Buckner, Officer Commanding Base Post Office, and Captain Probyn Smith among other officers of the Postal Service. In spite of the short time during which he had been in Mesopotamia Colonel Hughes had effected a marked improvement in the Service and, notably, had opened the Returned Letter Office to deal with returned letters.
His work during the most trying months of the year made my task comparatively simple, though there was still plenty to be done.”
In May 1924, Hughes was appointed and became Postmaster General, Bengal and Assam. He retired in 1927 from the Post Office of India and died in Isleworth, London, in 1948.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes is mentioned many times in The Post Office of India in The Great War. Appendix III of this work notes that he was awarded the C.I.E. and the O.B.E., but the O.B.E. is unconfirmed.
Sold together with various copied research along with several copy photographs.