Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (9 & 10 May 2018)

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Date of Auction: 9th & 10th May 2018

Sold for £6,500

Estimate: £5,000 - £7,000

A rare ‘dated reverse’ Q.S.A. group of three awarded to Corporal J. H. McMullin, Lord Strathcona’s Horse, later Colonel, North British Columbia Regiment

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, dated reverse, 4 clasps, Natal, Orange Free State, Belfast, South Africa 1901, unofficial rivets between third and fourth clasps (384 Corl. J. H. Mc’Mullin, Ld. Strthcona’s H:); Jubilee 1935; Coronation 1937, mounted for wear, about extremely fine (3) £5000-7000


John Hugh McMullin was born in Madras, India, on 5 October 1868, the son of the Irish-born Colonel John McMullin, Indian Army, and was educated at Haileybury College. Commissioned Second Lieutenant in the East Surrey Regiment on 22 October 1887, he was promoted Lieutenant on 17 November 1888, before transferring to the 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars with the rank of Second Lieutenant on 31 December 1890. He was promoted Lieutenant on 13 April 1892, but because his means did not admit of his remaining in a Cavalry Regiment in a Home Station, and since he was unable to obtain an exchange to a Regiment serving in India, he was forced to resign his commission on 22 June 1892. He subsequently enlisted in the 1st (Royal) Dragoons on 11 August 1892, before transferring to the 2nd Life Guards on 15 November 1892. However, as service in the Life Guards held few prospects, and following an unsuccessful attempt by his father to secure him a position in the Indian Police Service, he obtained his discharge from the Life Guards on 17 June 1893 and emigrated to Western Canada, where he became a Rancher in the Okanagan region of British Colombia.

In January 1900, shortly after the outbreak of the Boer War, Lord Strathcona offered to raise and equip a mounted regiment in Canada at his own expense for service in South Africa, to be recruited primarily from the North West Mounted Police and the cowboys of Western Canada. McMullin enlisted in Lord Strathcona’s Horse at Vernon, B.C., on 9 February 1900, and arrived in Cape Town with the Regiment on 10 April 1900. Moving east up the coast to Durban in the Natal, they joined the 3rd Mounted Brigade in June 1900 and took part in General Buller’s pursuit of the Boers into the Transvaal. They subsequently saw action along the Vaal River and south into the Orange Free State before leaving the front line on 15 January 1901. They embarked at Cape Town on 20 January 1901, and arrived in London on 14 February, where they were met for the first time by their patron. They were accorded a Royal welcome, and 418 of the force were presented with their medals by King Edward VII. Arriving back in Canada on 9 March 1901 the force was disbanded, and McMullin was formally discharged at Ottawa on 16 March 1901 with the rank of Sergeant.

Returning to British Colombia, McMullin joined the British Colombia Police Force in October 1901, and rose through the ranks to Assistant Commissioner. He subsequently served as Government Agent at Fernie, before being appointed to the same role at Prince Rupert in 1910. He was involved in recruiting during the Great War, and was rewarded with the command of a post-War unit, the North British Colombia Regiment, with the rank of Colonel. In 1923 he was appointed Commissioner of the British Colombia Provincial Police. He retired in April 1939, and died in Victoria, B.C., on 11 May 1943.

Approximately 60 medals with the dated reverse were issued, mostly to men of Lord Strathcona’s Horse. At the time, the medals were issued without clasps, with the clasps subsequently being sent to Canada to be attached to the medals privately, with the South Africa 1901 clasp being sent later.

Sold with named Buckingham Palace Certificate for the Coronation Medal; copied discharge papers and medal roll extract; newspaper obituary notice, including a photograph of the recipient; and various other research.