Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (18 & 19 July 2018)

Date of Auction: 18th & 19th July 2018

Sold for £5,500

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A rare Niger 1897 and Great War D.S.O. group of six awarded to Brigadier-General E. I. de S. Thorpe, Bedfordshire Regiment

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamels; East and West Africa 1887-1900, 1 clasp, Niger 1897 (Lieut. E. I. De S. Thorpe. Bedf: R.); 1914 Star, with clasp (Major E. I. De S. Thorpe. Bedf: R.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Brig. Gen. E. I. De S. Thorpe.); Royal Niger Company Medal 1886-97, clasp, Nigeria 1886-1897 (Captain E. I. De S. Thorpe. Bedfordshire Regiment) impressed naming, mounted as worn, very fine or better (6) £4000-5000

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 1 January 1917.

C.M.G. London Gazette 1 January 1919: ‘For services rendered in connection with military operations in France and Flanders.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 17 February 1915, 1 January 1916, 4 January 1917, 22 May 1917, and 5 July 1919.

Edward Ivan de Sausmarez Thorpe was born on 10 September 1871, son of Captain Thomas Edward Thorpe, Madras Infantry, of Choisi, Guernsey. He was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the Bedfordshire Regiment on 20 February 1892; Lieutenant, 14 November 1893; Captain, 28 October 1899; Major, 21 September 1912; Lieutenant-Colonel, Bedf. and Herts. Regiment, 16 October 1917.

Served in operations on the Niger in 1897, including expeditions to Egbon and Bida (Despatches London Gazette 11 June 1897. Medal with clasp). He served in France with the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment from 16 August 1914; commanded a battalion of the Border Regiment from June 1915 to October 1917, and then commanded a battalion of the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment until, in April 1918, he was appointed to command the 152nd Brigade, but within a few weeks was transferred to the 107th Brigade. In September 1918 the brigade held a sector around Ploegsteert Wood, the brigade diary recording that on the 13th, ‘Brigadier-General E. I. De S. Thorpe was wounded in the front line about 11 p.m.’ He was in fact shot by one of his own men, as described in the divisional history: ‘General Thorpe, commanding the 107th Brigade, had gone up with General Brock (Div. B.G.R.A., who took command of 107th Brigade on 23 September) on the night of the 13th to visit Hill 63 and the sentry posts north of it. Moving along Winter Trench he was suddenly fired at from point-blank range by one of his own men and severely wounded in the arm, his elbow being shot away... He was able to return to the command of his regiment after the war, but with an arm well-nigh useless for life.’

Brigadier-General Thorpe retired from the army in 1922, and died on 16 January 1942.