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

Date of Auction: 18th & 19th July 2018

Sold for £5,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A rare and impressive Second World War Albanian operations M.M. group of six awarded to Private B. Hendry, Royal Berkshire Regiment, attached No. 2 Commando, 2nd Special Service Brigade, who, firing his Tommy gun from the hip, stormed and captured two enemy gun positions in an attack on Sarande in October 1944 - an operation carried out alongside local partisans

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (5337785 Pte. B. Hendry, R. Berks. R.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, good very fine and better (6) £4000-5000

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 15 March 1945.
The original recommendation states: ‘On 9 October 1944, during the assault by No. 2 Commando to capture a battery of 25-pounder guns protecting the port of Sarande, Albania, Private Hendry was a member of No. 3 Troop.
During the advance towards the objective the Troop, under Captain Parsons, M.C., suddenly came under heavy Spandau machine-gun fire and rifle grenade fire from a concealed emplacement forming part of the outer defences to the 25-pounder guns. Captain Parsons, M.C., and his second in command, Lieutenant Coyle, were both killed. Not daunted by this Private Hendry immediately charged the machine-gun emplacement and a further pit in which was a 20mm cannon, firing his Tommy machine-gun from the hip. Both positions were overrun with the enemy suffering a number of casualties in killed, wounded and captured.
Private Hendry showed bravery and initiative of a very high order which was an inspiration to all who saw it.’


Bernard Hendry attested for the Royal Berkshire Regiment and served with them during the Second World War before joining No. 2 Commando in all probability in the summer of 1943, when, as part of No. 2 Special Service Brigade, the unit was strengthened and ordered to the Mediterranean, going into action at Catania during the invasion of Sicily. Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. T. F. “Mad Jack” Churchill, D.S.O., M.C., a sword brandishing, bow and arrow marksman and legendary Commando C.O., No. 2 Commando was next assigned to the Salerno landings, in which operations it suffered heavy casualties.

Next ordered to the island of Vis in the Adriatic in January 1944, the Commando carried out regular operations against neighbouring islands off the coast of Yugoslavia, including four raids on the German garrison at Milna on the island of Hvar in January-February alone. And to add colour to the proceedings, their swashbuckling C.O. was sometimes accompanied by the pugnacious 71-year-old Admiral Sir Walter Cowan, Bt., K.C.B., D.S.O., M.V.O. - indeed the Admiral added a Bar to his Great War D.S.O. for just such operations. Alas, in yet another raid in June, “Mad Jack” was knocked unconscious and taken prisoner, command thereafter passing to another gallant leader, Lieutenant-Colonel F. W. Flynn, M.C.

Having then undertaken a parachute course back in Italy, No. 2 was ordered to carry out an attack on Spilje, the first of a number of operations in Albania. In fact the very next mission, against Sarande in October 1944, was to result in Hendry’s award of the M.M.,when yet further heavy casualties were incurred as a result of the German’s strength being estimated at around 200 men - in point of fact the enemy numbered closer to 2000 men. However, as a result of the capture of the Sarande, the German garrison on Corfu was cut off and surrendered.

Finally, in April 1945, No. 2 Commando played an important role in the Lake Comacchio operations, on which occasion posthumous V.Cs were won by Tom Hunter of the Commandos and Anders Lassen of the S.A.S. - No. 2 crossed Comacchio lagoon in assault boats on 1 April, and, having attacked the enemy from the rear, achieved all its objectives over the next few days.

Sold with copied research.