Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (17 & 18 July 2019)

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Date of Auction: 17th & 18th July 2019

Sold for £3,200

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

A Second War K.B.E., C.B., Great War 1917 ‘French theatre’ M.C. group of fourteen awarded to Major-General Sir Noel G. Holmes, East Yorkshire Regiment, late Royal Irish Regiment, who after being wounded and four times Mentioned in Despatches during the Great War went on to serve as Director of Movements at the War Office, 1940-43, and as Deputy Quarter Master General at the War Office, 1943-46

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, K.B.E. (Military) Knight Commander’s 2nd type set of insignia, comprising neck badge and breast star, silver, silver-gilt and enamels; The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel; Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (Lieut. N. G. Holmes R. Ir. Regt.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. Oak Leaves (Major N. G. Holmes.); Burma Star; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; France, Third Republic, Legion of Honour, Officer´s breast Badge, 55mm including wreath suspension x 40mm, silver-gilt and enamel, with rosette on riband; United States of America, Legion of Merit, Commander’s neck badge, gilt and enamel, reverse engraved ‘Neol [sic] G. Holmes’; France, Croix de Guerre, with bronze palm, the reverse dated ‘1939’, all housed in a glazed Spink & Son, display case, traces of verdigris overall, generally very fine (14) £3,000-£4,000


K.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1946.

C.B. London Gazette 2 June 1943.

C.B.E. London Gazette 11 July 1940.

M.C. London Gazette 4 June 1917.

United States of America, Legion of Merit, Commander London Gazette 20 March 1947.

Noel Galway Holmes was born in Galway, Ireland in December 1891, and educated at Bedford School. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Regiment in May 1912. Holmes advanced to Lieutenant in September 1914, and served during the Great War with the Regiment in the French theatre of war from December 1914. He served as Temporary Captain, January 1915 - September 1916, and as A.D.C. to the Divisional Commander, Home Forces and France, November 1915 - February 1916.

Holmes served as a General Staff Officer 3 in France, February 1916 - July 1917, and as Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General in the same theatre, July 1917 - October 1918 and November 1918 - January 1919 (wounded, Brevet Major, M.C. and four times M.I.D.). He advanced to Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, and served as Assistant Adjutant and Quarter Master General, Eastern Command, February - April 1919. Holmes served as Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General, Rhine Army, May 1919 - May 1921, and as A.A. & Q.M.G., British Upper Silesian Force, 29 May 1921 - 11 July 1922. He transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1922, and after similar postings with the Rhine Army transferred as a Staff Officer to the Scottish Command in 1928.

Holmes served as Brigade Major, Eastern Command, January 1929 - March 1932, and as a General Staff Officer 2, Southern Command, India, September 1933 - September 1937 (Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel). Before he left for India he represented Ireland at Tennis in the Davis Cup in 1930. Holmes commanded the 1st Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, 1938-1939, and was appointed Acting Major-General, Director of Movements at the War Office, 19 June 1940. In this capacity he attended Chiefs of Staff conferences at Washington, Quebec, Cairo, Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam.

Holmes was promoted Major-General in 1943, and served as Deputy Quarter Master General at the War Office, 1943-1946. He retired in 1946, and resided at 59 Braemore Road, Hove, Sussex. Major-General Holmes died in December 1982.

Entitled to 1939-45 Star, despite recipient’s entry for ‘Who Was Who’ - which specifically lists his Second War Medals as they appear in the display case.