Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (11 & 12 December 2019)

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Date of Auction: 11th & 12th December 2019

Sold for £4,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

The rare Sudan campaign and Great War group of seven awarded to Admiral C. M. Staveley, C.B., C.M.G., Royal Navy, who commanded the gunboat Hafir in the Sudan campaign of 1898, was a landing officer at Gallipoli and later principal Beach-master at the evacuation at Anzac and Cape Helles; the last man to leave the beaches, he was mentioned in despatches and awarded the C.M.G. for the evacuation

Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Lt C. M. Staveley. R.N.); 1914-15 Star (Capt. C. M. Staveley, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Capt. C. M. Staveley. R.N.); France, Legion of Honour, Officer’s breast badge, gold and enamels; Greece, Order of the Redeemer, Officer’s breast badge, silver-gilt and enamels; Khedive's Sudan 1896-1908, 1 clasp, Khartoum (Lieut. C. M. Staveley. R.N.) mounted as worn, minor losses to enamel on foreign awards and light contact marks, otherwise nearly extremely fine (7) £4,000-£5,000


Only 17 Queen's Sudan 1896 medals awarded to officers and men of the Royal Navy.

C.B. London Gazette 3 June 1924.

G.M.G. London Gazette 14 March 1916: For the Gallipoli evacuation. He was also M.I.D. for the same date, the original recommendation stating:
‘The Naval arrangements for embarkation were placed in the hands of Captain C. M. Staveley, R.N., assisted by a staff of Naval officers at each place of embarkation.’

Cecil Minet Staveley was born 3 April 1874, youngest son of General Sir Charles Staveley, G.C.B. He was educated at Cheam School and H.M.S. Britannia, and was appointed Acting Sub-Lieutenant on 14 November 1893. Confirmed as Sub-Lieutenant on 4 January 1895, and Lieutenant on 2 April 1896, Staveley was Navigating Lieutenant of H.M.S. Hebe 1896-97. Attached to the Egyptian Army 1898-99, he was in command of the gunboat Hafir on the Nile during operations in the Sudan, including the battles of Atbara and Khartoum. Together with Major J. K. Watson, K.R.R.C., A.D.C to the Sirdar, he had the honour of hoisting the British flag over Gordon’s Palace at Khartoum, after the relief of that place on 4 September 1898. For these services he was mentioned in despatches by the Sirdar (Khedive’s Medal, Khartoum Clasp, and Queen’s Sudan Medal).

Staveley specialised in Signalling and Wireless-Signalling and was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Yacht Osborne in 1899. He was Flag-Lieutenant to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies, June 1899 to August 1902; also to Second-in-Command, Mediterranean, January to November, 1904; and to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, February 1905 to March 1907. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1902, and appointed Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in July 1905, for services on the Staff of Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, during the visit to Brest and Paris. He was promoted to Commander on 1 January 1907, and, as Commander of Cornwallis, accompanied the Spanish Army as an observer during the military operations at Melilla, Morocco, in October 1909. In the following year he travelled through the interior of Morocco.

Promoted to Captain on 31 December 1913, at the outbreak of the Great War he was serving with the Admiralty War Staff and played an important role during the Dardanelles Campaign, where he served as Landing Officer at Gallipoli and later principal Beach-master at the evacuation at Anzac and Cape Helles. Staveley was heavily involved in the planning of the evacuation and with Colonel Paton, was the last man to leave the beaches at 4.10 am on the 20 December 1915. According to The Australian Defence Force Journal No. 81 of March-April 1990:

“Captain C. M. Staveley RN was the senior Royal Navy Transport Officer and Principal Beach Master for the evacuation. It should never be forgotten that it was the Royal Navy which had to get the AIF safely off the beaches and away. Sometimes, one would be excused for thinking that the AIF got themselves away from Gallipoli; at least some historians would have us believe that, by their writings and their neglect of the Navy's role. Staveley and Captain A. D. E. H. Bovle of the Bacchante worked closely with the brilliant Brudenall White (later General Sir Brudenall White), chief AIF Planner. Together they worked out the remarkable evacuation plan. Covering the actual evacuation. Bean wrote - “Colonel Paton, with his staff officer Wisdom, Captain Staveley RN, Littler and one or two others embarked on Captain Staveley's small steam boat”. At ten past four, a sailor (presumably Staveley) gave the order “Let go all over-right away”. Geoffrey Searle, in his book Monash quotes the same order “Let go all over-right away”, which Monash had written in his diary letter to cover the last party remaining on shore. Colonel Paton was the last Army man to leave the shore, no doubt Staveley was the last man to step aboard his steamboat and give the final order.”

Staveley, who was appointed to the Command of H.M.S. Endymion in January 1916, was awarded the C.M.G. for these services London Gazette 14 March 1916, and further mentioned for distinguished and gallant services in Gallipoli during the period of General Sir Charles Munro’s command London Gazette 12 July 1916. After the Gallipoli evacuation he was Senior Officer of a detached Squadron in the Northern Aegean, 1916-18 (despatches thrice). Chief of Staff at the Nore, 1918, he was attached to staff of G.O.C.-in-C. British Salonica Force for the occupation of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus,1918 (despatches), and was then Naval Attaché at Constantinople during the Armistice, 1918-20. Later, he flew his flag in Valiant as Rear Admiral and A.D.C. to King George V. In addition to his British decorations, he was appointed an Officer of the Legion d'Honneur in 1918 and Officer of the Order of the Redeemer in 1919.

Appointed C.B. in June 1924, he was promoted Rear Admiral on 31 July 1924, and was Rear-Admiral in command of the First Battle Squadron 1925-26. Finally promoted Vice Admiral on 25 May 1929, he was placed on the retired list the following day, and made Admiral Retired in 1933. Admiral Staveley lived at Marnhull, Dorset, and died on 27 May 1934. He had married in 1919, Margaret, eldest daughter of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Doveton Sturdee, 1st Bart., and had two daughters and a son, who later became the well known Admiral of the Fleet, Sir William Staveley, G.C.B.