Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria. To coincide with the OMRS Convention (19 September 2003)

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Date of Auction: 19th September 2003

Sold for £150

Estimate: £200 - £250

An interesting infantry officers sword having been worn by two officers, Captain Leonard Herbert Sweet, 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment and No. 29 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, who was killed in action in aerial combat over the Ypres Salient 22nd June 1916, and by Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard William Miller, D.S.O., M.C., King’s Liverpool Regiment, who won an outstanding Military Cross on the Western Front

An 1897 pattern Infantry officer’s sword, blade 82cm by Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, London, etched with GVR cypher, Royal Arms, foliage &c., additionally etched ‘LIEUT. COL. G. W. MILLER D.S.O. M.C.’, plated steel guard with GVR cypher, fish-skin covered grip bound with copper wire, in its leather covered field service scabbard, with Sam Browne frog, excellent condition throughout £200-250

Footnote

Sword sold by Wilkinson to L. H. Sweet, 27th February 1913, and presumably purchased by the second owner during or after the Great War.

Leonard Herbert Sweet, son of the Reverend & Mrs Sweet, of Simonsbury Rectory, Bridport, Dorset, was educated at Sherborne and Sandhurst. Gazetted to the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment in March 1913, he fought at Le Cateau and took part in the retreat from Mons. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in December 1914, an original member of No. 29 Squadron R.F.C., and gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate (No. 1622) on 20 August 1915. On 25 March 1916, the squadron of 10 DH2’s were flying from Gosport to Dover en route to France when bad weather overtook them. The first casualty was Captain Sweet, whose DH2 was forced to land at Shoreham when an exhaust valve and tappet rod broke, breaking the propellor, pieces of which went through the top plane. After this mishap, Sweet finally joined the squadron in France on 6th April 1916, when he flew DH2 (No. 5975) from Dover to St Omer, en route to the squadron’s aerodrome at Abeele,Belgium. On 22 June 1916, at 11-10 a.m. Captain Sweet left the aerodrome flying FE8 ( No. 6378) and was later shot down by enemy aircraft, N.W. of Ypres. Captain Sweet is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Gerard William Miller, born 7 February 1895, son of T. B. Miller, of Saville Row, London, was educated at Shrewsbury and at Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Liverpool Regiment in August 1914. He is remembered in the regiment, for a particular incident, which earned him his Military Cross, on 10 March 1915, whilst forming a trench barricade ...using his rifle as a club Lieut. Miller attacked the foremost German furiously, the trench was so narrow that only one man could attack at a time and this hampered the Germans. Wielding his rifle with great effect the young officer gradually drove the enemy back, his rifle broke, he seized another, this also broke in his hands, he then snatched up a spade and fought on with that. In the meantime his remaining men had torn down the parapet and formed a barricade behind him, and although wounded, he made a final effort, drove the enemy back and climbed over the barricade to his own men. For over an hour the little party maintained themselves in this trench, until at last, shelled by their own guns and under fire from the Germans, these very gallant men, with their young officer were forced back. Awarded the D.S.O. in 1918, he finished the war as adjutant to the 1st battalion of his regiment, and lived to command his battalion 1939-1941. He finally retired in 1947, and died at Aldershot in 1956. His medals are in Liverpool Museum. A pictorial representation of the the action appeared on the front cover of the Illustrated London News for 27 march 1915, a copy of which is offered with the sword.