The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria (20 August 2020)

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Date of Auction: 20th August 2020

Sold for £8,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £7,000

An extremely rare Second War 1941 ‘Defence of Hong Kong’ D.C.M. group of four awarded to Sergeant A. D. Manning, 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, who was taken prisoner of war at the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941, and died in captivity on 2 September 1942

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (6201417 Sjt. A. D. Manning. Midd’x. R.); 1939-45 Star; Pacific Star; War Medal 1939-45, nearly extremely fine and extremely rare (4) £5,000-£7,000

Footnote

One of only 3 D.C.M.s award for the Defence of Hong Kong, December 1941.

Provenance: J. B. Hayward, April 1971.

D.C.M. London Gazette 4 April 1946:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the defence of Hong Kong in 1941.’


The original Recommendation states: ‘During the whole period of hostilities this N.C.O. displayed the best and finest characteristics of a highly trained junior machine gun commander. He showed outstanding coolness, courage, and resourcefulness during many nerve racking periods. On 22 December 1941 when ordered to vacate his pill box and proceed to Stanley he acted with perfect judgement in the collection of his machine guns and equipment, organisation of his crew for withdrawal, making sure that nothing was left to the enemy. This was done under heavy rifle and machine gun fire. Due largely to his skill and loyalty to his superior officer he succeeded in reaching his destination. In spite of great fatigue and pain from lacerated feet he and some of his crew went out almost immediately into action and engaged the enemy at short range in the withdrawal of the force from Stanley Village to the Fort. This N.C.O. was a perfect example to his men throughout. Every task given him was carried out in the strictest order. He was fearless under fire and his men looked to him as a leader to be followed. This N.C.O. is one of the best type of men that the army produces.’

Arthur David Manning attested for the Middlesex Regiment in East London, and served with the 1st Battalion during the Second World War in Hong Kong: ‘Sergeant Manning was yet another Immortal Sergeant of the Middlesex. A product of the East End of London, the 1st Battalion the Middlesex Regiment was the only real home he had known for twelve years. He was the sort of man who, finding himself on an exposed hillside in teeming rain, says “Wish I was a bleedin’ duck.” He invariably sang “Trees” at Sergeants’ Mess socials and encouraged recalcitrant machine-gunners with comparative references to sexual prowess.
During the frightful march to Stanley on the night of 22-23 December 1941, a disgruntled soldier said morosely: “All we do is ----ing retreat.”
Manning replied” “Who’s retreating? We’re just going the other ----ing way.”
The march to Stanley took five hours and the whole march was made without boots; the roads had been freshly covered with granite chips and every man’s feet were cruelly lacerated. Yet they arrived at their destination still cheerful and ready to fight on, and brought with them all their guns and ammunition On arrival their subaltern said: “Everyone all right?”
“Yes, sir.” said Sergeant Manning, indomitable and facetious as always. “What about a boot inspection?” (
Fall of Hong Kong by Tim Carew refers).

Manning was taken prisoner of war at the Fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941. The capture of the Colony was marked by a large number of atrocities committed by the Japanese - torturing and killing prisoners, the wounded, medical staff and civilians. He died in captivity on 2 September 1942, presumably at Sham Shui Po Prisoner of War camp, and is buried in Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong.