Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (12 November 2020)

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Date of Auction: 12th November 2020

Sold for £2,000

Estimate: £500 - £700

The group of eight miniature dress medals worn by Lieutenant Commander J. S. Mould G.C., G.M., Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve

George Cross; George Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue; 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Australia Service Medal; Coronation 1953, mounted as worn; together with a Boatswain’s Whistle, good very fine (8) £500-£700


G.C. London Gazette 3 November 1942:
‘For great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty’

G.M. London Gazette 28 April 1942:
‘For gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty’

John Stuart Mould was born on 21 March 1910 at Gosforth, Northumberland and emigrated to Australia at a young age. Educated at Sydney Grammar School and subsequently in London, he returned to Sydney in 1934 and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 14 June 1940.

Mould contracted bronchial pneumonia and, while recuperating, qualified through the Yachtsmen Scheme for appointment as sub lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve. Discharged from the A.I.F., he was mobilised in the R.A.N.V.R. on 14 September and sent to England where he volunteered for 'special duties ashore' - service in the Royal Navy's Rendering Mines Safe section, primarily concerned with ‘delousing’ German sea mines which had been dropped on land or washed ashore. He was provisionally promoted lieutenant in December and posted to H.M.S. Vernon.

Mould received a commendation for bravery in June 1941 and won the George Medal in April 1942 for 'outstanding work on dock clearance operations and those resulting in the stripping of the early German mine Type G'.
Mould recovered, defused and investigated the first German magnetic acoustic unit and moored magnetic mine, allowing British scientists to devise countermeasures and in November 1942 he was awarded the George Cross for 'great gallantry and devotion to duty'.

Promoted acting lieutenant commander in January 1943, Mould then worked with Professor John Scott Haldane to develop a diving-suit with an integrated air supply system. Later that year Mould, Lieutenant Leon Goldsworthy, R.A.N.V.R., and Lieutenant Commander J. L. Harries, Royal Canadian Navy, trained groups of men in preparation for the invasion of Western Europe. These units were to be dispatched to newly captured harbours to clear them of booby traps, mines and other obstructions. Following V.E. Day, he was sent to Ceylon and Australia to assess the requirement for similar parties in the Far East and Pacific theatres and was appointed commander of two of the parties.

Mould was discharged from the R.A.N.V.R. on 26 November 1945 and returned to Australia in 1948. He died at Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales in 1957. The story of his wartime service was told in ‘Softly Tread the Brave - A triumph over terror, devilry, and death by mine disposal officers John Stuart Mould, GC, GM and Hugh Randal Syme, GC, GM and Bar’ by Ivan Southall.

Sold together with a letter, hand-written and signed by Margi-Clare Mould, the recipient’s daughter, declaring:
‘I Margi-Clare Mould, do solemnly swear, that these medals belong to me, and were presented to my late father, Lt. Commander John Stuart Mould GC, G.M., R.A.N.V.R....’

Note: This lot is available for viewing in Swanbourne, Western Australia, by appointment with our Australasian representative, John Burridge.