Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (3 December 2020)

Date of Auction: 3rd December 2020

Sold for £5,500

Estimate: £2,800 - £3,200

A fine C.I.E and U.S.A. Military Order of the Dragon group of nine awarded to Brigadier-General H. R. Stockley, Royal Engineers, who was Assistant Military Secretary to the King during the Delhi Durbar and their Majesties tour of India in 1911-12

The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, C.I.E., Companion’s 2nd type breast badge, gold and enamel; India General Service 1854-95, 2 clasps, Hazara 1891, Waziristan 1894-5 (Ltt. H. R. Stockley R.E.); India General Service 1895-1902, 1 clasp, Punjab Frontier 1897-98 (Lieut. H. R. Stockley R.E. Bl. S. & M.); China 1900, 1 clasp, Relief of Pekin (Captn. H. R. Stockley Bl. Sappers & Miners); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Brig. Gen. H. R. Stockley.); Delhi Durbar 1903, silver, unnamed as issued; Delhi Durbar 1911, silver, unnamed as issued; United States of America, Military Order of the Dragon (Capt. Hugh R. Stockley Royal Engineers No. 199) complete with integral Pagoda top suspension brooch and original but fragmentary ribbon, the seven official campaign medals mounted as worn, light contact marks to the earlier campaign medals, otherwise very fine and better (9) £2,800-£3,200

Footnote

Hugh Roderick Stockley was the son of the late Colonel H. W. Stockley of the Royal Artillery, and was born on 23 March 1868. Educated at Wellington College, where he was in the Cricket XI, he passed direct into Woolwich in the summer of 1885. There he won the Military Topography Prize and received a commission in the Royal Engineers in July 1887. After completing his course at the School of Military Engineering, Stockley proceeded to India in the autumn of 1889, and was soon posted to the Bengal Sappers and Miners, with whom he spent much of his service for a number of years. During the earlier part of this period, the North West Frontier was in a greatly disturbed condition, and expeditions to bring recalcitrant tribes to book were of frequent occurrence; while no expedition set forth without one or more companies of the Bengal Sappers to overcome the difficulties of terrain certain to be met. Hence, Stockley was initiated into the methods of mountain warfare early in his career, serving with the Bengal Sappers and Miners in the Hazara Expedition of 1891, for which he received the medal and clasp. The next year he took part in the Isazai Expedition; while two years later he accompanied the 5th Company on the Waziristan Expedition of 1894-95, for which he received another clasp to his Indian Frontier medal.

It was not long before Stockley again found himself on active service in command of the 4th Company, as the whole of the N.W. Frontier broke out into a blaze in 1897. The ensuing operations entailed much stiff fighting before order was restored in those turbulent regions, and the 4th Company were in the thick of it, as evidenced by the fact that two of Stockley's subalterns, T. C. Watson and J. M. Colvin, gained the V.C. For his share in the operations about the Malakand Pass, in Bajaur, and in the Mohmand country, Stockley was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette of 18 March 1898, and again after the capture of the Tanga Pass in the London Gazette of 22 April 1898. He also received the new Indian Frontier medal with clasp. In July of the same year he was promoted to Captain. At the close of operations, Stockley came home and attended a ‘refresher’ course at the S.M.E. in May 1898, during which time he played for the R.E. Cricket XI, and returned to India a few months later. Not long afterwards, the Boxer rebellion broke out in China and Stockley accompanied the Expeditionary Force sent from India in August 1900. His varied services in that country for nearly a year again received a mention in the London Gazette of I4 May 1901 and the award of the China medal and clasp.

Whilst home on leave during 1902, besides playing cricket, he spent much of the summer in London working for the Staff College, Camberley; and though he passed the examination with success he was not fortunate enough to obtain one of the few places allotted to R.E's, so returned to duty with the Bengal S. and M. in India. When next on leave in England, Stockley married Edith Beatrice, the only child of Lieut.-Colonel William Capel, The Grove, Stroud, in Gloucestershire. On returning to India after his marriage, he was appointed D.A.A.G., Presidency Brigade, Calcutta, where he served under another distinguished R.E. officer, the late Major-General Sir Ronald Macdonald; and this appointment he held for three years, until February 1908, being promoted to Major in July 1906.

He came home on leave again in the spring of 1909, and spent some months on courses at the S.M.E. and Aldershot before returning to Roorkee with his wife and children in October of the same year. He was next employed for some time in the Intelligence Branch at Simla; but when the King and Queen set out from England for the Delhi Durbar and their tour of India, 1911-12, Stockley was selected as one of the Assistant Military Secretaries to His Majesty, and joined the royal party on their arrival at Bombay. He accompanied their Majesties throughout their stay in India, and received the C.I.E. in recognition of the valuable services rendered by him during this period.

On the departure of their Majesties, Stockley resumed his duties at Simla, where he was appointed G.S.O.2 in the Intelligence Dept. in March 1912; and this appointment he held at the outbreak of the Great War, being promoted to Lieut.-Colonel on 30 October 1914. Early in 1915, however, it was realised that the heavy losses among officers of the Indian Army in France could not be replaced by cadets trained at Sandhurst only, and it was accordingly decided to start an Indian Sandhurst at the Staff College, Quetta, which had been closed down soon after hostilities commenced.

This new college was opened on 1 April 1915, for the reception of 100 young gentlemen sent out from England for six months' intensive training to qualify for commissions in Indian cavalry and infantry regiments; and Stockley was appointed Assistant-Commandant in this new venture. Since Quetta could but turn out 200 young officers for the Indian Army in a year, it soon became apparent that this would not meet the likely demand. Some months later, therefore, it was decided to start a second similar College at Wellington in Southern India. Stockley was selected to undertake this task as Commandant, and during the next two years several hundred cadets passed through his understanding and experienced hands at Wellington to receive commissions in the Indian Army. At length his labours seemed about to be rewarded by his being sent overseas to join the G.H.Q. of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force in July, 1917. Here, as A.A.G., he soon came under the personal notice of Sir Stanley Maude, who formed a high opinion of his abilities, and appointed him C.R.E. of the 17th Division. He was holding this promising position at an important juncture when, to his great disappointment, he was summoned back to India in October 1918, to take over the post of Inspector of Royal Engineers and Pioneers in India, with the rank of Brigadier-General. Thus all chance of participating in the final overthrow of the Turkish forces in Iraq was denied him; but for the next two years he carried out, with his usual thoroughness, the new and onerous duties that devolved upon him. These entailed much tiresome railway travelling and heavy responsible work throughout the length and breadth of the Indian peninsula, and his health suffered in consequence.

Stockley closed his long and distinguished Indian career as Assistant Director of Military Works of the Central Provinces District, and finally retired on an Indian pension on 30 October 1922, with the honorary rank of Brigadier-General, having been promoted Substantive Colonel as from 30 October I918. He died on 3 March 1935, at his home, Alkerton Grange, Eastington, near Stonehouse, in Gloucestershire.

Lieutenant-General Sir F. J. Aylmer, Bart., V.C., K.C.B. afterwards wrote:-

“I served with him for a long time in the 1st Sappers and Miners, and for several years he was my subaltern in the 4th Co. so I knew him intimately. He was a splendid officer in every way and his services to the State were always most distinguished. Had he got what he thoroughly deserved he would have received promotion to the highest rank.”