Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (13 January 2021)

Date of Auction: 13th January 2021

Sold for £4,000

Estimate: £2,400 - £2,800

A good Second War M.C. and ‘Immediate’ Second Award Bar group of seven awarded to Major S. J. Hawkins, Royal Engineers, for his gallantry as a Bailey-Bridge Company Commander during the advance through both Sicily and Italy, where his ‘outstanding leadership, unremitting zeal, and complete disregard for his own personal safety’ in the construction of bridges under heavy enemy fire enabled the Allied Advance to be maintained without pause

Military Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated 1944 and additionally privately engraved ‘201128 Major S. J. Hawkins. R.E. Sicily & Italy’, with Second Award Bar, this officially dated 1944; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, 1 clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, with M.I.D. oak leaf; Army L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 1st issue, Regular Army (Capt. S. J. Hawkins. M.C. R.E.) minor edge bruising to last, otherwise good very fine (7) £2,400-£2,800


M.C. London Gazette 23 March 1944:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Sicily.’

The original recommendation states: ‘Major S. J. Hawkins, Commanding 252nd Field Company, during the advance of this Brigade from Sperro to Paterno and thence to Zefferana Etnea from 2 to 11 August. The advance involved the making of two crossings over the River Simeto and thereafter the bridging and filling in of numerous craters made by the enemy to impede our progress. Throughout the whole period Hawkins showed himself courageous in reconnaissance, rapid in decision, and untiring in work. He had an immediate answer to every difficulty encountered and removed each obstacle with such energy and speed that the advance was never appreciably held up and supporting arms including field guns and a regiment of tanks were always over in time for operations to continue without check. Major Hawkins was not only indefatigable himself but inspired his men by his own energetic and enthusiastic example to work with the same unremitting zeal as he himself displayed. It was very largely due to his most excellent work that the speed of the pursuit was maintained, and there is no doubt that without it the advance would have been seriously delayed.’

M.C. Second Award Bar London Gazette 6 April 1944:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy.’

The original recommendation, for an Immediate award, states: ‘On 24 November 1943 during the advance of the 5th Division in Central Italy, 252nd Field Company, Royal Engineers, had the task of constructing a Bailey Bridge at junction map ref. H.0749. The task was scheduled to start at 1400 hours on 24 November, the site under direct enemy observation and was shelled continuously during the whole period of construction. Major Hawkins commanding 252nd Field Company was in charge of the bridging operation, and it was only by his outstanding leadership and complete disregard for his own personal safety that he so directed and encouraged the men under his command that the task was able to be completed in a remarkably short space of time, which enabled transport to move forward under cover of darkness. The gallant action of this officer was an inspiration to all who witnessed the operation.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 24 June 1943:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period 1 May to 22 October 1942.’

Stanbury John Hawkins was born in Southsea, Hampshire on 2 October 1911, and joined the Army as a Boy Soldier on 1 May 1926. Attending the Bridging Training School at Chepstow, he was subsequently posted to the Royal Engineers. He served with the 20th Fortress Company in Aden prior to the start of the Second World War, and thence in British Somaliland. Commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 18 April 1941, he was posted to the 4th Field Squadron, and saw service in Egypt and North Africa with the 8th Army, being promoted War Substantive Captain on 19 March 1942, and was Mentioned in Despatches.

Promoted temporary Major on 6 January 1943, Hawkins was given command of the 252nd Field Company, and took part in the invasion of Sicily, for which he was awarded the Military Cross. He saw further service with the same unit in Italy, and for his gallantry was awarded a Second Award Bar to his Military Cross. Post-War he served as Quartermaster, was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 2 March 1948, and was promoted Major on 30 May 1954. He died in 1955.

Sold together with the recipient’s Officer’s Record of Service and other research.