Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (23 June 2021)

Date of Auction: 23rd June 2021

Sold for £2,600

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

A Northern Russian Expeditionary Force ‘honorary’ M.C. group of six awarded to Marquis V. Vivien de Châteaubrun, a Russian national who served with the Slavo-British Allied Legion from July 1918

Military Cross, G.V.R.; British War and Victory Medals (2.Lieut. V. Vivien de Chateaubrun.); Defence and War Medals 1939-45; France, Third Republic, Croix de Guerre 1914 1916, mounted court-style, good very fine (6) £1,400-£1,800

Footnote

Recommendation for M.C. dated 17 January 1919 and signed by General Needham, Commander-in-Chief, Northern Russia Expeditionary Force:

‘This officer joined the S.B.A.L. as one of the earliest volunteers on 7 July 1918, and took part in the original landing at Archangel on August 2nd, proceeding to the Railway front 6 days later. While with Colonel Guard’s force his behaviour both in command of troops and on special service carrying important despatches was always of the utmost gallantry: On one occasion, disguised as a peasant he carried an urgent cipher message to General Finlayson’s Headquarters through 80 miles of hostile territory in face of great natural difficulties and obstacles. His health broke down owing to these exertions, but he nevertheless continued to carry out patrol work of the utmost value until November 23rd, when he was ordered to return to Archangel for duty with General Savvitch. The conduct of this Officer has throughout been of an order demanding the highest courage, determination and energy.’

As an ‘honorary’ award to a foreign national this M.C. was not announced in the London Gazette. His Medal Index Card indicates that he applied for the British War and Victory Medals through the Russian Embassy on 30 September 1919, and that he was issued with a duplicate M.C. in December 1924.

Marquis (Victor) Vivien de Châteaubrun was born at Gatchina, near St. Petersburg in 1896. He served as a page to the Empress Alexandra and became an Officer in the Imperial Russian Grenadier Guards where he was decorated for bravery on numerous occasions. Following the Revolution he became one of the earliest volunteers to join the Slavo-British Allied Legion. He went to England following the Civil War, became a British national in 1940 (London Gazette 13 June 1940) and served with the Rifle Brigade during the Second World War. After the war he took over the Blue Cockatoo restaurant in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. He died in 1976.

A ribbon bar as worn by Marquis Vivien de Châteaubrun was sold by Morton & Eden in their sale of 30 November 2010. It comprised ribbons representing the Military Cross, British War and Victory Medals, French Croix de Guerre, Order of St Anne, Order of St Stanislaus, Order of St Anne, Order of St Vladimir, Tercentenary Medal 1913, and Battle of Poltava commemorative 1909, and was accompanied by a framed copy of his M.C. citation, as above, a Military I.D. Card with photograph of 1942, and a typed letter from Colonel N. Abaimoff listing his Russian awards, dated 14 July 1923.