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

Date of Auction: 23rd June 2021

Sold for £2,000

Estimate: £2,400 - £2,800

A scarce Boer War Militia Officer’s D.S.O. group of four awarded to Major M. A. Foster, 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry

Distinguished Service Order, V.R., silver-gilt and enamel, with integral top riband bar; Jubilee 1897, silver, unnamed as issued; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 1 clasp, Cape Colony, officially engraved naming, unit officially corrected (Capt. & Adjt. M. A. Foster, D.S.O., Som. L.I.) engraved naming, unit officially corrected to include post-nominal letters; King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Maj. & Adjt. M. A. Foster. D.S.O., Som. L.I.), the last three mounted as worn in this order, minor enamel damage to D.S.O., otherwise very fine and better, scarce (4) £2,400-£2,800

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 27 September 1901:
‘In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.’


Confirmed on the medal roll for the 1897 Jubilee Medal: ‘Captain M. A. Foster, 2nd Battalion Somerset Lt. Infy’.

Montagu Amos Foster was born on 19 March 1861, the son of William Foster of Wilbury Road, Brighton, Sussex.
Appointed as Gentleman to be Second Lieutenant in the 2nd or East Norfolk Militia on 10 December 1879, he was then gazetted to a regular commission in the Somerset Light Infantry in January 1882. Promoted Captain in September 1887, he served as an Adjutant in the Militia from May 1899 until February 1904.


Foster served as Adjutant to the 4th (Militia) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry in South Africa during the Boer War, in which period he was present in operations in Cape Colony from April 1900 until April 1902, initially serving south of the Orange River (April-November 1900). Garrison duties aside, he would have been employed in mobile columns and it was likely just such work that resulted in the award of his D.S.O. He was also twice Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 10 September 1901 and 29 July 1902).

A large contingent of officers and men of the 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry returned to the U.K. aboard the S.S. Sicilia in April 1902 and Foster was probably among them. He had, however, previously returned home to receive his D.S.O. from the King at an investiture held on the 29 October 1901. Advanced Major in April 1902, he was placed on the Retired List in March 1909, and died on 30 April 1940.

With a copy caricature portrait of the recipient.