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

Date of Auction: 23rd June 2021

Sold for £2,600

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200

A Great War C.B.E., ‘Murmansk operations’ D.S.O. group of five awarded to Captain O. L. Beck, Royal Navy

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. (Military) Commander’s 1st type neck badge, silver-gilt, with small section of neck riband for display purposes; Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamel, with integral top riband bar; 1914-15 Star (Commr, O. L. Beck, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Capt. O. L. Beck. R.N.) good very fine (5) £1,800-£2,200


Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, July 2001.

C.B.E. London Gazette 27 May 1919:
‘For valuable services as Commodore of convoys and as Port Convoy Officer, Liverpool.’

D.S.O. London Gazette 8 March 1920:
‘For distinguished services as Divisional Naval Transport Officer, Murmansk.

Oliver Lawrence Beck, originally a Royal Naval Reservist, became a supplementary Lieutenant in the Royal Navy in 1898, and retired as Commander in 1908. He was recalled from retirement as Commander at the outbreak of the war and assigned as Assistant to King’s Harbour Master in H.M.S. Columbine at Rosyth. From 14 May 1915 he was in command of H.M. Yacht Monsoon, and from May 1917 was S.N.O.I.C. Aberdeen in H.M.S. Thalia. From October 1917 he was acting Captain for miscellaneous or special service, in H.M.S. President, and from August 1918 he was in H.M.S. Eaglet, Liverpool, acting Captain, Shipping Intelligence Officer 1st Class. He was appointed Divisional Naval Transport Officer at Murmansk, North Russia, from April 1919, and was awarded the D.S.O. for services in connection with the final battles and the very difficult withdrawal of British forces and supplies from North Russia, in the face of the advancing Bolsheviks and the uncertain capabilities of the White Russians still trying to defend Murmansk and Archangel.

General Maynard, Commanding Murmansk, did not receive orders to evacuate until July 1919. He sent small motor boats from Murmansk to Lake Onega by train to battle the Bolshevik Lake Fleet. He had to deal with a white Russian mutiny on 20 July. Bridges were burned and two American transportation companies left. Lord Rawlinson arrived on 9 August with fresh troops to coordinate the evacuation from Murmansk and Archangel. Archangel was evacuated first because support from Murmansk was required for it. This support included offensive action by General Matnard against the Bolsheviks and the refitting of Archangel river boats. The last troopship left Murmansk on 12 October 1919. For his services Captain Beck was also awarded the Russian Order of St Anne, 2nd Class with Swords. He died on 27 May 1919.

M.I.D. unconfirmed. Sold with copied research.