Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (17 August 2021)
Date of Auction: 17th August 2021
Sold for £32,000
Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000
Distinguished Conduct Medal, E.II.R., 2nd issue (23738257 A/Cpl. M. Rattigan. R.G.J.); British Empire Medal, (Military) E.II.R. (23738257 S. Sgt. M. Rattigan, D.C.M., R.G.J.); General Service Medal 1962-2007, 1 clasp, Northern Ireland (23738257 Cpl. M. Rattignan. R.G.J.); Oman, Sultanate, Tenth Anniversary Medal, unnamed as issued, court mounted as worn, nearly extremely fine and better (4) £20,000-£30,000
FootnoteOne of just 19 D.C.M’s were awarded for the entire Northern Ireland conflict.
D.C.M. London Gazette 24 July 1973.
The original recommendation states: ‘On the afternoon of 28 August 1972 Lance-Corporal Rattigan was a member of a foot patrol in the Beechmont area of Belfast. Beechmount Avenue is notoriously dangerous as it gives gunmen and snipers long fields of fire and easy escape routes. At 1530 hours the patrol reached Beechmount Avenue and split up; one section moved on across the Avenue and up Beechmount Grove; the other carried on along the Avenue prior to taking up a parallel route up Beechmount Pass.
At this stage Lance-Corporal Rattigan’s Section Commander stopped and searched a passer by. He was about to release him when six high velocity shots were fired at the patrol from the western end of Beechmount Avenue. The patrol returned fire and, under the direction of the Platoon Commander began to manoeuvre out of their extremely exposed position on the Avenue and into the building site. The Section Commander [Corporal Ian Morrill] had been fatally wounded in this first burst of fire. As soon as he realised this, and saw that the Section Commander was being given such medical assistance as was possible, Lance-Corporal Rattigan immediately took over command of the section, nominated a Rifleman as his second in command, and supervised the move to better fire positions. In order to locate the gunmen and to improve individual fire positions Lance-Corporal Rattigan exposed himself to fire several times. He acted decisively and with considerable courage throughout this incident and commanded his section with skill in the ensuing hot pursuit.
Later that same day, at 2230 hrs, he was on patrol in Locan Street. Two gunmen were seen at the top of St. Mary’s Practising Primary School. Under his direction the section sniper fired two shots at the gunmen. Eight shots were immediately returned. Throughout the gun battle which followed Lance-Corporal Rattigan kept a very firm grip on his section and gave excellent fire control orders.
On the afternoon of 22 October Lance-Corporal Rattigan (by now promoted to Corporal) was on a mobile patrol on the Springfield Road when he noticed three men standing by a bus stop. He thought there was something suspicious about them and decided to investigate. The first man he searched, a Protestant, was found to be carrying a loaded Luger pistol with a round up the breach. One of the other men was a Catholic. These men were subsequently screened and the Protestant duly charged. It seems likely that he was the gunman of an assassination squad and the Catholic was his intended victim who owes his life to Corporal Rattigan’s alertness.
These three incidents typify Corporal Rattigan’s success as a section commander. But in addition to specific acts of leadership in difficult and dangerous situations Corporal Rattigan was first class in his dealings with the local population. As a result he was held in very high regard as a tough, able but also reasonable and courteous N.C.O. by both the Catholic and Protestant communities in his platoon and section area on the Lower Woodvale interface.
Corporal Rattigan’s all round performance throughout the four month operational tour in Belfast has been outstanding.’
B.E.M. London Gazette 30 December 1985. (Colour Sergeant, Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion).
Michael Rattigan - ‘Mick the Rat’ to those who knew him - was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire. ‘He rose to the rank of colour sergeant in the Royal Green Jackets and was enormously respected within the regiment, in particular by the many men he trained in his later years as an instructor. He is remembered as a scrupulously fair and honest NCO. After leaving the army, Mick found adjusting to mundane civilian life difficult. He had a number of jobs, mainly in security, but in the mid 1980s worked in Saudi Arabia providing military training, and later in Mozambique, where one close shave too many convinced him that he was too old to be playing soldiers. After returning to live in Kent he managed property for a number of years. He died in Hythe in 2008.’ (Deeds of Heroes: The Story of The Distinguished Conduct Medal 1854-1993, by Matthew Richardson refers)
Sold together with a copy of the original recommendation for the DCM signed by the recipient; letters of congratulation on award of DCM (4) from Lieutenant Colonel L. L. Dunphie, MC; Major General R. E. Worsley, OBE; Brigadier A. L. Watson; and the OC, 39 Infantry Brigade; a copy of detailed original recommendation for BEM; a letter from Ameed Rukn, Deputy Commander Sultan of Oman’s Land Forces congratulating Rattigan on the award of his BEM; and a photo of recipient whilst serving with the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces in December 1985.