Exceptional Naval and Polar Awards from the Collection of RC Witte

Date of Auction: 13th December 2007

Sold for £2,000

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,600

The M.V.O. group of eleven awarded to Captain R. G. Bowes-Lyon, Royal Navy, who, having seen extensive action in the Dardanelles in the battleship Agamemnon 1915-16, and witnessed the destruction of the Zeppelin LZ-85 over Salonika, fought in the Baltic operations of 1919 and held seagoing command in the 1939-45 War: he was a first cousin of the late Queen Mother

The Royal Victorian Order
, M.V.O., Member’s 4th Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, the reverse officially numbered ‘1052’; 1914-15 Star S. Lt. R. G. Bowes-Lyon, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. R. G. Bowes-Lyon, R.N.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star, clasp, North Africa 1942-43; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf; Coronation 1937, mounted court-style as worn, generally good very fine (11) £1400-1600


M.V.O. London Gazette 16 February 1925.

Ronald George “Ronnie” Bowes-Lyon was born in 1893, the youngest son of the Hon. Francis Bowes-Lyon, J.P., D.L., and Lady Anne Lindsay, daughter of the 25th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres - he was grandson of the 13th Earl of Strathmore and a first cousin of the late Queen Mother. Educated at Summerfields, Oxford and the Royal Naval Colleges Osborne and Dartmouth, he was advanced to Sub. Lieutenant in the battleship
Agamemnon on the eve of the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914.

Ordered to the Dardanelles, the Agamemnon was very active in shore bombardment operations off Gallipoli, being hit several times by return fire and taking casualties. While in May 1916, her gunners accounted for the Zeppelin LZ-85 over the Vardar Marsh in Salonika. Removing to the Talisman in August 1918, and thence to the Montrose in February 1919, he also served in anti-Bolshevik operations in the Black Sea in the latter ship.

Between the wars, Bowes-Lyon served as Equerry to H.R.H. Prince George 1923-25, services that resulted in the award of his M.V.O., and later, as Navigating Officer, in the royal yacht Victoria & Albert, gaining advancment to Commander. He also served as Fleet Navigating Officer in the East Indies 1932-35 and was advanced to Captain on assuming command of Malta Dockyard in 1936.

On the renewal of hostilities, Bowes-Lyon was in command of the cruiser Dragon, but at the end of 1940 he was appointed Director of Navigation at the Admiralty. In May 1942, however, he returned to sea with command of another cruiser, the Emerald and, in August of the same year, removed to the minelayer Adventure. And in the latter ship he made a brace of important trips to Gibraltar at the end of the year, delivering around 4,000 aircraft depth-charges urgently needed in Malta. While in April 1943, when returning from convoy work in the Mediterranean, Adventure encountered a German blockade-runner 275 miles west of Vigo - the latter was scuttled.

Mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 1 January 1944 refers), Bowes-Lyon was appointed an A.D.C. to the King in 1945 and was placed on the Retired List in 1947, latterly having served as Director of Welfare at the Admiralty. A ‘quiet and great man’, who possessed ‘real goodness of heart and kindness’, he died in April 1960, aged 67 years.