A fine Collection of Medals to the Sherwood Foresters
Date of Auction: 19th September 2013
Sold for £2,300
Estimate: £2,000 - £2,400
Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (13791 Pte., 1/N. & D.R.); Military Medal, G.V.R. (13791 Pte., 1/N. & D.R.); 1914-15 Star (13791 Pte., Notts. & Derby. R.); British War and Victory Medals (13791 Pte., Notts. & Derby. R.) edge bruising, nearly very fine (5) £2000-2400
FootnoteD.C.M. London Gazette 11 May 1917. ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He rushed a traverse which was held by the enemy, and, single-handed, succeeded in capturing seven prisoners. He set a fine example to all ranks. ’
M.M. London Gazette 1 September 1916.
Ben Caunt was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield on 16 January 1874 and enlisted at Mansfield on 31 August 1914. He was posted to the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters on 25 August 1915 on their departure to France. With the 1st Battalion his gallantry in action brought him the awards of the D.C.M. and M.M.
The regimental history records some additional details on his D.C.M. award: ‘On March 4th 1917 at 2 am the 1st Battn. had moved up to the front lines in preparation to attack and if possible capture a ridge immediately south of St. Pierre Vaast Wood. At 5.15 am the barrage opened. As our men entered the enemy lines the Germans were just emerging from their lines and dug-outs and while the assaulting Battn’s went straight on to Pallas Support Trench, our “moppers-up” remained behind to clean up. The enemy had however prepared and was still holding several bombing posts and these were the main obstacles to overcome, so that there was much hand-to-hand fighting between our men and the Germans. No. 13791 Pte. B. Caunt, hearing bombing in the trench near him, at once rushed to the spot and found a small party held up by a strong enemy post, and having already lost an Officer and seven men attempting to capture the position. Pte Caunt, realising that the situation was becoming serious, pushed his way through his comrades and rushed along to the immediate portion of the trench, although bombs were still falling in. Appearing suddenly around the traverse, he took seven Germans there completely by surprise and upon ordering them to surrender, they at once complied.’
Private Caunt was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres, 31 July 1917. Having no known grave, his name is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. With copied research.