A Collection of Medals to Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiments

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Date of Auction: 17th September 2009

Sold for £3,600

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200

A good Second World War Italy operations D.S.O., post-war M.B.E. group of eight awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel A. Andrews, Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment

Distinguished Service Order, G.VI.R. 1st issue, silver-gilt and enamels, the reverse of the suspension bar officially dated ‘1945’; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Military) Member’s 2nd type breast badge; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Palestine (2/Lieut. A. Andrews, Bedfs. & Herts. R.); 1939-45 Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals, M.I.D. oakleaf; United States of America, Silver Star, the lower left limb officially numbered ‘93284’ and the reverse engraved, ‘Alan Andrews’, mounted as worn, gilt worn on D.S.O., contact marks and polished, otherwise generally very fine (8)
£1800-2200

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 28 June 1945. The original recommendation states:

‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Prosetto on 14 September 1944, and again at Ranzuole Ridge on 25 September 1944.

On 14 September 1944, Major Andrews was in command of No. 1 Company, Hertfordshire Regiment. The Company was advanced guard to the Battalion and was following up the enemy who were retreating north towards Palazzuolo. The Company had orders to advance with all possible speed and seize a hill of considerable tactical importance known as Hill 1187. Major Andrews moved his company forward, brushing aside the enemy rear guards and taking some prisoners of war as he went. After advancing all day he found himself still a mile short of his objective. As darkness came on thick fog and rain reduced visibility to about five yards. The country was extremely difficult, being very precipitous and almost without tracks. Major Andrews moved his company forward with great skill under difficult conditions. As he did so he encouraged a party of enemy about 40 strong moving forward to take up night positions. Both parties were without artillery or mortar support. A sharp fight ensued which lasted about half an hour. More than half of the enemy were accounted for as killed, wounded or prisoners. The remainder fled. Major Andrews’ company suffered only three casualties and was able to occupy the objective without further opposition. The success of this action was due entirely to the skill shown by Major Andrews in handling his company and his complete disregard for his personal safety. He exercised control by walking about quite fearlessly at the height of the close quarter fighting between the two parties, thereby exposing himself to the fire of both sides.

On 25 September 1944, Major Andrews led his company forward into a night attack against an enemy position on Ranzuole Ridge. The advance entailed a difficult approach along a single track. An enemy outpost was encountered on this track before the main position was reached and the company found itself in an unenviable position, being strung out along a narrow track and subject to intense mortar fire. With complete disregard for his own safety, Major Andrews accompanied by his runner made a personal reconnaissance of the enemy position. During the course of this reconnaissance the runner was shot dead through the head when within only a foot of Major Andrews. Undeterred, Major Andrews completed his reconnaissance. He then returned to his Company H.Q. and made a plan for artillery support in consultation with his C.O. on the No. 18 set. This plan entailed bringing considerable artillery fire on an unregistered target, very close in front of his own troops. Major Andrews accepted responsibility for the risks involved and exploited the artillery support by leading his troops forward to the assault with complete disregard for danger. He captured the outpost position and was able to move forward and consolidate on the final objective without further opposition, the enemy having retired after the first position was captured.

Major Andrews, by his personal courage, coolness, skill and devotion, converted an awkward situation into a complete tactical success.’

M.B.E.
London Gazette 1 January 1949.

American Silver Star
London Gazette 14 May 1948.

Alan Andrews, who born in July 1915, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment in August 1935. Having then seen active service in Palestine pre-war, he was advanced to Acting Captain on the renewal of hostilities in September 1939 and, by the time of his D.S.O.-winning exploits in Italy, was serving as a Temporary Major in the 1st Battalion.

Andrews was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on resigning to take up a position in the Civil Government in Germany in December 1949; sold with a copy of
The Hertfordshire Field Gazette, Italian Campaign, August 1944 to January 1945, in which he is mentioned.