Meritorious Service Medal Groups from the Collection of Ian McInnes

Date of Auction: 21st September 2007

Sold for £1,700

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,200

A rare Second World War O.B.E. group of eight awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel H. E. Chater, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, who, having passed a bomb disposal course in London in early 1941, was attached to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, participated in the Walcheren landings in November 1944 and was awarded the Order of Orange Nassau: then in 1955 he added a “Canada M.S.M.” to his accolades - one of just 29 E.II.R. issues ever granted

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
, O.B.E. (Military) Member’s 2nd type breast badge; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal 1939-45, silver; Canadian Voluntary Service Medal 1939-45, with overseas clasp; War Medal 1939-45, silver; Army L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., robed bust, ‘Canada’ (2nd Cl. Mr. Gr. (W.O. Cl. 1, R.C.H.A.); Army Meritorious Service, E.II.R., ‘Canada’ reverse (P8236 Mr. Gr. (W.O. 1), R.C.A.); The Netherlands, Order of Orange-Nassau, Officer’s breast badge, silver-gilt and enamels, with swords, rosette on riband, mounted as worn, together with an R.C.H.A. badge, the sixth with officially corrected rank and the last with chipped enamel work and one slightly damaged arm point, otherwise generally good very fine (8) £1000-1200


O.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1946.

Hartley Ernest Chater was born in Toronto in February 1903 and enlisted underage in the Permanent Forces of Canada in June 1919, aged 16 years, his attestation papers noting ‘apparently aged 19’. Posted to the Canadian Horse Artillery, he gained steady promotion over the coming years, rising to Battery Sergeant-Major in 1932 and to Quarter-Master Sergeant in the following year, when he was employed on the staff of the Royal Military Academy. Having then been awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in June 1937, he attended a special Master Gunner’s course in the U.K., and was appointed Master Gunner 1st Class in the following year.

The advent of hostilities found him employed as a Regimental Sergeant-Major and he was embarked for England in January 1940, where he was commissioned in the 1st Medium Regiment, R.C.A. that September. Having then passed a bomb disposal course at Regent’s Park in the New Year, he was advanced to Captain and attached to the 1st Canadian Division Ammunition Column. Again promoted in 1942, to Major, he was in fact a Lieutenant-Colonel (Ordnance Officer 2nd Class) by the time of the North West Europe operations 1944-45, which theatre of operations he visited on several occasions, but never for a sufficient length of time to qualify for the 1939-45 Star. Be that as it may, he was present in the Walcheren operations in November 1944, when he was attached as an Ordnance Officer to 112 L.A.A. Battery, R.C.A. - a rocket unit - and afterwards on secondment to the Hague. He was awarded the O.B.E. and the Order of Orange-Nassau, the latter by Royal Warrant dated 11 November 1946.

Finally released back at Montreal in September 1947, Chater returned to the U.K. and settled in Dartford, Kent, where he died in April 1983. In the interim, however, by letter of notification from the Department of National Defence at Ottawa dated 21 July 1955, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal - one of just 29 E.II.R. “Canada M.S.Ms” and the only such example yet noted on the market by Ian McInnes.

Sold with a quantity of original documentation, including the recipient’s O.B.E. warrant, in the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, R.C.O.C., the borders trimmed, and related forwarding letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs at Ottawa; his warrant of appointment to the Order of Oranage-Nassau, dated 11 November 1946; and his M.S.M. letter of notification from the Department of National Defence at Ottawa, dated 21 July 1955; together with large file of research compiled from Canadian archives and family sources.