A Collection of Medals to the 13th Regiment and Somerset Light Infantry

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Date of Auction: 2nd April 2004

Sold for £2,300

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

A fine Great War M.C. and Bar group of six awarded to Colonel F. C. V. D. Caillard, Somerset Light Infantry

Military Cross, G.V.R., with Second Award Bar; 1914-15 Star (Lieut., Som. L.I.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt.); Defence and War Medals, very fine and better (6) £800-1000


M.C. London Gazette 1 January 1918. The recommendation states:

‘For conspicuous good work in March 1917, when acting as Brigade Major during preparations prior to the battle of Arras. During this period two raids were carried out by the Brigade, and, by his foresight, energy and hard work in assisting to arrange details, he greatly contributed to the successful issue of the operations. He was with his Battalion - 6th Somerset Light Infantry - during the retirement of the enemy near Beaurains in March 1917 and most skilfully led forward his men and occupied positions which caused the enemy’s rear parties to withdraw. He showed great initiative in ascertaining the situation whilst under fire, and thus enabled our troops quickly to follow up the enemy. He was wounded on 8 April, while reconnoitring ground over which the advance was to be made on 9 April near Arras. On rejoining the Brigade in August he again carried out a reconnaissance under very difficult circumstances, and thus greatly assisted the operations about Inverness Copse on 22-24 August’ (Downside and the War, 1914-19 refers).

Bar to M.C. London Gazette 16 September 1918:

‘He made frequent reconnaissances under much sniping and machine-gun fire and brought back accurate information as to the dispositions of troops.’

Mention in Despatches London Gazette 22 May 1917.

Felix Clement Vincent Digby Caillard, who was born in January 1881 and was educated at Downside, was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light infantry in February 1914. Transferring as a Lieutenant to the 6th Battalion in August of the same year, he was embarked for France in May 1915, where he was placed ‘in charge of scouts and snipers’. Quickly employed in Belgium, the Battalion suffered around 50 casualties in the trenches near Vlamertinghe in the following month, among them Caillard; he would again be wounded before the War’s end.

Advanced to Temporary Captain in August 1915, and appointed a Brigade Major in the 43rd Brigade,14th (Light) Division in December 1917, Caillard served also in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from October 1918 until September 1919.

He remained a regular after the War and was given the Brevet of Major in January 1923. During the Second World War his appointments included a stint as President of a War Office Selection Board, in addition to other postings in the Adjutant-General’s Branch and in Scottish Command.