A Collection of Medals to the Indian Police

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Date of Auction: 25th March 2014

Sold for £750

Estimate: £600 - £800

A K.P.M. group of four awarded to Superintendent George Hamilton Ferguson, Ceylon Police - latterly a local Lieutenant-Colonel serving with M.I.5 and M.I.6

King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 2nd issue, for Distinguished Service (George H. Ferguson, Supt. of Police Grade 1. Ceylon); Defence and War Medals, unnamed; Coronation 1937 (C. H. Ferguson) nearly extremely fine (4) £600-800

Footnote

K.P.M. London Gazette 1 January 1936.

Believed to be one of three G.V.R. 2nd issue K.P.M’s. awarded to the Ceylon Police.

George Hamilton Fergusson was born in 1896, the seventh of eight children to be born to his parents, Beatrice Madeline Erskine Cole and Henry Tanner Ferguson. The family came from Bovey Tracey, Devon where his father practiced as a civil engineer being a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (M.I.C.E).

He joined the Ceylon Police in 1915 and attained the rank of Deputy Inspector-General (C.I.D.) before he resigned from the Colonial Police service in 1939 and returned to the UK.

He was commissioned in the Armed Forces, General List in May 1940 (2nd Lieutenant, 19 June 1940) and transferred to the Intelligence Corps in July 1940 with the rank of Captain.

He is mentioned in Nigel West’s History of M.I.6 British Secret Intelligence Service Operations 1909-1945 (with lot).

‘This house named Brescia was very convenient for section V and enabled the ISOS summaries to be logged and analysed with meticulous detail. The officer assigned this tedious job was a former Ceylon special branch police officer named Ferguson who had been recruited from MI5’

Mentioned in Triplex: Secrets from the Cambridge Spies, edited by Nigel West, Oleg Tsarev

‘The committee meets weekly to discuss ISOS policy. It comprises representatives of Section V of SIS (Counter-Intelligence Overseas), MI5 (Military Counter- Intelligence), the RSS ... The attendees vary, but the following are usually present : From Section V of SIS: Major Cowgill and Major Ferguson’

From NKVD reports, ‘Senior British Intelligence Personnel working against us, The SIS representative on the Joint Wireless Committee is Major Ferguson, who accompanied Eden to Ankara in early 1941 and is a senior SIS officer dealing with the Near East and the USSR; in the past he was close to Shell chairman Sir Henry Deterding.’

Mentioned in My Silent War - the soviet spy masters own story by Kim Philby

‘The fact that in the year 1942/3 Cowgill had enlarged my field of responsibility to include North Africa and then Italy suggested to me that I was beginning to make a career in the secret service. This was confirmed shortly after our move to London. Until then Cowgill had delegated his work during his rare absences on leave or duty to his deputy Ferguson. Ferguson had also come to us from the Indian police, though at one or two removes, and had impressed chiefly by his terror of taking decisions. It was time for Cowgill to pay an official visit to the United States where he proposed to spend two or three weeks. On the eve of his departure he circulated a minute to all officers in Section V. It informed them that during his absence Ferguson would act as deputy in administrative matters myself in the same capacity in all intelligence matters. This was the first formal intimation that I was on the ladder for promotion. Poor Cowgill!’

In January 1941 he became a Regional Security Liaison Officer based at Bristol (Region 7). In March 1942 he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant (Acting Major) in the Intelligence Corps. and in December 1942 he became a local Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1943 the Colonial Office recommended him for the post of Travelling Inspector of the Colonial Section of MI5. (National Archives Ref KV 4/127 and KV 4/122 refers.).

Ferguson was Assistant Inspector-General, Overseas Special Police Corps, Control Commission Germany between 1945 and 1950 and was Deputy Chief of the British Police Mission Greece between 1950 and 1951. He died in 1970. With copied research and the book, M.I.6, British Secret Intelligence Service Operations 1909-45, by Nigel West.