The Collection of Second World War and Modern Gallantry Awards formed by the late William Oakley

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Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £5,200

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A rare Second World War Italy armoured operations D.C.M. group of six awarded to Sergeant H. Moore, 10th Royal Hussars, who was decorated for taking out a Panzer Mk. IV Special at 15 yards range, thereby saving a vital bridgehead on the Cosina during the advance on Faenza in November 1944

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (406289 Sjt. H. Moore, 10 H.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, mounted as worn, good very fine and better (6) £4000-5000

Footnote

D.C.M. London Gazette 10 May 1945. The original recommendation for an immediate award - upgraded from an M.M. - states:

‘On the morning of 23 November 1944, near St. Lucia, Sergeant Moore was commanding a tank supporting the Infantry Battalion which had crossed the river Cosina during the night. The Infantry had captured intact the only remaining bridge over the river, and were holding a very small bridgehead beyond it.

It was vital for the success of the operations of the whole Division that this bridge be held. The enemy realised this and made every effort to recapture and destroy the bridge. Sergeant Moore got his tank across the bridge just before first light. He pushed forward in the most determined way in the half-light, and in conditions which confined his movement to the roads, which he knew would be covered by anti-tank fire. By his determination and disregard for danger he advanced several hundred yards and thus enabled the infantry to enlarge the all-important bridgehead.

Enemy defensive fire by guns, mortars and nebel-werfers was very heavy, and eventually forced the Infantry to withdraw a short distance. Undaunted by this, and by the fact that his vision and field of fire were very greatly impeded by houses and the close nature of the country, Sergeant Moore held his ground. Although he knew that enemy snipers and bazooka men might well be stalking him he dismounted from his tank and went into the upstairs window of a house to get observation. From there he spotted the enemy Tiger tank manoeuvring into position 400 yards from him. Whilst he was endeavouring to engage this another enemy tank appeared, approaching at a fast speed down the road. With the greatest coolness and speed he engaged this and knocked it out, thereby effectively blocking the road to other enemy tanks. As a result the enemy soon abandoned his counter-attack with tanks, and the remaining tanks withdrew. Twenty-one enemy infantry then surrendered to Sergeant Moore, some of them from positions in his rear.

This N.C.O. showed the most outstanding skill and initiative in very awkward conditions, and by remaining in his most advanced position alone he stemmed the enemy counter-attack in this vital sector. His coolness and example were a magnificent encouragement to the infantry he was supporting and probably was decisive in enabling the bridgehead to be held.’

Horace Moore was born in West Bromwich in 1914 and enlisted in the 10th Hussars in the early 1930s. Embarked for the Middle East November 1941, he was present in Operation “Crusader” and at the battles of Alam Haifa and El Alamein. But it was for his gallant deeds in Italy that he was awarded the D.C.M., an incident summarised in the following terms in Dawnay’s The 10th Royal Hussars in the Second World War 1939-45:

‘There had been a certain amount of armour-piercing shot flying about in the 2nd Troop’s area from a Tiger tank. It was now confirmed by an air observation post that an enemy tank was heading for the little bridgehead on the left. This turned out not to be the Tiger but a Mark IV Special, which Sergeant Moore of the 1st Troop, quickly destroyed at about fifteen yards’ range. For this and his other actions in this bridgehead he was subsequently awarded a well-merited Distinguished Conduct Medal.’

Moore, who received his decoration at a Buckingham Palace investiture in March 1946, afterwards worked as a factory foreman in the Birmingham area, and died, aged 94 years, in November 2008; sold with a local newspaper cutting.