A Small Collection of Medals to the Irish Guards

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Date of Auction: 2nd April 2003

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £400 - £500

Five: Warrant Officer Class 2 H. T. Stott, Irish Guards

Defence and War Medals; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Palestine 1945-48 (2721671 Sjt., I.G.); Africa General Service 1902-56, 1 clasp, Kenya (2721671 W.O. Cl. 2, I.G.); Coronation 1953, good very fine or better and the A.G.S. extremely rare to the regiment (5) £400-500

Footnote

Harry Travers Stott enlisted in the Irish Guards in 1940 and following service in the U.K. during the War was posted to Palestine, where he was employed as Signal Sergeant with the 1st Battalion. Returning home to an appointment at the School of Infantry, Hythe, he was promoted to Colour-Sergeant, and at the Queen’s Birthday Parade in 1953 he acted as the Right Guide to No. 7 Guard. But it was Stott’s time in Kenya during the Mau Mau troubles, when he was attached to the 4th (Uganda) Battalion, the King’s African Rifles, that proved to be the most memorable of his career. In an article that he subsequently wrote for the regimental journal, he describes at least one successful encounter with the terrorists:

‘ ... The tracker in front holds up his spear and we freeze. By signs he indicates a track leading off to the right; myself I can see a few smudges, that’s all. I nod knowingly. I’ll show Errol Flynn a thing or two. The tracker leads to the right peering at the ground, and very, very slowly we follow him; the ground is very steep and my breathing sounds like a blacksmith’s bellows. Thirty minutes later the spear goes again; he motions us to stay and he goes forward like a black ghost. From the ridge in front he waves us forward. He puts his lips to my ear and whispers “sentry.” I peer through the creeper and, after half a minute, spot a “bod” sitting with his back to us holding a home-made rifle. He’s about 75 yards away. I wave to the three ‘cut off’ men in the rear to stand by to see which way the rabbit is going to run. The tracker, the bren gunner, one Askari and myself slither forward. Fifty yards, he still hasn’t seen us; thirty yards, and suddenly he stands up, whirls around and points the home-made bunduki at us. I let go half a sten magazine at him and get him in the guts. That doesn’t appear to worry him at all because he turns about and heads off into the bush. The the bren gun opens up behind me and this time he stops. We make as fast time as possible now in the direction he was heading and we reach the Mau Mau camp 200 yards away but the birds had flown, and in a hurry, because they left behind food, pots and pans, blankets and medical supplies. We are rather disappointed, but it can’t be helped. We gather up all the kit and return to the one who didn’t get away. Here we finger-print the body and destroy all the food, blankets, etc., but decide to keep the medical kit as there is an interesting book in it with a M.O’s stamp on the front, and of course we have the home-made bunduki which is a very interesting weapon with the barrel made out of a length of gas piping! I decide we will return to base and have a bash at the others next day. It’s getting dusk when we return and the Company Commander is highly “chuffed” by our success and says, “That calls for a noggin.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Round the fire with the Askaris a few yards away, my bren gunner is giving them the “patter” with all the action thrown in. I suppose he’s using a wee bit of “author’s licence”, as I am! “Operation Hammer” concludes; it is followed by “Hunger Strike”, “First Flute”, “Gimlet” and “Dante”, and before I know where I am I know quite a lot about tribal customs, can speak Swahili enough to get around, and am a veteran with six months continuous in the bamboo. Boy, hand me down my Africa General Service Medal whilst I give it a polish!’

Stott subsequently rejoined the 1st Battalion in Germany as C.Q.M.S., H.Q. Company and was later promoted to Company Sergeant-Major of No. 1 Company. ‘A loyal and conscientious Warrant Officer’ with ‘a fine sense of humour’, he died in October 1959, aged 44 years.