The Keith Holshausen Collection

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Date of Auction: 16th September 2010

Sold for £600

Estimate: £500 - £600

Three: Captain G. R. Browne, Rhodesian Defence Forces, late British South Africa Police, a unique recipient of the Southern Rhodesia M.S.M.

Jubilee 1935; Permanent Forces of the Empire L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (No. 1774 Sergt. Maj. Ernest George Browne, British South Africa Pol.); Southern Rhodesia Meritorious Service Medal (Sgt. Major Ernest George Browne), mounted as worn, good very fine and better, the last unique (3) £500-600


The only award of the Southern Rhodesia Meritorious Service Medal, which was established in January 1937 (see accompanying article by J.M.A. Tamplin and relevant Southern Rhodesia Government Gazettes). Note the original design of the Medal incorporated a ‘Southern Rhodesia’ suspension bar, as per the Southern Rhodesia Military L.S. & G.C. Medal, but in the event the relevant fitment does not appear to have been supplied, possibly as a result of confusion between issuing offices in South Africa and England.

Ernest George Browne was born in St. Helier, Jersey, in October 1883, the son of a Gunner Sergeant-Major, and himself attested into the Royal Horse Artillery in January 1899, and was posted to ‘W’ Battery at Woolwich. Remaining in the U.K. in the interim, he was embarked for South Africa as an Acting Bombardier in January 1906, but purchased his discharge in the following year when he joined the Transvaal Town Police. Having then moved to Southern Rhodesia, he joined the British South Africa Police in October 1913, but was refused permission to join the service columns in German East Africa on account of his age. He did, however, gain a reputation as a first class shot and, among other accolades, was granted special leave to compete at Bisley, Surrey in 1925 - this was the first of two such trips, the next one being in 1930, by which stage he had resigned from the B.S.A.P. and joined the Rhodesian Defence Forces as a Staff Sergeant-Major. He had, meanwhile, been awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal (B.S.A. Force Order 568 of 1923 refers).

Advanced to Warrant Officer Class 1 in 1934, he qualified as a senior N.C.O. for the Jubilee Medal in the following year, and added his unique example of the Southern Rhodesia Meritorious Service Medal to his accolades in May 1941, when serving in the temporary rank of Lieutenant - the relevant
Government Gazette entry describes him as ‘Ex-Sergant-Major’. Browne finally retired in the rank of Captain in 1943, but does not appear to have claimed his War Medal 1939-45. He died in Bulawayo in January 1953.

Sold with shooting awards (4), all in their cases of issue, comprising Dalrymple Cup Medal, by Heydenrych, Johannesburg, gold, obverse, two riflemen with ‘1879’ and ‘1903’ to left and right, and ‘1910’ in exergue, reverse, ‘T.R.A., The Dalrymple Cup, won by E. G. Browne, 1910’; Mayor’s Cup Medal, of watch fob design, by Mendelsohn, Roodepoort, silver, obverse, ‘Mayor’s Cup’, reverse, ‘Const. E. G. Browne, 12.6.10’; Salisbury Rifle Club Medal, by Mappin & Webb, London, silver, obverse, bust of Cecil Rhodes with ‘The British South Africa Company’ around, reverse, ‘Salisbury Rifle Club won by’, but unnamed; and Southern Rhodesia Rifle Association Medal, bronze, obverse, crossed rifles and arms, reverse, ‘Southern Rhodesia Rifle Association, Annual Medal won by Sgt. Major E. G. Browne. Score 100, Bisley 1928, 1st Stage Governors’.

Also sold with a quantity of original documentation, including Royal Horse Artillery Gunnery Certificate, Certificate of Appointment Town Police (Transvaal), B.S.A.P. Discharge Certificate, Warrant for the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 in the Southern Rhodesia Permanent Staff Corps, and his Discharge Certificate from the Southern Rhodesia Permanent Force; together with a group photograph including Browne at Bisley in 1930 and a file of research.