A Fine Collection of Medals Relating to Rhodesia and South Africa

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Date of Auction: 10th May 2017

Sold for £3,200

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500

A good Great War ‘Western Front’ M.C. and Bar group of four awarded to Captain J. A. Lea, 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, formerly 1st Rhodesia Regiment

Military Cross, G.V.R., with Second Award Bar, unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (L/Cpl J. A. Lea, 1st Rhodn. Rgt.); British War and Victory Medals (Capt. J. A. Lea) generally very fine and better (4) £1200-1500

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 26 July 1918.

‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion when in command of the reserve battalion. Under cover of an intense bombardment the enemy succeeded in piercing part of a line, and he was ordered to recapture the position. He led his company forward under heavy machine-gun fire, and succeeded in retaking the ground which had been temporarily lost. Owing to mist, direction was difficult to keep, and in order to avoid his company losing direction he kept about twenty yards ahead of his men, thus exposing himself to additional danger. His courage and coolness were at all times admirable.’

Bar to M.C. London Gazette 4 October 1919.

‘For conspicuous gallantry near Epehy on 24 September 1918, when a strong party of the enemy entered our trenches. He immediately led a bombing attack and succeeded in driving the enemy back about 200 yards. It was not until the enemy was so strongly reinforced and he saw that further advance with his party of men was impossible that he consolidated his position. During these operations he was wounded, but refused to leave his men.’

John Arthur Lea was born on 24 May 1885. He resided at Shamva Mine, South Africa and enlisted into the 1st Rhodesia Regiment on 15 November 1914, with whom he served in South West Africa from 23 October 1914 to 13 July 1915. Subsequently commissioned into the Royal Fusiliers, he saw service on the Western Front, where he gained the award of the M.C. and bar and was wounded in action, before returning to Cape Town, South Africa in June 1920.