A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the South Wales Borderers

Date of Auction: 19th July 2017

Sold for £1,700

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

A Great War M.M. group of seven awarded to Sergeant G. Russell, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, late Royal Sussex Regiment for gallantry during a night raid on a German trench in April 1916

Military Medal, G.V.R. (9-13416 Sjt: G. Russell. 2/S.W. Bord:); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Cape Colony, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen (5674 Pte. G. Russell, 1st Rl. Sussex Regt.); King‘s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (5674 Pte. G. Russell, Rl. Sussex Regt.); 1914-15 Star (13416 Sjt. G. Russell. S. Wales Bord:); British War and Victory Medals (13416 Sjt. G. Russell. S. Wales Bord.); France, Third Republic, Croix de Guerre, reverse dated 1914-1916, with bronze palm, light contact marks, otherwise very fine or better (7) £800-1000


M.M. London Gazette 10 November 1916. The following recommendation is taken from regimental records and is difficult to read in parts:

‘On the night of 29/30 April, Sgt Russell was in charge of the wire cutting party of the raid party. His party advanced in front, immediately behind Capt. Byrne commanding the raiding party. The party came under heavy shell fire on the way to the German wire, and 7 out of 10 were killed or wounded by the time the wire was reached. Sgt Russell and one man whom he called to follow him, cut the wire between two trestles, pulled the trestles out and cut a way through the trip wire. It was at this time that 2 Lt Granger (?) decided to give up the raid owing to losses. Sgt Russell was of great assistance in collecting wounded and in helping to organise parties for carrying them off, and he also did a lot of good work searching the shell craters along the front of the German wire. All this was done under fire alone in front of the [?] trenches and while the party was fully exposed under the continuous Very lights which were fired from the German lines. Sgt Russell showed great courage and dash in the way he advanced through the shell fire to the German wire.
1 May 1916, G. T. Raikes, Major, Cmdg 2/S Wales Borderers’

George Russell enlisted into the Royal Sussex Regiment on a Short Service Engagement on 26 September 1898, seeing service at Malta and in South Africa during the Boer War. He re-enlisted on the outbreak of the Great War into the South Wales Borderers, on 29 August 1914, and went with the 2nd Battalion to Gallipoli, 1 September 1915, and subsequently to France. He was discharged from the 3rd Battalion on 20 May 1917, and is entitled to the Silver War Badge. Croix de Guerre confirmed in the regimental history.