A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the South Wales Borderers

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Date of Auction: 28th February 2018

Sold for £900

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Great War ‘Western Front’ 1918 M.C. group of three awarded to Lieutenant R. S. P. Rawlins, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, for his gallantry during the attack on Oultersteene on 18 August 1918, during which he captured several enemy machine guns and prisoners.

Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued, in case of issue; British War and Victory Medals ((Lieut. R. S. P. Rawlins.); together with a museum-quality copy Military Cross, G.V.R., the reverse engraved ‘Reginald Sparrow Pynsent Rawlins Lieut. 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers “Oultersteene” 18. Aug 1918 ‘L.G.’ 15. Feb 1919’ good very fine (4) £600-800

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 15 February 1919:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and initiative during the attack on Oultersteene on August 18th, 1918. He led his platoon forward without artillery support after the capture of the first objective, and, quickly overcoming opposition, he reached his furthest objective, capturing several enemy machine guns. Later, owing to casualties, he took command of the company, and obtained touch on his flanks and organised consolidation. Throughout the operation he showed marked courage and ability to command.’


Reginald Spencer Pynsent Rawlins was born on the Isle of Wight on 11 October 1878, the son of Colonel Thomas Rawlins, 41st and 86th Foot, and a scion of the Rawlinses of Stoke Courcy. Commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, South Wales Borderers (Special Reserve) on 27 October 1914, he was promoted Lieutenant on 1 July 1917, and served during the Great War with the 2nd Battalion on the Western Front from 1918. He was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry during the attack on Oultersteene on 18 August, 1918, the Battalion War Diary adding the following to the citation:
‘Morning very quiet- at 11:00 a.m. 87th Brigade attacked in conjunction with 9th Division. The attack was made roughly from north to south. After capture of the original objectives two frontline companies advanced on their own initiative and, pushing forward, rapidly smothered the enemy opposition, successfully reaching objectives , capturing machine guns and prisoners. Heavy hostile shelling on Oultersteene Ridge during the afternoon and evening and communication with the Companies was very difficult.’


Rawlins relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920, retaining the rank of Lieutenant. He died on 15 January 1965.