A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the South Wales Borderers

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Date of Auction: 28th February 2018

Sold for £1,300

Estimate: £800 - £1,200

A Great War ‘Western Front’ M.C. group of four awarded to Captain J. C. Owen, 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, who was wounded at the Battle of the Lys, 10 April 1918, and was twice Mentioned in Despatches

Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (2.Lieut: J. C. Owen. S. Wales Bord:); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Capt. J. C. Owen.) nearly extremely fine (4) £800-1200


M.C. London Gazette 14 June 1917.

John Corbett Owen was born in Dolgellau, Merionethshire, on 2 February 1889, and attested for the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 5 August 1914. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers on 20 November 1914, and served with them during the Great War on the Western Front from 25 September 1915. Promoted Lieutenant on 1 September 1916, and Captain on 8 November of that year, he commanded “C” Company and was wounded on 10 April 1918 at the battle of the Lys:
‘In April 1918 the 6th Battalion was heavily engaged. The attack of the 25th Division at the battle of the Lys had developed quite early, and under cover of a mist the Germans soon succeeded in breaking through the 75th Brigade, though on its left east of Ploegsteert Wood they were kept at bay. Orders were promptly sent to the 6th Battalion and the Royal Engineers to move to Chapelle Rompue and counter-attack towards Le Touquet. The move was carried out under shell fire, but when Colonel Fitzpatrick pushed forward with “C” Company to reconnoitre he found the situation already restored. Rejoining the main body, eventually the battalion was ordered to attempt to recover Ploegsteert village in co-operation with the 2nd South Lancashires and 9th Cheshires. This started at 8:10 p.m., but at once encountered strong opposition, machine guns away to the right developing an effective and destructive fire. Captains J. C. Owen and D. Jenkins, commanding “C” and “D” Companies respectively, were both wounded.’ (
The History of the South Wales Borderers, by Captain C. T. Atkinson refers).

For his gallantry during the Great War he was twice Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 22 May 1917 and 18 December 1917) and was awarded ‘a well-merited’ Military Cross in the 1916 Birthday Honours’ List.