A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the South Wales Borderers

Date of Auction: 28th February 2018

Sold for £600

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Great War ‘Mesopotamia’ D.C.M. awarded to Private W. Colley, 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, for his gallantry in single-handedly manning his gun during the attack on ‘The Boot’, Mesopotamia, 30 April 1917

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (27056 Pte. W. Colley. 4/S.W. Bord:) polished, good fine £600-800


D.C.M. London Gazette 16 August 1917:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When all the other members of his gun team had become casualties, he continued to fire his gun, and reload his drums without assistance.’

Charles Moss attested for the South Wales Borderers and served with the 4th Battalion during the Great War in Mesopotamia. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry during the attack on ‘The Boot’, 30 April 1917:
‘The Turkish positions extended for some distance astride the River Adhaim, which here ran in a wide depression bounded by steep cliffs. West of the river their line ran roughly north west from “the Boot”, a curiously shaped piece of high ground which projected into the river valley just opposite Adhaim. The main attack was being made by the 38th and 40th Brigades east of the river, and on the other bank the South Wales Borderers were tasked to capture the Boot, if this could be done without heavy loss, and to cover the main attack against a possible counter-stroke across the river.
The advanced troops were precariously situated. A battery south of Ahmadliyia was shelling them from the north; machine guns from the Boot enfiladed them from the north; machine guns from the Boot enfiladed them from the left; and, to crown all, about 7:00 a.m. a tremendous dust-storm obscured everything completely. When it cleared away “B” and “C” found Turks advancing in great strength from the north-east and already within 100 yards. Blazing away for all they were worth they kept the attackers at bay till ammunition failed and there was nothing for it but to fall back. This they did at a walk, the Turks following at a distance which suggested reluctance to come to close quarters. Captain Usher of “B” Company showed conspicuous skill and gallantry in conducting this retirement, and it was largely due to his coolness and resource that it was successfully effected, while Private Colley handled a Lewis gun with great effect, keeping it in action though all the rest of its team had been hit. Sergeant Smith was also conspicuous for his able handling of his platoon during the withdrawal, and Company Sergeant Major Moss rallied a detached party, and showed marked ability and coolness in controlling his men.’ (
The History of the South Wales Borderers, by Captain C. T. Atkinson refers).

For their gallantry Captain Usher was awarded the M.C., and Company Sergeant Major Moss, Sergeant Smith, and Private Colley the D.C.M.

For the D.C.M. awarded to Company Sergeant Major Moss, see Lot 663.