Medals relating to the Malaya and Korea Campaigns from the Philip Burman Collection

Date of Auction: 9th May 2018

Sold for £2,800

Estimate: £2,400 - £2,800

A fine 1950 ‘Malaya operations’ M.M. pair awarded to Lance-Sergeant R. Butler, 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, who accounted for 2 ‘bandits’, one of whom was pinning down the Platoon from an entrenched position, during a contact in the Sungkai area south of Tapah, 28 May 1950. Butler’s platoon suffered 2 wounded and 1 killed before he managed to dash across open ground, and finally silence the ‘bandit’ lying underneath a large tree stump

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (2671321 L/Sjt. R. Butler. Coldm. Gds.); General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Malaya, G.VI.R. (2671321 Cpl. R. Butler. M.M. Coldm. Gds.) contact marks, therefore nearly very fine (2) £2400-2800


M.M. London Gazette 4 August 1950:

‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Malaya.’

The recommendation states:

‘On 28 May 1950 at about 1100 hrs this NCO’s Platoon contacted bandits near K. Tesong (Hind 1035/2N14 MR VK 2702). After two bandits had been killed, three casualties were inflicted on the Platoon by a bandit who had placed himself in a strong position among thick tree roots. Efforts to destroy this bandit were hampered because two of our wounded were lying very close to his position, thus exposing them to possible danger from our own fire and grenades. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to collect the wounded and to reach an angle favourable to closing with the enemy, in all of which L/Sgt Butler took a prominent part. During one of these he himself located and killed another bandit. Finally, L/Sgt Butler and his Platoon Commander reached a position from which they engaged the bandits at close range, but fire was still returned. Thereupon, on his own initiative, L/Sgt Butler dashed across the intervening area, got on top of the large tree stump under which the bandit was lying, and firing downwards killed him. This completed the enemy’s defeat and the wounded were then collected.

L/Sgt Butler’s determination and complete disregard for his personal safety were a fine example to his platoon, and were largely instrumental in resolving a serious situation.’

Robert Butler served with the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards in Malaya October 1948 - September 1950, during which time they were mainly engaged in patrolling around Tapah and the Cameron Highlands. In ‘March 1950 Second Lieutenant J. A. McGougan and Lance Sergeant Butler were awarded the MC and MM respectively for their gallantry and determination in the follow-up to an ambush south of Tapah.’ (The Coldstream Guards 1650-2000, Second to None, refers).

More detail is offered in The Coldstream Guards 1946-1970, by R. Crichton :

‘By the end of March [1950] the Battalion was back at Tapah and the Cameron Highlands and for the next four months patrolling and screening continued with the occasional success. There was a spirited fight on 28 May in the Sungkai area about 20 miles south of Tapah. A platoon of No. 3 Company, commanded by Second Lieutenant J. A. McGougan, spotted a party of eight bandits moving down a track ahead of them. They promptly opened fire, killed two, and the remainder dispersed. Second Lieutenant McGougan then organised a systematic search of the area and after a little time Sergeant I. Lawson, who was the Platoon Sergeant, was shot dead at point-blank range by a bandit who had remained unnoticed among the roots of a large tree stump: two others Lance-Sergeant Baxter and Guardsman Palfrey, were wounded and fell close by. Second Lieutenant McGougan and Lance-Sergeant Butler set about the task of rescuing the wounded and disposing of the bandit; as they were doing this Lance-Sergeant Butler spotted another bandit and killed him: then, covered by fire from Second Lieutenant McGougan, he dashed across an open space, and having climbed on top of the tree stump, killed the bandit. For their gallantry and determination Second Lieutenant McGougan was awarded the Military Cross and Lance-Sergeant Butler the Military Medal. Sadly, despite their efforts, Guardsman Palfrey died of his wounds.’ (The Coldstream Guards 1946-1970, by R. Crichton refers)

1 of 5 M.M.’s awarded to the Regiment for the Malaya operations.