Medals from the Rob Campbell Collection relating to Clevedon, Somerset

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Date of Auction: 5th December 2018

Sold for £2,400

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,400

A scarce Great War C.B.E., M.V.O. group of eleven awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel B. G. V. Way, The Sherwood Foresters, who as a young Lieutenant gallantly took part in the storming of the Chagru Kotal, on 20 October 1897, when Lieutenant Pennell of the same regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross as part of the ‘Dargai Heights’ action. Way commanded a company of the Regiment’s Mounted Infantry during the Second Boer War, and was also a company commander at the Battle of the Aisne in 1914. He later received a Danish award for his work during the Schlesvig-Holstein Plebiscite of 1920

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. (Military) Commander’s 1st type, neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel; The Royal Victorian Order, M.V.O., Member’s 4th Class, breast badge, silver-gilt and enamels, the reverse numbered ‘90’; India General Service 1895-1902, 2 clasps, Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98 (Lieut. B. G. V. Way. 2d. Bn. Derby: Regt.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 (Capt: B. G. V. Way, Derby: Rgt:) last two clasps tailor’s copies, right-hand side of clasp carriage sprung between 2nd and 3rd clasps; 1914 Star, with clasp (Capt: B. G. V. Way. M.V.O. Notts: & Derby: R.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Capt. B. G. V. Way.); France, Third Republic, Legion of Honour, Fourth Class breast badge, gold and enamel, poincon mark to reverse tassel, with rosette on riband; Belgium, Kingdom, Order of the Crown, Fourth Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, white enamel damage to one arm of reverse, with rosette on riband; Croix de Guerre, A.I.R., bronze; Denmark, Kingdom, Slesvig Medal 1920, silver; backstraps removed from Victorian campaign awards to facilitate mounting, generally good very fine unless otherwise stated (11) £2,000-£2,400

Footnote

C.B.E. London Gazette 3 June 1919.

M.V.O. London Gazette 17 October 1911.

France, Legion of Honour, Officer London Gazette 10 October 1918.

Belgium, Order of the Crown, Officer London Gazette 7 June 1919.

Croix de Guerre London Gazette 7 February 1921.

Bromley George Vere Way was born in Stapleton, near Bristol, in December 1873. He was the eldest son of the Reverend W. H. B. Way, and was educated at Wellington College and New College, Oxford. Way was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, Derbyshire Regiment in August 1896. He served with the Battalion in action at Dargai, and was present at the storming of Chagru Kotal, 20 October 1897:

‘At the gap there was a terrible block, some four hundred men and several wounded being all tightly packed there, and fresh troops could only elbow there way through one at a time, so that it was impossible to direct the continuous stream of men needed to rush the place with any real hope of success.

Nevertheless Captain [W. E. G.] Smith, who commanded ‘D’ Company, the first of ours to come up, forced his way through the mass, and followed by his subaltern, [H.S.] Pennell, and three or four more men of the company who managed to struggle through at short intervals, made a dash across the gap into the open under a continuous hail of bullets. Before he had gone more than a few yards Smith fell, shot through the head, and the men immediately behind him were mown down. Private Dunn was killed on the spot, and Private Ponberth mortally wounded. Lieut. Pennell, not knowing his captain was dead, won a Victoria Cross by making a gallant effort to carry him back under cover... Another small part under Lieut. [B. G. V.] Way fared no better; Keeling, the Colour-Sergeant and Spick, a private of ‘D’ Company, were both severely wounded [both awarded the D.C.M. for the action] almost as soon as they crossed the gap.’ (History of The 1st & 2nd Battalions The Sherwood Foresters Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment 1740 - 1914, compiled by Colonel H. C. Wylly, C.B., refers)

Way was also present at the capture of the Sampagha and Arhanga Passes. Having advanced to Captain in July 1900, Way commanded No. 5 Malta M.I. Company of the Battalion’s Mounted Infantry in South Africa, and was employed in operations in Cape Colony, January - February 1901, and in Orange River Colony, February - June 1901 (entitled to Q.S.A. with 3 clasps, not entitled to ‘Transvaal’ clasp). Way’s letters chronicling the operations during the Second Boer War were published in the Regimental Annual of 1911, and used to form the Regimental History quoted from above.

Way’s brother, Lieutenant A. S. Way, served with the Durham Light Infantry during the Second Boer War and was awarded the D.S.O. as well as being killed in action during the conflict. Way served as A.D.C. to the G.O.C. in Command, Aldershot Command, December 1907 - June 1910, and as Assistant Military Secretary to the same officer, June 1910 - February 1912 (M.V.O.).

Way resided at 20 Charles Street, Mayfair, and in 1915 inherited a large sum of money. He served during the Great War as commanding officer of ‘B’ Company, 2nd Battalion, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment in the French theatre of war from 11 September 1914. He led his men at the Battle of the Aisne later that month, and advanced to Major in May 1915. Way was posted to the War Office in a Staff capacity in 1915, and was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Movements in January 1917. He advanced to Assistant Director in May 1918 (Brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel 1 January 1918).

From 22 January 1920, with the 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, Way served in the Plebiscite Area of Schlesvig-Holstein, the land bordering Denmark and Germany. At the peace treaty of 1864 between Denmark, Prussia and Austria, it was decided that if a plebiscite could prove that the northern half of Schlesvig had a clear Danish majority in her population, this part should be returned to Denmark. The Prussians, however, cancelled this decision and refused to take part in any talks. It was not until Germany had lost the Great War that the Plebiscite, supported by the British and French Governments, was held in 1920. During the voting period, Allied forces occupied the area; the 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters and the Chasseurs Alpin were the representative troops.

The Sherwood Foresters were based at Flensburg, whilst the voting in the Northern and Southern Sectors took place. The voting in the Northern Sector took place without any disturbances on 10 February 1920. The voting in the Southern Sector was to take place 14 March 1920, ‘On the 13th three small detachments of ten men under the command of Lieuts. Brittan, Twamley, and Sellis were sent out to the Ringsburg, Frorup, and Lindewitt to supervise the voting, and on the same day the Battalion moved into Flensburg to patrol the streets and keep order during the voting, and was quartered in St. Nicholas Schools.... No sooner had the plebiscite in the second zone been taken than the Kapp Revolution broke out in Germany, and it was reported that a force of Kapp revolutionists was concentrating near Hamburg, with a view to advancing on Flensburg.

It was therefore decided to send three small outposts out on the main roads on the southern boundary of the southern zone and on the 20th three detachments, under Lieuts. Mason, Warneford, and Sellis, moved out to Oversee, Neu, and Stedesend.’ (1920 Regimental Annual, The Sherwood Foresters, refers)

The above manoeuvres seem to have had the desired effect as no further disturbances occurred. Before the Battalion left Flensburg, the Danish Government requested to be allowed to fete those troops involved with the Plebiscite in Copenhagen. On 17 June 1920, together with the RN officers and ratings of H.M.S. Carysfort, they all received a commemorative medal presented by H.M. King Christian X of Denmark.

Lieutenant-Colonel Way retired in June 1922, and died in Barnes, Surrey, 4 October 1940.

Sold with portrait photograph of recipient in uniform, and extensive copied research.