A Collection of Medals for the Russian Intervention 1918-20

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Date of Auction: 27th February 2019

Sold for £3,600

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,400

A rare 1919 ‘Russian Intervention’ D.C.M., Great War ‘Western Front’ M.M. group of five awarded to Sergeant J. J. Cannon, Machine Gun Corps, late King’s Royal Rifle Corps, who was awarded the D.C.M. for gallantry near the village of Ussuna on 9 September 1919 when he led a force of British and Russian troops in an ambush against a party of 40 Bolsheviks who had infiltrated behind British lines, and engaged the enemy at only 20 yards range, his D.C.M. being the last such award to the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (147129 T.Sjt. J. J. Cannon. M.M. M.G.C.); Military Medal, G.V.R. (147129 Cpl. J. J. Cannon. M.G.C.); 1914-15 Star (1647 Pte. J. J. Cannon. K.R. Rif. C.); British War and Victory Medals (1647 Sjt. J. J. Cannon. K.R.R.C.) mounted as worn, cleaned, nearly very fine (5) £2,000-£2,400

Footnote

D.C.M. London Gazette 21 January 1920:
‘At Ussuna, on the night of the 9th September 1919, an enemy patrol was reported to be in our rear position. He organised a party of British and Russian troops, and went out to verify the report. He encountered a party of the enemy, about 40 strong, and engaged them at 20 yards range. He then withdrew and reported to his officer, with the result that the enemy attack was beaten off with heavy loss. Next day, he again rendered gallant service.’

M.M. London Gazette 13 March 1919.

John Joseph Cannon, a native of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, attested for the King’s Royal Rifle Corps at Winchester on 10 September 1914 and served with the 2nd Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 27 July 1915. He was admitted to 13th General Hospital at Bolougne with frostbite on 9 January 1916 and was evacuated to England a week later. Returning to the Front, he transferred to the 2nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps on 17 April 1918, and was wounded in action on 29 September 1918. For his services with the Machine Gun Corps on the Western Front he was awarded the Military Medal, and was discharged on 18 December 1918. Re-enlisting for a term of 2 years on 9 July 1919 he served with the 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps as part of the North Russia Expeditionary Force, Murmansk Command, from 25 August to 4 October 1919, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry near the village of Ussuna on 9 September 1919 when he led a force of British and Russian troops in an ambush against a party of 40 Bolsheviks who had infiltrated behind British lines, and engaged the enemy at only 20 yards range. His D.C.M. was the only one awarded to 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps for North Russia, and was subsequently the last ever D.C.M. awarded to the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).

Cannon subsequently served in India, and was discharged on 7 July 1921. He is mentioned on page 95 of Churchill's Secret War with Lenin by Damien Wright.