Medals from the Collection of Peter Duckers

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Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £900

Estimate: £600 - £800

An inter-War 1936-37 ‘Waziristan’ O.B.E. group of nine awarded to Brigadier E. H. T. Gayer, C.B.E., Royal Engineers and Indian Sappers and Miners, who was four times Mentioned in Despatches

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge, silver-gilt; India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, Waziristan 1921-24 (Lieut. E. H. T. Gayer R.E.); India General Service 1936-39, 2 clasps, North West Frontier 1936-37, North West Frontier 1937-39, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt. E. H. T. Gayer. R.E.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, 1 clasp, 1st Army; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, with M.I.D. oak leaf; Coronation 1953, unnamed as issued, court-mounted; together with the recipient’s riband bar, lacquered, nearly extremely fine (9) £600-£800


Provenance: Major Clive Wilcox Collection, Spink, July 2007 (when sold without the O.B.E.).

C.B.E. London Gazette 25 June 1946:
‘For gallant and Distinguished Services in Italy.’

The recommendation states: ‘During the past year he has been in charge of the Engineer and Training Establishment in this theatre. He had to expand it from a small school in North Africa to a combined Schools and Depot serving a large theatre of war. He had to introduce and organise instruction in a variety of new equipment and adjust training of the RE to the changing needs of operations. In addition to training British forces, he has gained a high commendation for his work in training instructors and specialists from American, Polish and Italian formations also. At this job (which is more than that of a normal Command ETE) has worked untiringly. Operations on this front owe much to his efforts. The excellence of the training given at the Engineer Training Establishment and the resourcefulness and ingenuity displayed in the improvisation and adaptation of engineer equipment have been most important factors in maintaining the efficiency of the Royal Engineers in this theatre. Colonel Gayer’s work in this respect has been outstanding.’

O.B.E. London Gazette 10 December 1937:
‘For valuable services in connection with operations in Waziristan during the period 25th November 1936 to 16th January 1937.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 18 February 1938 (Waziristan 1936/37); 25 October 1940 (Waziristan 1939); 23 September 1943 (North Africa); 11 January 1945 (Italy)

Hugh Eric Trelawney Gayer was born in 1900, the son of Reverend Edmund Gayer, Vicar of Snitterfield, Stratford upon Avon, and was educated at Wellington College. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant, Royal Engineers, on 16 July 1920, and served with the 2nd Madras Sappers and Miners in Waziristan 1921-24, being promoted Lieutenant on 16 July 1922. He served in India 1923-28, was advanced to Captain in 1931 and served as Officer Commanding Gentlemen Cadets, Royal Military College, Sandhurst 1932-36. He next served in Waziristan 1936-39, with ‘Razcol force’ and ‘Wazirforce’, Commanding 15th Company, Madras Sappers and Miners, was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 18 February 1938), and was awarded the O.B.E.

Having been advanced to Major in August 1938, Gayer continued to serve on the North West Frontier, and was again Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 25 October 1940), before returning to England. Posted to North Africa, he was advanced Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel on 25 October 1941 and served with the 1st Army in Tunisia as CRE 2/GFHQ Troops R.E., based around Souk Ahras, and also with 230, 51, 587 Field Companies, involved in minelaying, where they halted the Axis counter-attacks in the Shiba Gap having laid over 15,000 mines in four days. For his services in North Africa he was again Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 23 September 1943).

Proceeding to Italy in 1944, Gayer was again Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 11 January 1945), and was appointed C.B.E. for services in Italy. After the war he was present with British occupation forces in Austria and ended his army career in the rank of Brigadier, being appointed Chief Engineer, British Troops, Egypt, 1953-55. He died in 1973.

There are good portrait photos of Gayer by Bassano in the National Portrait Gallery. Sold with copied research.