Medals from the Collection of Peter Duckers

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Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £1,700

Estimate: £1,600 - £2,000

A good Second War ‘Sind 1942-43’ O.B.E., Great War ‘Mesopotamia’ M.C. group of ten awarded to Brigadier G. L. Tomkins, 10th Baluchis, late 128th Pioneers, Indian Army, who was three times Mentioned in Despatches, and was wounded in Waziristan in 1937

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge, silver-gilt; Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; British War and Victory Medals (Capt. G. L. Tomkins) minor official correction to VM; General Service 1918-62, 2 clasps, Iraq, N. W. Persia, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt. G. L. Tomkins. 128-Pioneers.); India General Service 1936-39, 1 clasp, North West Frontier 1936-37, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Major G. L. Tomkins. 1-10 Baluch. R.); 1939-45 Star; Burma Star; War Medal 1939-45, with M.I.D. oak leaf; India Service Medal 1939-45, court mounted, very fine or better (10) £1,600-£2,000

Footnote

O.B.E. London Gazette 8 June 1944.

The Recommendation states: ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard Lionel Tomkins, M.C., 6-10th Baluch Regiment, was Administrator of the Northern Sub Area from the commencement of Martial Law in Upper Sind on 1st June 1942 to 1st June 1943. He was responsible for the conduct of operations and the administration of law and order within his area. His area contained part of a district of Sind and an Indian State. It was due to his unflagging energy and tact throughout the whole period that he was able to gain the full co-operation of both the British and State officials towards the attainment of the common object.’

M.C. London Gazette 3 June 1918.

Gerard Lionel Tomkins was born in 1894, the son of the Accountant General of India, and was educated at Denstone College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, unattached list, in India, he had gained the Sword of Honour at the Cadet College at Wellington, India, and was posted to the 128th Bombay Pioneers.

During the Great War Tomkins served with the 128th Pioneers in Mesopotamia from 18 October 1916 to 11 November 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross. His M.C. is believed to have been awarded for an incident during operations in the Hai salient, recorded in the War Diary:
‘At about 3 p.m. [on 14 December 1916] Lieutenant G. L. Tomkins started out towards N7 with a patrol of 25 men of “A” Company, having sent on an advanced party. The advance party when at M3 was fired on from about N12 or N14 and losing one man killed, retired. During retirement, another man was wounded in the arm but reached his piquet again. The main body of the patrol under Lieutenant G. L. Tomkins worked from the south of the ruins at N3 to N6 and was fired on from P8, N15, N12 and trenches apparently running about S.E. at N10. The patrol answered the enemy's fire, which grew in volume at once, so the patrol withdrew on the line N6-Hansur road back to No. 1 piquet.’


The 128th served in the attack on the Hai salient on 26 January 1917, facing the western section of the Turkish defence line beyond the Hai channel. The Division attacked with the 128th supporting the assault troops and engaged in consolidation work in captured Turkish trenches. In February 1917 they were part of the force detailed to take the Shumran Crossing of the Tigris near Sannaiyat, the pontoons facing severe opposition and suffering very heavy casualties in the attempt to land the men.

Tomkins was promoted Lieutenant in April 1917, and Acting Captain in February 1918. He served as Staff Captain in Iraq and N.W. Persia (H.Q. Persian L. of C.), from December 1919 to March 1921, and was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 3 September 1921). Promoted Captain in April 1920, he served as D.A.Q.M.G., Iraq, from April to October 1921. In the inter-war years, following service with his regiment in Iraq 1919-21 and N.W. Persia, 1921, as part of the 14th Indian Division, Tomkins served in a variety of Staff appointments an addition to regimental service, and was briefly instructor in the School of Education, Western Army 1931-32. He was advanced Major in April 1934.

During the Waziristan campaign of 1937, Tomkins was one of comparatively few British officers to be wounded in action, serving as a Major with 1/10 Baluchis. The Morning Tribune of 18 June 1937 reported:
‘N. W. Frontier: Britons Wounded In Clash With Tribesmen: Major G. L. Tomkins of the 1/10th Baluchis and two British privates were wounded during operations in Waziristan. Two Gurkha and other ranks were killed and four wounded; two Indian other ranks were also wounded.’


Tomkins was again Mentioned in Despatches ‘for distinguished services rendered in connection with military operations in Waziristan, N. W. Frontier, 17th January to 15th September 1937’ (London Gazette 18 February 1938), one of only two ‘Mentions’ to the regiment for these operations.

Tomkins later served with the Regimental Training Centre (10/10th) as Second in Command and Commandant, from July 1938 to his retirement in September 1947 by which time he held the rank of Acting Colonel and Brigadier. In addition, Tomkins served on the North East Frontier and in Burma during the Second World War, being appointed O.B.E. and Mentioned in Despatches for a third time (London Gazette 8 June 1944) for service during civil disorders in the Sind area.

Brigadier Tomkins retired to Dublin, Ireland, in September 1947, where he was President of the Dun Laoghaire branch of the British Legion and a noted yachtsman. He died in Dublin on 5 March 1963 and is buried in Deans Grange Cemetery, Dublin. His obituary states that he was wounded in the 1939-45 War, although this may be a mistaken reference to his North West Frontier wound of 1937.

Sold with copied research including a portrait photographic image of the recipient.