A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the Lincolnshire Regiment

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Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £800 - £1,200

A Great War M.C. group of four awarded to Major R. N. Holmes, 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, who was decorated for gallantry when leading his Battalion at the Battle of Bailleul in April 1918 and was subsequently awarded an M.B.E. during the Second World War.

Military Cross G.V.R., reverse privately engraved ‘Awarded 15th April 1918. Major R. N. Holmes. M.C. 4th Lincolns. Presented 3rd April 1919.’; 1914-15 Star (2. Lieut. R. N. Holmes. Linc R.); British War and Victory Medals (Major R. N. Holmes.) very fine (4) £800-£1,200

Footnote

M.B.E London Gazette 3 September 1940.

M.C. London Gazette 16 September 1918:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst temporarily commanding his battalion. He was ordered at very short notice to relieve a brigade in the line. His personal reconnaissance and quick grasp of a difficult situation enabled this relief to be speedily carried out, after which, by his personal example of courage, he encouraged his men under heavy shell fire. Later, he successfully organised several local counter-attacks.’


Richard Nowell Holmes was born in Lancashire in 1889, the son of Isaac and Isabel Holmes. He was commissioned Temporary Second Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment on 24 July 1915 and advanced to Temporary Lieutenant on 14 August 1915. He served during the Great War on the Western Front from 5 November 1915, and saw further promotion to Temporary Captain on 13 April 1916.

Holmes was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry on 15 April 1918 at the Battle of Bailleul, during the great German Spring Offensive on the Lys. The battalion war diary states that the Commanding Officer of 4th Battalion, Lt-Colonel Barrell, was taken ill, with command of the Battalion devolving onto temporary Major R. N. Holmes who proceeded to assuredly lead the battalion in their relief of the whole of 102 Brigade in the front line under difficult circumstances. The heavy fighting which followed at Bailleul, and Crucifix Corner in particular, over the next two days, alongside the 2/5th Battalion, resulted in over 600 casualties (killed, wounded or missing) before orders were received to move to reserve positions on 17 April, on which date, owing to weakness of numbers, the 2/5th Battalion was also placed under the orders of Major Holmes with the composite Battalion now being known as ‘Major Holmes’ Battalion’.

Holmes relinquished his commission on completion of service on 16 November 1920 and was granted the rank of Captain. On 3 December 1939 he transferred from the Reserve of Officers (Lincolnshire Regiment) to be Captain, Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps and was awarded the M.B.E. (Military Division) the following year. He relinquished his commission for the final time on 14 December 1945 and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.