A Collection of Army Gallantry Awards to the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, and the Royal Air Force

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Date of Auction: 4th March 2020

Sold for £2,200

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,400

A Great War 1917 ‘Passchendaele’ M.M. group of five awarded to Sergeant G. H. Craik, Royal Marines Divisional Train, attached 149th (Royal Naval) Field Ambulance, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, who was originally recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry at Ypres, 26-30 October 1917; he subsequently served with the Shanghai Municipal Police, and was interned by the Japanese throughout the Second World War

Military Medal, G.V.R. (Deal-1718 (S) Cpl. -A.Sjt:- G. H. Craik. R.M. D.T.); 1914-15 Star (Deal 1718-S- Sgt. G. H. Craik. R.M.); British War and Victory Medals (Deal 1718-S- Sgt. G. H. Craik. R.M.); Shanghai Municipal Council Emergency Medal 1937, bronze, unnamed as issued, very fine (5) £1,000-£1,400

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 23 February 1918.

The original Recommendation, by Colonel R. W. Clements, C.M.G., D.S.O., Royal Army Medical Corps, for a D.C.M. states: ‘Operations N.E. of Ypres, 26/27 and 30 October 1917. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. At great personal risk he remained at his post in charge of the horse ambulances during the attacks. Two of his ambulance wagons were damaged by shell fire and two horses killed. He has on many occasions exhibited great courage and devotion to duty. His work in arranging the constant supply of horsed ambulance wagons to the Advanced Dressing Station and back was magnificent. He has done previous good work in the same capacity, always exhibiting great courage.’

George Hutcheon Craik was born in Aberdeen on 7 May 1896, and enlisted into the Royal Marines in 1914. He served with the Royal Marines Divisional Train, Royal Naval Division, during the Great War from 1914- this unit was formed in 1914 as a naval equivalent to the Army Service Corps for service with the Royal Naval Division. Royal Marines posted to the unit were enlisted for short service with Deal number prefixes and borne on the books of H.M.S. Victory. The unit was divided into an Ammunition Column and Field Ambulance Unit for the transport of the Royal Naval Division Field Ambulances and Royal Marines Medical Unit. The unit served at Gallipoli and went to France with the Royal Naval Division after its transfer from Admiralty to Army command as 63rd (Royal Naval) Division.

After discharge from the Royal Marines, Craik volunteered for service with the Shanghai Municipal Police, the multi-national police force of the Shanghai International Settlement. After the war the S.M.P. began a recruitment drive in Britain amongst discharged soldiers for volunteers. Craik sailed with 44 other recruits for the S.M.P. from Liverpool on SS Laertes on 9 October 1919.

In July 1937, Japan invaded China from its occupied territory in Manchuria. In response to the invasion and occupation of Beijing, Chinese nationalists began attacking Japanese interests in Shanghai which in turn resulted in Japan despatching reinforcements to the city.

From 13 August, a full scale war was fought between Chinese nationalists and the Imperial Japanese Army with the multi-national Shanghai International Settlement caught in the middle. The settlement remained neutral territory but was frequently shelled and bombed by both the Chinese and Japanese. Five soldiers from the Royal Ulster Rifles manning guard posts on the borders of the settlement were killed by fire from Japanese forces during the Emergency. By the end of November the Chinese nationalist forces had been forced from Shanghai and the territory surrounding the city was occupied by the Japanese.

In recognition of services during the fighting, the Shanghai Municipal Council commissioned creation of a medal for award to volunteers, council employees, police and civilians for services during the ‘Shanghai Emergency’.

Japanese troops entered and occupied the international settlement on 8 December 1941 with barely a shot fired. European Shanghai residents were forced by the Japanese to wear armbands and were evicted from their homes and interned. Senior members of the S.M.P. were arrested as political prisoners, and former Sub-Inspector George Craik was interned in Haiphong Road camp, with his wife Anne interned at Ash Camp. Both were released in 1945 after the Japanese surrender. Craik remained in Shanghai until Mao Tse-tung's Communists took control of China in October 1949 when he returned with his wife to Scotland.

Craik was awarded the S.M.P. Long Service Medal in 1930 (for 12 years’ service), and further clasps in 1935 (17 years) and 1940 (22 years), although the whereabouts of this medal is unknown.

Sold with two photographic images of the recipient, one of him in S.M.P. uniform wearing the ribands of the M.M., the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal; the Victory Medal; the S.M.C. Emergency Medal 1937, and the S.M.P. Long Service Medal.