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 £3,800

Estimate: £2,800 - £3,200

A Great War 1918 ‘March Retreat’ M.C. group of four awarded to Captain G. J. Wharf, 1st Royal Marines Battalion, Royal Naval Division, who served with the Royal Marines Brigade at Dunkirk and in the Defence of Antwerp in 1914; at Gallipoli in 1915; and on the Western Front 1916-18, where he was killed in action at Aveluy Wood on 6 April 1918

Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued, in case of issue; 1914 Star, with clasp (Ch.16660. Sergt. G. J. Wharf, R.M. Brigade.); British War and Victory Medals (Capt. G. F. Wharf. R.M.); Memorial Plaque (George James Wharf) extremely fine (5) £2,800-£3,200

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 26 July 1918:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in commanding a company with marked ability. Although gassed, he set a fine example to his men throughout the operations, on one occasion engaging the enemy and finally withdrawing his company with great skill under very adverse circumstances.’


George James Wharf was born in Rotherhithe, London, on 4 August 1891, and enlisted into the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 8 February 1910, giving his trade as ‘Porter’. Posted to the Chatham Division, he was promoted Corporal on 28 July 1914, and embarked with Royal Marine Brigade on 12 September 1914. He served during the Great War with the Royal Marine Brigade at Dunkirk from 30 September to 2 October 1914, and then at the Defence of Antwerp from 3 to 9 October of that year. The following year he proceeded to Gallipoli, and was promoted Sergeant on 21 October 1915. The following year he saw service on the Western Front with the 1st Royal Marine Battalion, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, and was commissioned Temporary Lieutenant, Royal Marines, on 7 July 1917.

Wharf was awarded the Military Cross for actions on the Western Front on 26 March 1918. Britain's Sea Soldiers gives the following account:
Shortly after the withdrawal from Thiepval Ridge to behind the Arras - Albert Railway the Germans attacked 1/R.M.L.I. and succeeded in gaining a footing in the position. A successful counter attack led by Lieutenant G. J. Wharf and Captain and Adjutant R. H. West drove the Germans out and re-established the line; Lieutenant Wharf was killed, he was awarded the Military Cross posthumously; although gassed he “set a fine example to his men and engaged the enemy with skill and determination; he had been one of the old long service non-commissioned officers of the Corps and had distinguished himself by his gallantry and efficiency”.’


Wharf was killed in action at Aveluy Wood on 6 April 1918, aged 27. He is buried in Mesnil Communal Cemetery, France.

Approximately 36 Military Crosses awarded to the Royal Marine Light Infantry for the Great War.