A Fine Collection of Medals to the South Wales Borderers

Date of Auction: 17th September 2020

Sold for £3,000

Estimate: £1,600 - £2,000

A Great War 1918 Salonika ‘V.C. action’ D.S.O. and Second War ‘1941’ Abyssinia Second Award Bar, inter-War O.B.E., ‘Gallipoli’ M.C. group of thirteen attributed to Colonel P. R. M. Mundy, South Wales Borderers, who served with the 4th, 1st and 2nd Battalions during the Great War and was wounded by a sniper in the Le Transloy sector 4 February 1917, and during the attack on the Grand Couronne, 18 September 1918. He was M.I.D. on numerous occasions, including during operations in Palestine in 1937, and went on to command the 6th Battalion, King’s African Rifles between the wars and the 1/4th Battalion with distinction during the Second War

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., with copy Second Award Bar, silver-gilt and enamel, with integral top riband bar; he Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 1st type, breast badge, hallmarks for London ‘1919’; Military Cross, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star (89328 Cpl. G. Archer. R.F.A. [Sic]); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves, both erased; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Palestine, M.I.D. Oak Leaf (Lt. Col. P. R. M. Mundy. D.S.O. O.B.E. M.C. S.W.B.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Coronation 1937; France, Third Republic, Croix de Guerre, bronze, reverse dated 1914-1918, with bronze palm emblem and bronze star on riband, generally very fine (13) £1,600-£2,000

Footnote

D.S.O. London Gazette 1 February 1919 (Salonika)

D.S.O. Second Award Bar London Gazette 21 October 1941:
‘For highly distinguished services and gallantry in action, at Scroppa [Sic] in Southern Abyssinia on 30th March, 1941, this officer planned and carried out a brilliant and highly successful operation against an enemy force opposed to him. Almost the whole enemy force were destroyed or captured. 350 prisoners and 4 guns were taken. Lt. Colonel Mundy’s coolness and determined leadership was an inspiration to his entire command.’


O.B.E. London Gazette 3 June 1935.

M.C. London Gazette 2 February 1916 (Gallipoli).

M.I.D. London Gazette 28 January 1916 (Gallipoli), 23 July 1937 (Palestine), 1 April 1941 and 8 July 1943.

France, Croix de Guerre London Gazette 21 July 1919.

Pierrepont ‘Patrick’ Rodney Miller Mundy was born in July 1891, and ‘in a distinguished military career, of nearly 40 years, he served in many parts of the world and was decorated several times.

For the last 33 years he lived at Shudy Camps, near Haverhill. Colonel Mundy was born in Ireland, where his father was serving, in 1891, and educated at Eton. He went to Sandhurst and on receiving his commission in 1911 joined the South Wales Borderers.

During the First World War he was wounded in action in Salonika and was awarded the M.C. for service in Gallipoli. He also served in France and was awarded the D.S.O. The French honoured him with the Croix de Guerre.

After the war he spent three years in New Zealand as aide-de-camp to Lord Jellicoe for whom he retained a life-long admiration. He then spent three years in India where he was commended by the Governor General for his part in handling a riot near Calcutta. From there he went to Aden before returning home for a period.

He spent six years in East Africa seconded to the King’s African Rifles and was awarded a bar to his D.S.O. for his part in driving the Italians out of Somalia in the Second World War. He was head of the Somali Gendarmerie.

He retired in 1948 with the rank of Colonel and moved to Shudy Camps.’ (Obituary from the Regimental Journal, dated 29 May 1983)

Mundy was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers in March 1911, and advanced to Lieutenant in April 1913. On the latter date he transferred to the 4th (Service) Battalion, and Mundy served with them as Captain and ‘D’ Company commander when they landed at ‘V’ Beach on the Gallipoli Peninsula, 15 July 1915.

Mundy distinguished himself during the capture of Damakjelik Bair, 6/7 August 1915:

‘On the morning of August 6th a brigade conference was held at which General Travers explained what was expected of his column, and that afternoon Colonel Gillespie with Captains Kitchin and Mundy and some others were given a chance of reconnoitring through their glasses the unknown and intricate country to be traversed. They were taken along the coast in a destroyer and were able to spot several things which the maps did not reveal, notably that the Turkish trench which the leading company [Mundy’s D Company] would have to attack was really at right angles to the position marked....

When the 4th [Battalion] started at 8pm, heavy firing was already to be heard on the right, where a furious fight was being waged for the Lone Pine trenches, and the battalion threaded its way down deep gullies to the shore to the accompaniment of the sounds of bursting shells and incessant rifle fire. As it plodded forward towards the deploying point, it caught some rifle and machine-gun fire from the foot-hills.... Soon after passing the mouth of the Chalak Dere the column found itself on more open ground, and the 4th then formed lines of companies moving to a flank in fours, 20 yards interval between platoons and 30 yards between lines, D Company under Captain Mundy acting as advanced guard. From the flank a desultory but apparently unaimed fire was still maintained, but the men’s steadiness was admirable and the natural tendency to face to the right in the direction from the fire was coming was well kept in hand and the proper direction maintained. Thus the battalion’s movement escaped detection till, near the mouth of the Aghyl Dere, shots were suddenly fired into it from just ahead. Several men fell. There was a momentary check, but urged on by Colonel Gillespie, and well handled by Captain Mundy, D Company dashed forward across the nullah and just as the next company reached the nullah a loud cheer proclaimed that D had carried the trench from which the fire had come.

There was a sharp fight, but D made short work of the defenders, whose survivors bolted into the darkness. Then, while D pushed straight ahead, the other companies bore off to the right towards Damakjelik Bair. This, as one officer writes, “was the most difficult part of the job. We had to cross the nullah, which was about twelve feet deep with very steep banks, and to reform on the other side on a bearing of 75 degrees.....”

On the way several parties of Turks had been encountered and promptly dealt with, most them being taken by surprise. By 1.30am Damajelik Bair had been seized and the 4th was consolidating the position. D Company, which had nearly all the fighting, had had 8 killed and 17 wounded, the other companies hardly losing anyone.’ (Regimental History refers)

After being evacuated from Gallipoli, Mundy was attached to the 1st Battalion on the Loos Salient becoming Temporary Major and second in command from April 1916. Mundy was then attached for service with the 2nd Battalion, serving as Adjutant and being wounded by a sniper in the Le Transloy sector 4 February 1917. Having recuperated, he returned for service with the 7th (Service) Battalion in Salonika at the start of 1918.

Mundy distinguished himself again during the attack on the Grand Couronne, 18 September 1918:

‘Thus from both flanks machine gun fire concentrated upon the 7th, when the barrage lifted, the men dashed at the gaps in the wire, they were bowled over in numbers by the stream of bullets, more deadly now because on the barrage lifting the dust and smoke cleared away and the machine gunners could see their targets clearly. A mere handful struggled through the wire and entered the trenches, but far too few to effect anything in face of the strong trench garrisons....

The survivors of the 7th had finally to retire to our own trenches. Only the merest fragment of a battalion remained, and of the 50 odd survivors whom Captain Donald, the M.O. and Lieutenant Stephenson could collect more than half were suffering so badly from gas that they had to be evacuated to hospital the next day. Of 17 officers engaged in the attack only Captain Donald remained unhit. Captains Mundy and Treglown with Lieutenants Round and Stephenson, though wounded, had got back to our lines, the others, including Colonel Burges who was known to be wounded, were missing, and not till some days later, when the Bulgarians retired, could their fate be cleared up by the discovery of their dead bodies, that of Captain Dick being found farther forward up the Grand Couronne than any other officer’s or man’s....

The signal honour of the award of the Croix de Guerre speaks for itself - the 7th was the only battalion in the B.S.F. so honoured and but four were given to British units on the whole of the Western Front. Colonel Burges, whom all ranks were rejoiced to recover a few days later in a Bulgarian hospital, received a well-merited V.C., Captain Donald, who had been simply magnificent, might well have been as highly rewarded; no man ever deserved the V.C. better, but the D.S.O. awarded to Captain Mundy, three M.C.’s given to Captains Treglown and Donald and Lieutenant Round, three D.C.M.’s... and six M.M.’s... formed a goodly list.’ (Ibid)

After the war Mundy was appointed as a Military Secretary in Wellington, New Zealand, 19 August 1920. He was appointed Major and Officer Commanding 6th (Tanganyika Territory) Battalion, King’s African Rifles in September 1929 (O.B.E.).

Mundy advanced to Lieutenant Colonel and served with the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers in Palestine, before returning for service with the 1/4th Battalion, King’s African Rifles during the Second War. His gallantry in leading a combined force of K.A.R. and South African armoured cars against 1,000 troops of the 61st Colonial Battalion and four guns on a ridge known as Little Soroppa in Abyssinia was recognised with a Second Award Bar to his D.S.O. (see Regimental History for further details).

Mundy retired as Colonel in 1948.

Sold with several photographic images of recipient in uniform, and copied research.