Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)

John Michael Alan Tamplin

John Michael Alan Tamplin
I have in the past few years sold the majority of my collection. This is not because of lack of interest, but merely for two simple reasons - recent ill-health and advancing years. However, I still retain my long service awards.

The batch of medals in this auction are to civilians, and I note with interest that the earliest purchase was in 1950. I have always had an interest in awards to civilians even though they have never attracted the keen following that awards to servicemen do., but then again they are of course not so common; remember that over 500 men may have served in a battalion or on board a ship.

Many of the recipients were pioneers in their own fields. There are doctors, such as Ronald Ross, the Nobel Laureate of malaria fame; missionaries in the Church Missionary Society, such as George Pilkington and R.H. Leakey of East Africa; planters and settlers in East and West Africa; war correspondents, such as Sir Percival Philips, Angus Hamilton of the Black and White in the Defence of Mafeking, H.H.S. Pearse in Ladysmith and Joh Schonberg in Chine, 1900; political officers, such as E.C. Wilton in Tibet; T.J. Alldridge, an early settler in Sierra Leone, and H.B. Thomas, who went to Uganda on survey work in 1911 and was somebody who was personally known to me.

Moving further East, there is Fred Kennedy, who served with the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company for years and was General Manager when the fleet transported British forces in the Burmese was or 1885-7. Then we have R.B. M’Cabe, political officer in the North Lushai Hills, whose murder there re-started the war in 1892 (see Mayo, page 369), and on whose grave I have stood and paid my respects to his service; and Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari, whose murder in the Residency in Kabul on 3 September 1879 brought about the second stage of the war in that unhappy country.

There are medals to some of those who went from the UK to outposts of the Empire, did their duty and sometimes paid the price with their lives. They served in lonely positions, often by themselves, bringing medical assistance, law and order, justice and education.

They deserve to be remembered and honoured for their endeavours, humanity and service.