Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 25th & 26th September 2019

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200

The C.B., C.B.E., M.V.O., K.P.M. group of nine awarded to Assistant Commissioner W. V. Harrel, Dublin Metropolitan Police, later Commander, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Civil) Companion’s neck badge, silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1902; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. (Military) Commander’s 1st type neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel; The Royal Victorian Order, M.V.O. Member’s 4th Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, the reverse officially numbered ‘185’; The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight of Grace’s set of insignia, comprising neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel, with heraldic beasts in angles; Star, silver-gilt and enamel, plain angles, with gold retaining pin; King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (Wm. V. Harrel, M.V.O. Assist. Commr. Dublin Met. Pol.); British War Medal 1914-20 (Commr. W. V. Harrel. R.N.V.R.); Visit to Ireland 1903 (W. V. Harrel. M.V.O. Asst. Comm. D.M.P.) with damaged integral top shamrock suspension bar; Coronation 1911, unnamed as issued; Visit to Ireland 1911, unnamed as issued, generally good very fine (10) £1,800-£2,200

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The C.B., C.B.E., M.V.O., K.P.M. group of nine awarded to Assistant Commissioner W. V. Harrel, Dublin Metropolitan Police, later Commander, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Civil) Companion’s neck badge, silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1902; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. (Military) Commander’s 1st type neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel; The Royal Victorian Order, M.V.O. Member’s 4th Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, the reverse officially numbered ‘185’; The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight of Grace’s set of insignia, comprising neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel, with heraldic beasts in angles; Star, silver-gilt and enamel, plain angles, with gold retaining pin; King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (Wm. V. Harrel, M.V.O. Assist. Commr. Dublin Met. Pol.); British War Medal 1914-20 (Commr. W. V. Harrel. R.N.V.R.); Visit to Ireland 1903 (W. V. Harrel. M.V.O. Asst. Comm. D.M.P.) with damaged integral top shamrock suspension bar; Coronation 1911, unnamed as issued; Visit to Ireland 1911, unnamed as issued, generally good very fine (10) £1,800-£2,200
C.B. London Gazette 14 June 1912: William Vesey Harrel, Esq., M.V.O.

C.B.E. London Gazette 1 April 1919: Commander William Vesey Harrel, C.B., M.V.O., R.N.V.R.
‘For valuable services on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Queenstown’.


M.V.O. 4th Class London Gazette 11 August 1903: William Vesey Harrel, Esq., Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dublin
‘On the occasion of His Majesty’s visit to Ireland.’


Order of St. John, Knight of Grace London Gazette 15 August 1902

K.P.M. London Gazette 1 January 1911: William Vesey Harrel, M.V.O., Assistant Commissioner, Dublin Metropolitan Police.
The original Recommendation states: ‘For twenty-four years’ service distinguished by success in administration and by special political and secret services. He has also rendered service on the occasion of Royal visits.’


William Vesey Harrel was born in Tyrone on 22 July 1866 and joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police as a Cadet on 9 April 1886. He was promoted 3rd Class District Inspector on 24 May 1886, and 2nd Class District Inspector on 8 February 1890. He was appointed to the Divisional Commissioner’s Staff on 20 August 1893, and was appointed Inspector of Prisons in Ireland on 29 September 1898.

On 4 January 1902 Harrel was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police operating out of Dublin Castle. He was heavily involved in the Royal Visits of 1903 (for which he was created a Member Fourth Class of the Royal Victorian Order) and 1911; and for his services as Assistant Commissioner was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (Civil Division) in 1912, as well as being awarded the King’s Police Medal, which he was presented with by the Lord Lieutenant at Dublin Castle on 15 February 1911.

In 1914 Harrel was one of the principal participants in the confrontation with about eight hundred Irish Volunteers who, armed with illegal weapons, were marching towards Dublin. At about 4:30 p.m., on 26 July 1914, Harrel, together with officers from the Dublin Metropolitan Police, intercepted the marchers at Malahide Road whereupon the leaders of the Volunteers had a parley with the Assistant Commissioner who demanded that they give up their rifles. They refused and so they were informed that the military were on hand, armed and prepared to fire if need be. In his evidence to the Royal Commission, Sergeant Sullivan stated, ’Captain Cobden, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, gave an order to his men to load; and accordingly at that point the rifles of one hundred of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers were loaded. And when we come to a later period you will find that they were never unloaded until they reached the barracks at a much later hour in the evening; and still more regrettable, the senior officer who subsequently took command over the hundred men, marched them through the city with loaded rifles. The Volunteers having refused to give up their rifles at Mr. Harrel’s summons, there was a scuffle of some kind at the bottom of the Malahide Road, first between the police and the Volunteers in a somewhat futile endeavour of a handful of police to disarm eight hundred men; and eventually the military, or part of them, engaged in the scuffle, and some bayonet wounds were inflicted on the Volunteers, so the order to fix bayonets must have been given prior to that event, because some Volunteers were wounded with the fixed bayonets of the military. Two revolver shots were fired, as I am instructed, not by the Volunteers, but from a group of bystanders behind, who I am unable to identify. I need not here say that these manoeuvres on a Sunday in that neighbourhood attracted a large number of people, because Dollymount and Clontarf are favourite resorts of the people on summer Sundays. And there was a large crowd behind the soldiers. From this group two revolver shots were fired, and two of His Majesty’s soldiers were injured thereby. The net result of that scuffle - for it could hardly be described as anything else - was that nineteen rifles out of the eight hundred, were taken from the Volunteers. Their leaders were again in parley with the Assistant Commissioner, and while they were debating with him the propriety or the impropriety of the proceedings, the rear ranks of the Volunteers dispersed and disappeared, and the result was that when Mr. Harrel closed the negotiations he found that the body of the Volunteers had completely disappeared from the neighbourhood along with their rifles, leaving behind them the two front ranks of unarmed men facing the police and the military.’

The police then left and the army soon after marched back to barracks. During the march they were subjected to considerable jeering, hooting and scoffing by the crowd which followed them. Some missiles were thrown at them and on occasions the rear ranks made bayonet charges on the following crowd. This continued until they reached Bachelor’s Walk and a full blown confrontation ensued which resulted in the death of three civilians, and about forty to fifty persons wounded between great and small but seriously wounded were thirty two persons. The official inquest into the incident reported very adversely upon Assistant Commissioner Harrel’s actions and and found that the employment of the police and military was not in accordance with the law. It further stated that Harrel was responsible for the calling out of the military and for the orders issued to the police.

Harrel resigned as Assistant Commissioner on 18 November 1914. The following year he was granted a temporary commission as Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 26 April 1915, and served during the Great War on Intelligence Duties on the Staff of the Vice-Admiral at Queenstown. For his valuable services rendered during the War he was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division), receiving his insignia from H.M. the King at Buckingham Palace on 17 May 1919. He relinquished his commission on 1 November 1919. Harrel died on 4 May 1956, and is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, Dublin.

Sold with a portrait photograph of the recipient and copied research.