The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 20th August 2020

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

A rare Great War ‘Western Front’ M.M. and two Bars group of four awarded to Corporal E. J. Cousins, 12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, the first for his gallantry at the attack and capture of Thiepval on 26 September 1916, when, urged by their Commanding Officer ‘not to stop or retire a yard, but to be out to kill and get Thiepval on our Colours’, the battalion suffered 432 casualties, but achieved their targets, their victory that day being gilded by the award of two Victoria Crosses

Military Medal, G.V.R., with Second and Third Award Bars (G-2826 L. Cpl. E. J. Cousins. 12/Middx: R.); 1914-15 Star (2826 Pte. E. J. Cousins, Midd’x R.); British War and Victory Medals (2826 Cpl. E. J. Cousins. Midd’x R.) very fine (4) £3,000-£4,000

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A rare Great War ‘Western Front’ M.M. and two Bars group of four awarded to Corporal E. J. Cousins, 12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, the first for his gallantry at the attack and capture of Thiepval on 26 September 1916, when, urged by their Commanding Officer ‘not to stop or retire a yard, but to be out to kill and get Thiepval on our Colours’, the battalion suffered 432 casualties, but achieved their targets, their victory that day being gilded by the award of two Victoria Crosses

Military Medal, G.V.R., with Second and Third Award Bars (G-2826 L. Cpl. E. J. Cousins. 12/Middx: R.); 1914-15 Star (2826 Pte. E. J. Cousins, Midd’x R.); British War and Victory Medals (2826 Cpl. E. J. Cousins. Midd’x R.) very fine (4) £3,000-£4,000
Provenance: J. B. Hayward, February 1972.

One of only three M.M. and two Bars awarded to the Middlesex Regiment.

M.M. London Gazette 21 December 1916.

M.M. Second Award Bar London Gazette 18 July 1917.

M.M. Third Award Bar London Gazette 27 June 1918.

Ernest James Cousins was born in Mile End, London, in 1886, and attested there for the Middlesex Regiment. He served with the 12th Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 25 July 1915, and was three times commended by the Major-General Commanding his Division (the first two with the 18th Division, the last with the 58th (London) Division), the first time ‘at the Capture of Thiepval’ on 26 September 1916; the second time ‘During Operations against Cherisy’ on 3 May 1917; and the third time ‘near Chauny’ on 21-26 March 1918; given the dates of these three acts of gallantry, and the three London Gazette entries, it is reasonable to presume that it was these three acts of gallantry that led to the award of his three Military Medals.

At the attack and capture of Thiepval on 26 September 1916 the Battalion behaved magnificently, with the Regimental historian Everard Wyrall noting that the attack preceded slowly with practically every yard of ground being fought for. The advance was held up for a time by machine gun fire from Thiepval Chateau, but, inspired by their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel F. Maxwell, V.C., who urged them ‘not to stop or retire a yard, but to be out to kill and get Thiepval on our Colours’, they pressed on and achieved their targets. The battalion suffered 432 casualties that day, and for their gallantry Privates F. J. Edwards and R. Ryder were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Sold with the recipient’s three original Divisional Commendation cards; and copied research.