The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 20th August 2020

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A Boer War C.B. group of three awarded to Colonel A. W. Hill, 57th Foot and Middlesex Regiment, who commanded the 2nd Battalion at Spion Kop, 24 January 1900

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s breast badge, gold and enamel, unmarked, lacking integral gold riband buckle; South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1879 (Lieut. A. W. Hill. 57th. Foot.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 7 clasps, Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek, South Africa 1901 (Colonel A. W. Hill. C.B. Middx. Rgt.) last partially officially corrected so as to include the recipient’s post-nominal initials; some enamel damage to first, with lions in angles loose, this nearly very fine, the two campaign medals good very fine (3) £4,000-£5,000

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A Boer War C.B. group of three awarded to Colonel A. W. Hill, 57th Foot and Middlesex Regiment, who commanded the 2nd Battalion at Spion Kop, 24 January 1900

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s breast badge, gold and enamel, unmarked, lacking integral gold riband buckle; South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1879 (Lieut. A. W. Hill. 57th. Foot.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 7 clasps, Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek, South Africa 1901 (Colonel A. W. Hill. C.B. Middx. Rgt.) last partially officially corrected so as to include the recipient’s post-nominal initials; some enamel damage to first, with lions in angles loose, this nearly very fine, the two campaign medals good very fine (3) £4,000-£5,000
Provenance: Cross Collection, J. B. Hayward, January 1973.

C.B. London Gazette 19 April 1901:
‘In recognition of his services in connection with the Campaign in South Africa 1899-1900.’


Augustus West Hill was born at Ryde, Isle of Wight, on 4 May 1853, and was commissioned Lieutenant in the 57th Regiment of Foot on 1 January 1873. He served with the Regiment in South Africa during the Zulu War from 20 February to 13 December 1879, including the action at Ginghilovo on 2 April 1879: ‘The crossing of the Tugela was completed on 29 March, and two days later the little army (comprising the 57th Foot; the 3rd Battalion, 60th Rifles; 200 bluejackets; and a small body of mounted natives) reached Ginghilovo, where Pearson signalled to them from Ekowe that a Zulu attack was imminent. The camp was at once formed, with the wagons in laager, with Gatling guns and some other small artillery at the angles, and with trenches in front. The position of the 57th was on the south-east side of the laager. About six o’clock on the morning of 2 April, the Zulus, decked out with crests of leopard skin and feathers, and the tails of wild oxen, to give them a terrifying aspect, attacked with alternate rushes ands yells. In spite of the deadly fire from the trenches they came on again and again; at first against the 60th on the north-east, and then on the other sides. But though they advanced with the greatest bravery right up to the trenches, they could never get to close quarters, and after an hour’s hard fight a charge of the mounted infantry completed their rout.’ (The story of the Middlesex Regiment, by C. L. Kingsford refers).

Hill was promoted Captain on 27 September 1880, and was appointed Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, on 23 November 1882. Advanced Major on 8 May 1885, he transferred to the 2nd Battalion on 2 October 1886, and served with them in India from 14 February 1892 to 8 September 1895. Whilst stationed at Quetta in April 1893 the Battalion formed part of a small force under Colonel Wade-Dalton, which was sent to Kelat in consequence of the murder of ministers there, although the expedition was considered too minor to qualify for a clasp to the India General Service Medal.

Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel on 27 May 1896, Hill commanded the 2nd Battalion during the Boer War, landing at Cape Town on Christmas Day 1899, and were at once sent round to Natal where Buller’s army, after the failure to force the Boer position at Colenso, was in urgent need of reinforcement. After crossing the Tugela at Trickhardt’s Drift on 17 January 1900, it was finally decided to assault the Boer position on Spion Kop on 24 January. The 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, along with the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment, and the Imperial Light Infantry, were to be held in readiness to support the attack:

‘The attack began successfully. A portion of the crest of Spion Kop was seized at 4 o’clock on the morning of 24 January by a force under General Woodgate. But a dense fog made it impossible to trace the entrenchments correctly, and when the fog rolled away the British position was found to be seriously exposed. In the face of the Boer attack, which began at 8 o’clock, it was maintained with great difficult, and an urgent request was sent for reinforcements. As it happened the 2nd Middlesex and the Imperial Light Infantry had already started. The extreme steepness of the hill made the climb difficult, and, in most places, it was necessary to ascend in single file. About midday four companies of the Middlesex had reached the summit, thrusting themselves into the firing line as they arrived, wherever their help seemed to be most needed. Without the aid of the Middlesex the hill must have been lost in disaster. That this was averted was due to the self-sacrificing valour of officers and men. It was round Aloe Knoll, at the eastern end of the crest, that the main fighting of the afternoon centred. Here Colonel Hill of the Middlesex was in charge. When the retirement came at dusk the regiment had suffered heavily, with 4 officers and 38 men killed, and 4 officers and 49 men wounded.’ (ibid).

Promoted Brevet Colonel on 27 May 1900, for his services in South Africa Hill was Mentioned in General Buller’s Despatch of 9 November 1900 (London Gazette 8 February 1901), and was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath. He was confirmed in this rank on 26 January 1904, and retired on 4 May 1910. He died on 4 February 1922.

Sold with a copy of the recipient’s record of service, and two portrait photographs.