The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 20th August 2020

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

An exceptional Boer War ‘Doorn Kop and Diamond Hill’ D.C.M. group of eight awarded to Sergeant-Major T. P. Smith, 7th Middlesex (London Scottish) Rifle Volunteers, and City of London Imperial Volunteers, who was especially selected by General Sir Henry McKinnon to serve as Sergeant Major of the City of London Imperial Volunteers in the South African War. A career soldier with the Gordon Highlanders, he took part in their famous action at the Dargai Heights, 20 October 1897, and as a Major during the Great War survived the Battle of Loos and took part in some of the fiercest fighting on the Somme, before being killed in action on the Western Front whilst in command of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers on 23 January 1917

Distinguished Conduct Medal, V.R. (Serjt:- Major T. Smith. C.I.V.); India General Service 1895-1902, 3 clasps, Relief of Chitral 1895, Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98, clasp carriage adapted to accommodate additional clasps, with top retaining rod (1480 Cr. Sgt. T. Smith, 1st Bn. Gord Highrs.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill (1529 S. Major T. Smith, C.I.V.); 1914-15 Star (Capt. T. Smith. Gord. Highrs.); British War and Victory Medals (Major T. Smith); Coronation 1902, bronze; Army L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (1480 Clr:- Sergt: T. Smith. Gordon Highrs:) heavy contact marks, generally nearly very fine and better (8) £4,000-£5,000

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An exceptional Boer War ‘Doorn Kop and Diamond Hill’ D.C.M. group of eight awarded to Sergeant-Major T. P. Smith, 7th Middlesex (London Scottish) Rifle Volunteers, and City of London Imperial Volunteers, who was especially selected by General Sir Henry McKinnon to serve as Sergeant Major of the City of London Imperial Volunteers in the South African War. A career soldier with the Gordon Highlanders, he took part in their famous action at the Dargai Heights, 20 October 1897, and as a Major during the Great War survived the Battle of Loos and took part in some of the fiercest fighting on the Somme, before being killed in action on the Western Front whilst in command of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers on 23 January 1917

Distinguished Conduct Medal, V.R. (Serjt:- Major T. Smith. C.I.V.); India General Service 1895-1902, 3 clasps, Relief of Chitral 1895, Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98, clasp carriage adapted to accommodate additional clasps, with top retaining rod (1480 Cr. Sgt. T. Smith, 1st Bn. Gord Highrs.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill (1529 S. Major T. Smith, C.I.V.); 1914-15 Star (Capt. T. Smith. Gord. Highrs.); British War and Victory Medals (Major T. Smith); Coronation 1902, bronze; Army L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (1480 Clr:- Sergt: T. Smith. Gordon Highrs:) heavy contact marks, generally nearly very fine and better (8) £4,000-£5,000
D.C.M. London Gazette 27 September 1901.

Thomas Smith was born at Strachome, Hamilton, Scotland in 1866, his career being consummately chronicled in the following obituary:
‘The London Argyllshire Association has lost a devoted member, and another son of Argyll has made the great sacrifice in the death of Major Thomas Smith, Royal Scots Fusiliers, and late of the Gordon Highlanders (Pioneers), who was killed in action in France. He joined the Gordons on the 2nd July, 1884, was promoted Corporal in 1886, Lance-Sergeant in 1887, Sergeant in 1889, and Colour-Sergeant in 1892. He served with the Gordon Highlanders in the following campaigns: Chitral Expedition, 1895; Punjab Frontier, 1897-8; Tirah Frontier, 1897-8; and was in the following actions: Dargai, 18 October, taking part in the famous charge of the Gordons on October 20; Sempagha and Arhanga passes, Maidan, Warren and Bara Valleys. He was awarded the Indian Medal, 1895, with three clasps, for the Chitral Expedition, Punjab Frontier and Tirah, 1897-8.


At the commencement of the South African War he was specially selected from about 70 applicants for the position of Sergeant-Major to the City of London Imperial Volunteers by General Sir Henry Mackinnon, K.C.B., Commandant, and had the honour of being Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 10 September 1901) and granted the Distinguished Conduct Medal (“for the gallant manner in which he repeatedly carried ammunition to the firing line at Doornkop and also at Diamond Hill, South Africa, 1900”). He was also awarded the South African Queen’s Medal with four clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, and Diamond Hill.

On returning from South Africa, he resumed his duties with the London Scottish, was awarded the Coronation Medal, the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and was discharged on pension on 1 July, 1905, after 21 years’ service. On the outbreak of the present War he volunteered for active service, was appointed Quartermaster and Hon. Lieutenant, of a battalion of the Gordon Highlanders (Pioneers), was promoted Captain and Adjutant, proceeding with his regiment to France in June 1915; was in action at Loos on 25th, 26th and 27th September, and was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 15 June 1916). In August, 1916, he was appointed second in command of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers, with the rank of Major, and went through some of the fiercest fighting on the Somme (including the advances on Martinpuich and Guoudecourt, when he commanded his Battalion). He was again in command of the Battalion during the temporary absence of his Colonel, when he was killed whilst proceeding round the Company lines in the front line.

The Colonel commanding the Gordons writes on behalf of himself and all his officers who knew Major Smith:
“Major Smith was with the Battalion from their very beginning till last August, and during that time, by his ever-cheerful nature, he endeared himself to the hearts of all of us. The welfare of the Battalion was ever first and foremost in his mind, as we all well knew, and we were all very sorry when he left us to take up his new appointment as second in command.
We all feel the loss from the bottom of our hearts of a gallant comrade and a worthy Gordon Highlander, who has set us all such a splendid example of courage and devotion to duty.”


The Adjutant of the Royal Scots Fusilier Battalion writes:
“The loss of the Major is a great blow to us all. He was beloved in the Battalion, and was a most capable and reliable officer. The Major was buried in the presence of his brother officers, his old comrades of the Gordon Highlanders (Pioneers) claiming the privilege of erecting a cross to his memory.”


Mrs. Smith, 10 Bathurst Street, Sussex Square, London, W., has received the following telegram from their Majesties the King and Queen:
“The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your husband in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.”


The sympathy of a wide circle of friends in all stations of life has gone out to Mrs. Smith and family in their irreparable loss. The death of the Major is a great loss to the various Scottish Associations in London, of which he was an active member. About two years before the War broke out, he created a record as convener of the great charity clan concert in the Albert Hall.’

A poignant reference to Major Smith is to be found in ‘Looking Life Over’ the memoir of the English pioneer, administrator and author, Hugh Marshall Hole:
‘When the great change arrived out of the blue in August 1914 and war was declared, the effect in the village was of partial paralysis, everyone seemed to be at fault. I was just short of fifty-three and not more anxious to take on a first class war than other people. It looked, however as if someone would have to do something, so I set about trying to find a job. I has only one firm offer. It was to be second in command of the staff which looked after the spare clothes of the volunteers in Newark! I wrote to the Under-Secretary for War, with whom I had some acquaintance. Nothing happened; nobody seemed to want me. I had a despairing letter from Sergeant-Major Smith, late of the C.I.V., asking what on earth he was to do. He had been Sergeant-Major of the London Scottish, an ex-Gordon Highlander who had seen service in Tirah, and a D.C.M. Here he was going begging! His subsequent history, as I heard it from time to time, was that Captain Smith of the Gordons was home wounded; that Major Smith of the Camerons was in France; and then lastly, that Colonel Smith had been killed there, at the head of his regiment, the Gordons. “Greater love hath no man than this”.’


Sold together with a coloured postcard photograph of the recipient.