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Scarce India General Service Medal to More Durham Vol RA Rocket Section.

An India General Service Medal 1895-1902, 2 Clasps: Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98, awarded to 46329 Gunner Joseph More of the 5th Company, Western Division, Royal Artillery. This regiment was previously the Durham Artillery Volunteers and later Durham Territorial Royal Garrison Artillery. by 1890 the regiment consisted of eight batteries and their HQ was in Sunderland
More was present during the operations on the Punjab Frontier including on the Samana Ridge and with the Tirah Field Force during 1897 to 1898.
The medal comes with a copy of his medal roll which confirms his entitlement to the award and bars but also it states that Gunner More was part of the Rocket section RA.
Rockets were used in battle, defiantly since the Napoleonic wars, when they used the Congrave rocket. During the 19th century the British army were firing the Hale rocket. An Englishman named William Hale was the first rocket designer to adopted a combination of tail fins and secondary nozzles through which exhaust could pass. Hale rockets became the first spin-stabilized rockets, and quickly became standard equipment for both the United States and British armies, the latter especially in British colonial wars. The rockets were carried in special sacks on the backs of mules and 24-pounder had an explosive warhead and could be useful for both anti-personnel use and bombardments of small structures. Their average range was about 1,200 yards, though depending upon firing angle and other factors could range up to 4,000 yards.
This medal is in lovely original condition, just showing light wear to the high points on the surface. It has the correct engraved naming and both bars or clasps are fixed in the correct manner. It comes suspended on a piece of replacement ribbon and as mentioned comes with a copy of his original medal roll.

Code: 24917Price:


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Rare WW1 Trio to Greeff Brands Free State Rifles.

And interesting and scarce WW1 1914/15 star, British war and victory medal correctly named to; Private M. D. Greeff Brands Free State Rifles.
The outbreak of hostilities in Europe in August 1914 was an enormous surprise, but the government of the Union of South Africa was well aware of the significance of the common border South Africa shared with the German colony of South-West Africa. Prime Minister Louis Botha informed London that South Africa could defend itself and that the imperial garrison could depart for France; when the British government asked Botha whether his forces would invade German South-West Africa, the reply was that they could and would.
During the latter months of 1914, some prominent members of the government and armed forces tried a rebellion, stating they wanted a unified South Africa and sided with the Germans, this was short lived and soon put down by loyal forces. This was known as the Maritz rebellion, the Boer revolt and also the Five Shilling rebellion.
After the rebels were put down the South African forces along with the Brand Free State Rifles were to concentrate on the South West Africa Campaign, the conquest and occupation of German South West Africa (now Namibia). By February 1915, with the home front secure, the South Africans were ready to begin the complete occupation of the German territory. Botha in his military capacity as a senior and experienced military commander took command of the invasion. He split his command in two with Smuts commanding the southern forces while he took direct command of the northern forces.
The Brands Free State Rifles were reformed and now became the 5th Mounted Brigade in January-February 1915 and were numbered as 1-6th regiments B.V.S.S. Greeff being in the 1st Regiment. They served much of the time as front fighters and saw quite a lot of the action. After the campaign was over, South African casualties were 113 killed, 153 died of injury or illness and 263 wounded. German casualties were 103 killed, 890 taken prisoner, 37 field guns and 22 machine-guns captured.
After defeating the German force in South West Africa, South Africa occupied the colony and then administered it as a League of Nations mandate territory from 1919.
Private Greeff was then transferred to the western front, The Brigade sailed from Alexandria between 13th and 15th April 1916 and landed at Marseilles. By 23rd April, the leading units had de-trained and were arriving at Steenwerck in Flanders. The entire Brigade came under orders of the 9th (Scottish) Division, in which it replaced 28th Brigade.
Its first major engagement was the Battle of the Somme. On 2nd July 1916, moved up from Grovetown to Billon Valley, relieving 27th Brigade which had been ordered up to the battle. Moved up to relieve 89th Brigade of 30th Division in Glatz (Glatz Redoubt / Chimney Trench) sector of front line near Montauban. They came under heavy shellfire. The 4th Bn involved in fighting for Trones Wood. The entire Brigade attacked at Longueval (Delville Wood) in afternoon of 14th July 1916. Fighting of the most severe kind in the wood, in which Private William Faulds of 1st Regiment won the Victoria Cross. Only some 750 of the 3153 officers and men that entered the wood mustered when the Brigade was finally relieved on 20th July.
The Division was rebuilt with new drafts and spent most of the summer of 1916 in the Arras and Vimy areas. It re-entered Fourth Army area on the Somme in early October. The SA Brigade moved back into the front line there at High Wood on 9 October. Three days later an attack was made against Snag and Tail Trenches, just short of the Butte de Warlencourt, in appalling conditions and weather. Again, there was severe fighting that was continued with a rewnewed attack in the same area on 18 October. The cost to the South Africans in this dismal affair was 1150 casualties.
The commander of the brigade, Brigadier-General Lukin, was appointed to command of 9th (Scottish) Division on 2 December 1916.
In 1917 the brigade took part in the Battle of Arras and in the Third Battle of Ypres. In the latter battle, in a successful advance at Bremen Redoubt near Zonnebeke, Private William Hewitt of 2nd Regiment won the VC.
Possibly the most impressive feat of arms by the South African forces in the war took place in March 1918, when the Germans attacked in Operation Michael. The brigade fought a staunch defence on the first morning of the attack – 21st March 1918 – at Gauche Wood, near Villers Guislain. By 24th March they had carried out a fighting withdrawal to Marrieres Wood near Bouchavesnes and there held on, completely unsupported. They fought on until only some 100 men were left, yet it was only when ammunition ran out that the remnant, many of them wounded, surrendered.
When the enemy launched their second major offensive of 1918, on the Lys, the South African brigade – now in Flanders – was ordered to counter attack at Messines. It did so, with some success, but the enemy attack was overwhelming and over the next days the fight continued with the South Africans being pushed back from the Messines ridge and up the gentle slope to Vierstraat.
The old brigade was effectively destroyed. 1st, 2nd and 4th Regiments were temporarily merged, while other, British, units were attached to carry on the fight. The composite battalion took part in further defensive fighting, at Mount Kemmel. Later in the summer, it took part in the capture of Meteren, as the British Army executed a successful advance in Flanders.
On 11 September 1918, the brigade finally parted from 9th (Scottish) Division and moved to join the 66th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. The best known event while with this Division was the recapture of Le Cateau on 17th-18th October 1918.
By the armistice, the South Africans had suffered some 15000 casualties in France, of who one third were dead. It must have been a shock to fight in the heat of their native South Africa to then fight in the mud and western front winters.
Private Greeff Survived the war and little is known of him after the war, this is to research as well as a definite timeline of his wartime service. it is unlikely he came out of the war unscathed, but I have no information of any wounds or disease.
All three medals are in excellent condition and come on a ribbon bar.

Code: 24916Price: 160.00 GBP


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WW1 1914 Star Trio to King Norfolk Regiment.

A WW1 1914 star, with copy mons clasp (BWM replacement copy) Victory medal correctly named to 7324 Private Cyril V King of the 1st battalion the Norfolk regiment.
The regiment was mustered in early August 1914 in Holywood, Belfast, where they were currently serving. The battalion formed part of 15th Brigade, 5th Division and landed at Le Havre 27th August 1914.
The 1st battalion Norfolks were very active during the war and the first action they found themselves in was at Mons. On the 24th August the battalion was standing with the 1st Cheshires and the 119th battery RFA. They were holding the village of Audregnies when a mass of enemy were seen moving out of Quievrain when they’re artillery and machine guns opened up on the three regiments while they were already dealing with a charge from the German cavalry. The CO, that day captain J. L Shore ordered all troops to retire, but the companies at the front, including some of the Norfolk’s, never got the order. and heavy casualties were received.
In the retreat from mons, again the Norfolk’s took a good battering it was around the 18th October, they were at Givenchy under the command of Col Ballard. They were stationed there with two battalions of French, close to the church, which all agreed was a shell trap. A heavy bombardment started and all men ran for cover as nearly all of the surrounding buildings exploded, it is said that everything was afire, shells were bursting in the trenches and any man that came out of that days battle had a charmed life. The Norfolk’s held the ever depleting line until the Leicester’s were sent as reinforcements.
At the end of 1914 the 5th Division fought at the Battles of Ypres, Often known as the First Battle of Ypres, this is a group of named battles that also form part of the outflanking encounter. It becomes a desperate epic fight east of the city of Ypres which finally results in stalemate and entrenched warfare.
during 1915 the 1st battalion was joined by the 7th, 8th and 9th (Service) Battalions due to the dwindled numbers of men lest in the battalion and to strengthen the division. They remained near Ypres through 1915 taking part in many of the actions that made up the 2nd battle, where poison gas was used for the first time.
The 1st Norfolks when on to see much action in France and Flanders, to detail every battle here is not possible, but needless to say the battalion lost a lot of men and receive a lot of new recruits to replace them after the battle of the Somme from July 1916.
By 5th October 1916 the Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert. There was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, but in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917 when they were one again in the line at Arras and the third Ypres.
A major change now occurred with 5th Division being one of five British formations selected to be moved to Italy. This was a strategic and political move agreed by the British Government at the request of the Allied Supreme War Council, as an effort to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster at Caporetto. Much work was done preparing to move into the mountainous area of the Brenta, but eventually the Division was instead moved to the line along the River Piave, taking up positions in late January 1918.
Italy was such a pleasant change from the western front, amazing views, good weather, billets and good food; but it was not to last, for the Division was recalled hurriedly to France, once the enemy had made an attack in overwhelming strength on 21st March. Once again they were back in the front lines at Lys.
Private King’s service ends here, it is unknown why, he was probably woulded, although there is no mention of a silver war badge on his mic. He was discharged on 14th February 1918, just after the division’s return to France. This man had seen action from august 1914 till February 1918. As a regular serving in the first battalion, his time of service might have been up, so he chose to come out of the army. Who wouldn’t, an ‘Old Contemptable’ who has survived what he had, I don’t there would have been a man alive that wouldn’t have thought, he had done enough. His medal index card shows he is entitled to clasp and roses for his service at Mons and the BWM is a replacement copy, the original is missing, probably scrapped during the high silver prices of the 1970’s, I’m sad to say. I hate erased medals and wont encourage their sale by buying one, so I have replaced the BWM with the best copy I could find, just to complete this man’s group. The other two medals are in good condition but have been mounted and worn at some time; they come on their original ribbons which are a little scruffy. A nice lot to a recipient of the 1914 star, bar and roses, who were one of the first to fight in the great war.

Code: 24915Price: 95.00 GBP


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Scarce WW1 Officers Private Purchase Water Bottle.

A rare find these days, an early WW1 Officers private purchase water canteen. It is cloth covered bottle with silver plated screw lid. What is quite scarce is that it still retains its original leather sling with brass clips, and the lid still has its original chain, to stop the officer losing it. The condition is very good considering its age, the cloth has a few moth holes on the back, the stopper is a little bent and the leather is a little dry; but it has survived, and ready to be displayed on a uniform or with other officers equipment.

Code: 24914Price:


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WW2 Group of 6 to Sergeant Staples 1st Household Cavalry RAC / Tank Reg

WW2 group of six medals awarded to Sergeant P. R. f. Staples of the Life Guards and 1st Household Cavalry regiment. The medals comprise of the 1939-45 star, the Africa star, the Italy Star, the France & Germany star, the WW2 Defence medal and the 1939-45 war medal. The medals come untouched and in their named and addressed box of issue along with various badges and photographs. Quite an important group to a man who took part in some of the most famous actions during the war. I havent undertaken much research on the man, the history below follows his regiment history. needless to say, he was there in every theatre of war, or he would not have receive the medals. the medals also comes with award slip of issue which was found in the bottom of the box.
On 3 September 1939, the Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards formed the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment and the Household Cavalry Training Regiment. The Household Cavalry Composite Regiment served with the 4th Cavalry Brigade and joined the 1st Cavalry Division when it was formed on 31st October 1939.
The Household Cavalry Composite Regiment departed the United Kingdom in February 1940, transited across France, and arrived in Palestine on 20th February 1940. It served as a garrison force under British Forces, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
In November 1940 the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment became the 1st Household Cavalry Motor Battalion arrived at Haifa on 22nd February 1941 under a new commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Heyworth. The final decision to become mechanized was not taken until later that month. In the Judean desert they were ordered to end their horse cavalry days and redesignated as the 1st Household Cavalry Regiment.
In April 1941, the 4th Cavalry Brigade, together with a battalion of infantry from the Essex Regiment, a mechanised regiment from the Arab Legion and supporting artillery was organised as Habforce for operations in Iraq as part of the response to pro-Axis Rashid Ali who had seized power in Baghdad and was besieging RAF Habbaniya. 1st Household Cavalry Regiment were ordered to prepare to move with 2-inch mortars, Hotchkiss machine guns and, later, Bren machine guns.
their operation across the desert were one of the most illustrious in the earlier period of the war. There was a heatwave as they followed the oil pipeline to join Glubb Pasha's Arab Legion at the Rutba Oasis. The column covered 700 miles in six days, led by Household Cavalry officers, who were awarded several Military Crosses for this accomplishment. C Squadron was stationed at Fallujah, to hold the Euphrates against any attack from Baghdad. B Squadron had a sharp fight at Al-Khadimain, but the Germans in Baghdad called a truce, and on 31st May, and C Squadron were billeted in the city's railway station unopposed.
Following this, in July 1941, Habforce was placed under the command of Australian I Corps and was involved in operations against the Vichy French in Syria, advancing from eastern Iraq near the Trans-Jordan border to capture Palmyra and secure the Haditha - Tripoli oil pipeline. On 1 August 1941, the 1st Cavalry Division was converted into the 10th Armoured Division
The operation to seize a notorious German agent, Fritz Grobba was carried out by B Squadron led by Major Eric Gooch. Gooch's unit occupied Mosul Airfield, taken from the Germans. It was thought Grobba was hiding at Kameschle in Vichy Syria but on 30th May, Grobba fled Baghdad.
On 15th July 1941 they were applauded by Winston Churchill; at a time during the war when there were few victories, for the capture of the oasis and declaration of surrender by the French regime.
The last mounted expedition took place at the Plain of Esdraelon in October 1941; from their base at Tiberias and on the Vichy-Syrian frontier it was reported as "the last great mounted exercise ever to be undertaken by British cavalry” and it involved about two thousands horses.
The 1st Household Cavalry Regiment next saw action at the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942 and the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 before moving to Syria to patrol the Turko-Syrian border. The 1st Household Cavalry Regiment landed in Italy in April 1944 and then, after a break in the UK between October 1944 and March 1945, took part in the North West Europe Campaign.
The regiment was disbanded in 1945 and the personnel returned to their original units. In the case of Sgt Staples, it was the Life Guards.
The medals are all in the box of issued and look like they have never seen the light of day, all medals and ribbons are unused and mint condition. these come with various photographs and cloth insignia.

Code: 24913Price:


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Rare WW1 Canadian Winnipeg Light Infantry Cap Badge.

A WW1 era Cap badge of the 101st Battalion (Winnipeg Light Infantry), CEF. It was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
The Battalion was authorized on 22 December 1915 and was recruited in, and was mobilized at, Winnipeg, Manitoba; it embarked for Great Britain on 29 June 1916, where, on 13 July 1916, its personnel were absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion, CEF, to provide reinforcements to other Canadian Corps in the field. It was commanded by Lt.-Col. D. McLean from 28 June 1916 to 21 August 1916. The battalion disbanded on 12 October 1917 and it was awarded the battle honour The Great War 1916.
This badge comes in very good but used condition, it has a lovely even dark tone overall.
Ref. E1

Code: 24912Price: 32.00 GBP


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Rare WW1 Canadian 1st Hussars Cap Badge.

As with the Boer War, the 1st Hussars did not participate as a unit. At the outbreak of the war, some 66 members of the regiment joined the 1st Western Ontario Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force which was raised in late 1914. The Western Ontario Battalion was present at the Second Battle of Ypres.
In November 1914, the 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles was raised. 'A' Squadron was recruited in London, 'B' Squadron drew men from Windsor, Sarnia and Amherstburg and 'C' Squadron was raised in Toronto. 'A' Squadron was attached to the 2nd Canadian Division in March 1915 as the divisional cavalry squadron. In June 1915, 7 CMR sailed for England. In January 1916, 'A' Squadron was renamed Special Service Squadron, First (Canadian) Hussars to reflect the unit's roots in 1st Hussars. By mid-May 1916, the squadron became part of the Canadian Corps Cavalry Regiment, later renamed the Canadian Light Horse, forming 'B' Squadron of the regiment.
On 9 April 1917, the Battle of Vimy Ridge commenced. During the battle, the CLH was committed on the southern flank of the line where elements of the regiment were tasked with reconnaissance towards the village of Willerval to determine if a breakthrough would be possible, or if the village could be held. Two mounted patrols set out at around 4:30 p.m., one approaching from the north and the other from the south. The northern patrol entered the village and was able to take about 15 prisoners before withdrawing under fire from a German machine-gun. The southern patrol ran into a German position and was also forced to withdraw under fire. The two patrols lost six men killed, six wounded and another three missing.
From 8 August 1918 to 28 August, The 1st Hussars of the Canadian Light Horse were tasked mostly as dispatch riders, traffic controllers and in other support roles in the rear of the Canadian Corps at Amiens. On 9 August, five members of 'B' Squadron attempted to capture a German ammunition convoy they had spotted while running messages. Although they were unsuccessful in capturing the wagons, they managed to take some 20 prisoners.
The CLH moved into the Canal Du Nord area on the night of 26 September to 27 September. Some elements of the regiment performed costly reconnaissance patrols in the area while the unit waited in reserve just behind the lines for a breakthrough that the cavalry could exploit.
On 9 October 1918, the Canadian Corps attacked the Germans near the French village of Escaudoeuvres on the L'Escaut Canal (north-east of Cambrai).
The next day the First Hussars would participate in an action that saw the last of the few cavalry charges in Canadian history. The Canadian Corps continued to advance on the far bank of the canal. The village of Naves was captured by the 19th Battalion, CEF, which continued on to capture a ridgeline to the east of the village. The objective for 'A' and 'C' Squadrons of the CLH was to capture a portion of sunken road on the ridgeline and continue on to take a hill overlooking the village of Iwuy . 'B' Squadron was held in reserve. 'A' and 'C' Squadrons forded the Erclin River and charged up the hill towards the sunken road. The charge resulted in 23 dead troopers and 66 dead horses, but despite the losses, the hill was taken and held. As the Hundred Day's offensive continued, the 1st Hussars and rest of the CLH found itself often leading the advance, and letting the infantry pass through when resistance was met. Members of the 1st Hussars also participated in the following actions, among others: the Second Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette the Battle of Hill 70 and the Battle of Passchendaele.
This cap badge is in beautiful condition, the front has a nice even tone just showing tint bits of original gilt in the recesses. The back still has all of its original gilt finish.
Ref. E2

Code: 24911Price: 38.00 GBP


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Rare WW1 Canadian 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish Collar Dog.

A WW1 era collar dog of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), CEF was a unit of the First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force. It was organized at Valcartier on 2 September 1914 in response to the Great War and was composed of recruits from the 91st Canadian Highlanders (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders), the 79th Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, and the 50th Regiment (Gordon Highlanders), and they all formed part of the 16th Battalion, which served in the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division. They were very active during the war, winning the battle honours; Ypres, 1915 & 17, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Festubert, 1915, Mount Sorrel, Somme, 1916, Pozičres, Theipval, Ancre Heights, Arras, 1917 & 18, Vimy 1917, Arleux, Scarpe, 1917 & 18, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Drocourt–Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Pursuit to Mons and France and Flanders, 1915-18.
Four members of the 16th Battalion were awarded the Victoria Cross: Piper James Cleland Richardson, Private William Johnstone Milne, Lance-Corporal William Henry Metcalf, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cyrus Peck.[1] Piper James Richardson was just 18 years old when he enlisted, and was killed during the Battle of the Somme shortly after having played his company through No Man's Land. He disappeared in shellfire after going back to retrieve the bagpipes he laid aside to bring back a wounded comrade.
This little badge is in excellent but used condition, now with a nice even tone.
Ref. E3

Code: 24910Price:


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WW2 Group 4 to Cazot Leicestershire Regiment.

A hard earned group of four medals awarded to Private Eric John Cazot of the 1/5th battalion Leicestershire regiment. the medals comprise of; the 1939-45 star, the France and Germany star, the WW2 Defence medal and the 1939-45 war medal. all four medals are mounted on a brooch bar, long pin missing. The medals come with medal bar, various photographs of Cazot and one of his beloved wife and her ID card. Also included is his original Leicestershire regiment badge, this is not in perfect order, but is believed to have been worn during the Normandy invasion and beyond.
A wonderful 2nd world war group, the man needs further research, but a history of his division is below.
Private Cazot served with the 1/5th battalion this formed was part of the 148th Infantry Brigade of the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division. The battalion fought briefly in the disastrous Norwegian Campaign before being withdrawn to the United Kingdom.
The division received orders to form part of "Avonforce" and be sent to Finland, via Norway, and aid the Finnish Army during its Winter War with the Soviet Union. On 12th March, however, the Finnish, severely outnumbered by the Russians, surrendered, thus cancelling the order. On 4th April, the 49th Division ceased to function and the 146th and 148th Brigades, both very poorly trained and equipped, took part in the short and ill-fated Norwegian Campaign, with the intention to retake the ports of Trondheim and Narvik from the German Army. The poorly planned campaign was a complete disaster and the two brigades, fighting as two different brigade groups, and widely scattered from each other, withdrew from Norway in May 1940.
From 10th June, the division was reassigned to the Scottish Command, the division, now with only the 146th and 147th Infantry Brigades left, departed for Iceland, the 146th arriving there on 8th May. It was redesignated HQ Alabaster Force and, in January 1941, Iceland Force before finally being redesignated HQ British Troops Iceland. Both brigades were thereafter stationed in Iceland until 1942. As a result, a new divisional insignia was adopted, featuring a polar bear standing on an iceberg.
In 1941, at the request of British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, the division was trained in mountain warfare and also in arctic warfare. By April 1942, responsibility for Iceland had been handed over to the United States, with the arrival in July the previous year of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.
The division then spent the next few months engaged in training throughout Wales and England, with the intention of catching up with the latest training methods. In March 1943, the division, abandoning the mountain and arctic warfare roles, participated in Exercise Spartan, the largest military exercise held in England
In July, as the division was selected to be one of the three divisions to spearhead the Normandy invasion, then scheduled for the following year, the 49th was sent to Scotland, where it began strenuous training in amphibious warfare and combined operations, which continued throughout 1943 and into 1944. However, in early 1944, when General Sir Bernard Montgomery took over command of the 21st Army Group, which commanded all Allied land forces in the upcoming invasion, Major General Douglas Graham's 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, which had fought with distinction in North Africa and Sicily, was chosen by Montgomery as one of the two British assault divisions – the other being Major General Tom Rennie's 3rd Division – and the 49th Division, despite training for the role for many months, was instead relegated to a backup role, causing great disappointment to all ranks.
On 13 June 1944, most of the 49th Division, after just over two years of training, landed in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. The division arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Villers-Bocage, where the veteran 7th Armoured Division suffered a serious setback, but was involved in the numerous attempts to capture the city of Caen. The division, after landing, was only involved in relatively small-scale skirmishes. The 49th's first major action as a division came during Operation Martlet, the first phase of Operation Epsom, the British attempt to capture Caen. Although Lieutenant General Sir Richard O'Connor's VIII Corps made the main effort, XXX Corps, with the 49th Division under control, was to protect VIII Corps' right flank by seizing the Rauray ridge. The operation commenced on 25 June, and the division, supported by elements of the 8th Armoured Brigade and a massive artillery barrage from over 250 guns, initially went well, with the first phase objective, the town of Fontenay, being captured by the end of the first day against units of two German panzer divisions. It was during this period of the fierce fighting in Normandy that the Nazi propaganda broadcaster, Lord Haw-Haw, referred to the division as "the Polar Bear Butchers", alleging that British soldiers wearing a Polar Bear flash had massacred SS tank crew who were trying to surrendering.
The 49th's GOC, Major General "Bubbles" Barker, explained it in his diary on 2 July, "Yesterday the old 49 Div made a great name for itself and we are all feeling very pleased with ourselves. After being attacked on my left half, all day by infantry and tanks, we were in our original positions after a small scale counter attack by the evening. We gave him a real bloody nose and we calculate having knocked out some 35 tanks mostly Panthers.
The division, by now known widely as, "Barker's Bears", then held the line for the next few weeks, absorbing reinforcements and carrying out patrols until its participation in the Second Battle of the Odon, and in August, took part in the advance towards the Falaise Pocket, where the Germans were attempting to retreat to, capturing thousands of Germans in the process.
The division reached the River Seine in the late August, and, upon crossing the river, turned towards the capture of Le Havre, which was captured on 12th September with very light casualties to the 49th Division and its supporting units, 19 killed and 282 wounded, capturing over 6,000 Germans in the process.
However, the division then had all its transport sent forward to other units then advancing into Belgium, temporarily grounding the "Polar Bears", although giving the division a few days’ rest, deservedly so after having endured almost three months of action since landing in Normandy and suffered over 5,000 casualties.
The division received the order to move, arriving, after travelling some 200 miles, in the south of the Netherlands at a concentration area on 21st September, ten miles south of the Antwerp-Turnhout Canal. Over the next few days, the division liberated Turnhout and crossed the Antwerp-Turnhout Canal. The division, after being on the offensive since landing in Normandy, then spent the next few weeks on the defensive along the Dutch frontier, before returning to the offensive. Operation Pheasant commenced in the third week of October, with the objective, capturing of the town of Roosendaal, which fell after ten days of vicious fighting. Further fighting continued until the division ended up at Willemstad at the Hollandsche Diep and helped in the clearing of the west bank of the River Maas, along the Dutch border, fighting in very wet and muddy conditions
After the new GOC's assumption of command, the next few months for the division, now serving as part of II Canadian Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, were spent mainly in small-scale skirmishing, including numerous patrols in attempts to dominate no man's land, and garrisoning the area between the River Waal and the Lower Rhine, also known as "The Island", created in the aftermath of the failed Operation Market Garden. However, in late March 1945, the division, commanded now by Major General Stuart Rawlins after MacMillan was ordered to become GOC of the 51st (Highland) Division, received orders to clear "The Island", which, after much hard fighting but relatively light casualties, was cleared in early April, before advancing north-eastwards towards Arnhem.
The 49th Division's last major contribution to the Second World War was the liberation of Arnhem and the fierce battles that led to it. The division, now part of I Canadian Corps
supported by Canadian tanks of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, liberated the city at a cost of less than 200 casualties, but over 4,000 Germans became casualties
Just after the German surrender on 7th May 1945, the 49th Division played a part in the liberation of Utrecht, with the 49th Reconnaissance Regiment entering first, followed by Canadian troops. There is a monument dedicated to the Polar Bears at a spot on Biltstraat in the city.
During the course of the Second World War, from Normandy to Arnhem, the 49th Division had suffered 11,000 officers and men wounded or missing, with 1,642 of these being killed in action.

Code: 24909Price:


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Super WW1 Trench Periscope Dated 1918 by Beck Ltd

This excellent trench periscope is made from brass which has been coated in green paint I assume to cut down on glare and reflection when in use, it is well marked with ‘periscope Mk IX 1918 R & J Beck Ltd No 25563’, it comes in very good working order, the optics are clear but would benefit from a clean, there are signs of use and a few losses to the paint, it measures 23 inches long.

Code: 24908Price: 165.00 GBP

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