REG. NO.: 296.071
REGT: ROYAL NAVY - H.M.S. NIAD
BARS: NO BARS AS ISSUED
REMARKS / HISTORY:
1. AFRICA GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL - SOMALILAND 1902-1904
2. 133 NO BAR MEDALS ISSUED TO SHIP.
3. VERIFIED - FEVYER AND WILSON, PAGE 61
4. 2nd Class twin screw cruiser of 3,400 tons and 7000-9000 HP.
5. SERVED BETWEEN APRIL 1901 AND NOVEMBER 1901. COMMANDED BYCAPTAIN THE HONOURABLE A. E. BETHEL. DETACHED FROM MEDITERRANEAN STATION.
1. 26007 S/SERGEANT S. C. BENNETT, ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.
2. 1914 - 1918 WAR MEDAL
3. INTERALLIED VICTORY MEDAL
Military Historical Society
QSA (3) CC OFS Tr (Major E. Agar. R.E.);
KSA (2) (Maj. E. Agar. R.E.);
BWM (Col. E. Agar);
France, Legion of Honour, Officer’s breast badge, in gold and enamels;
Belgium, Order of Leopold I, Officer’s breast badge with swords, in silver-gilt and enamels;
Japan, Russo-Japanese War Medal 1904-05;
Japan, Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd class neck badge, in silver-gilt and enamels;
Japan, Order of the Sacred Treasure, 3rd class neck badge, in silver-gilt and enamels, later repair to uppermost red cabochon;
Russia, Order of St Anne, 2nd class neck badge by Edouard, in gold and enamels;
Denmark, Slesvig Medal 1920
CMG LG 1 January 1919 – ‘For services in connection with the war’Legion of Honour: London Gazette: 15 April 1916.
Order of St Anne: LG 24 November 1916
Order of Leopold: LG 21 September 1917.
Order of the Rising Sun: LG 10 October 1918.
Edward Agar was born on 30 May 1859 in Bombay, India, the son of Major Edward Walter Agar, late Bombay Infantry, and Eliza Agar (née Cordelia). Educated at Cheltenham College between August 1870-76, during which time he won numerous academic prizes. He attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, between 1876-78, where he ‘passed in’ First in order of merit, and ‘passed out’ First Engineer, having won the Pollock Gold Medal and Prizes for Mathematics and Mechanics, German, Spanish, and Italian. He joined the Royal Engineers in 1877, being promoted to Captain in 1888, Major in 1896, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1903, and Colonel in 1908. He passed staff college in 1886, qualified in German as a voluntary subject and in Russian as an extra subject, and served subsequently as Staff Captain (Intelligence), Headquarters of Army, 1891-94; Deputy-Assistant Adjutant-General (Intelligence), Headquarters of Army, 1894-96.
Agar served in the Boer War of 1900-02, in command of the 26th Company, Royal Engineers, and took part in the operations in the Orange River Colony, and in the Transvaal (for which he was mentioned in despatches). According to the book ‘Spies in Uniform’ by Matthew S. Seligmann, Agar was apparently considered for the role of military attaché in Berlin in May 1903 (this a quite typical ‘cover’ position for an Intelligence Officer within an embassy). Unfortunately, at this stage in the early development of British Intelligence, officers were expected to be of sufficient private ‘means’ to self-fund, and to pay for their own accommodation and often quite lavish lifestyle. Despite being considered ‘a very cheery little fellow’ who had ‘quite nice manners…and the necessary tact and discretion’ for a sensitive post, in his case (and at this time) Agar was not considered to be wealthy enough, despite his merits as an individual [this would begin to change during and after WWI]. Consequently, he was chosen very soon after to serve abroad on attachment to the Japanese Army in Manchuria between July and September 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War. No doubt serving in an intelligence capacity, he was the author of a report on Russian and Japanese Field Defences (for which he received the Japanese War Medal and 3rd class Order of Sacred Treasure). This aspect of his service, in particular, is well worthy of further research.
Colonel Agar retired in 1911 but was then recalled in 1914 to serve as a General Staff Officer, First Class (G.S.O.1) at the War Office between 1914 and 17. Between 1917 and 20 he was Colonel in charge of records, Royal Engineers (Transport Section), and in the years after the war, Colonel Agar served as British Representative on the Dano-German Boundary Commission 1920-21, by which the Duchy of Slesvig was returned to the Danish Crown.
QSA (5) CC OFS Joh DH Belf (3469 Pte. T. Secrett, 8 Hrs.);
KSA (2) (3469 Pte. T. Secrett. 8th Hussars);
1914 Star, naming erased;
British War Medal (5186 Pte. T. Secrett. 11-Hrs.);
Victory Medal, naming erased;
Delhi Durbar 1911, silver;
Army LS&GC Ed VII, naming erased;
Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (H-5186 Pte.-L. Cpl. T. Secrett 11/Hrs.);
France, Medaille Militaire, silver-gilt and enamels;
France, Medal of Honour, with swords, gilt base metal;
Belgium, King Albert Medal 1914-18, bronze
MSM London Gazette 3 June 1919. ‘... in recognition of valuable services rendered with the Armies in France & Flanders’. The reverse of his MSM card is noted ‘Special Award’.
Medaille Militaire A.O. 466 1914 ‘For gallantry during the operations between the 21st and 30th August, 1914’.
Medal of Honour, ‘Gold’ class, with swords, London Gazette 21 August 1919.
Thomas Secrett was born in Leiston, Suffolk in 1875, the son of a farm labourer. On 14 February 1892 he enlisted into the 8th Hussars and went to South Africa with them in March 1900. Taking part in several actions, he was for some time a despatch rider for Sir John French. He became personal servant to Colonel Douglas Haig whilst in South Africa, and was to remain with him for 25 years. After the Boer War he was transferred to Haig’s old regiment, the 7th Hussars, but on posting to India in 1909, he was transferred to the 10th Hussars. On returning to England in 1912, he was given his final transfer to the 11th Hussars, with whom he stayed until leaving the Army. Secrett served as Haig’s batman throughout the Great War, his m.i.c. entry showing he entered the France/Flanders theatre on 15 August 1914. For his invaluable service in looking after the Field Marshal in the wartime years, Secrett was awarded the British M.S.M., the French Medaille Militaire and Medal of Honour, and the Belgian King Albert Medal.
When the Field Marshal relinquished his final command in January 1920, Secrett also left the Army, having completed 28 years military service. He continued to serve Haig as his Valet at Kingston, Surrey. He became engaged to Lady Haig’s maid, and early in 1925 he broached the subject of marriage. The idea was unthinkable to the Earl, who said he could not do without him. With no solution to the impasse, Secrett reluctantly left Haig’s employ and was married in October 1925. Earl Haig died on 29 January 1928. In the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, Secrett preceded the Earl’s charger which was led by troopers of the 17th/21st Lancers and 7th Hussars.
The upset caused by Secrett’s departure was later revealed in the Earl’s Last Will (dated 1920), when it was discovered that an annuity to Secrett of £52 was revoked by codicil a year after his departure. A year after Haig’s death, Secrett published a book Twenty-Five Years with Earl Haig, by ‘Sergeant T. Secrett, M.M.’ (the ‘M.M.’ presumably referring to the Medaille Militaire). His service with the Haigs continued and at the time of the Countess Haig’s death in 1939 he was employed as butler to her daughter, Lady Victoria Haig. With the onset of the Second World War, he joined the N.A.A.F.I. on war work. He died on 26 March 1942, aged 62 years, when he suffered a fall when working at a N.A.A.F.I. depot. He and his wife, who died in 1965, were buried in Reigate Cemetery.
I have yet to check whether this man was entitled to a QSA to go with his St John Ambulance Medal
Pictures courtesy of DNW
CVO nr 540
Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight of Grace, n/b and b/s
Arctic Medal 1875-76 (Dr. B. Ninnis. Staff Surgn. R.N. H.M.S. Discovery);
Coronation 1902, St John Ambulance Brigade (Insp. Gen. Belgrave Ninnis. Dep. Comm.);
Coronation 1911, St John Ambulance Brigade (Insp. Gen. B. Ninnis, M.D., R.N.);
Service Medal of the Order of St John, silver (Inspr. Genl. Belgrave Ninnis. R.N., M.D. July 1911);
St John Ambulance Medal for South Africa 1899-1902 (Dep. Commr. Belgrave Ninnis. M.D. R.N. 1902)
Belgrave Ninnis was born on 31 August 1837, the fourth son of the late Paul Ninnis of St Austell, Cornwall. He joined the Royal Navy in 1861 as an Assistant Surgeon and on 23 August was appointed to the sloop H.M.S. Pantaloon on the Cape of Good Hope station. He served as a Naturalist in the Imperial and Colonial surveying schooner Beatrice in the Northern Territory of South Australia from 1864-66, and received the thanks of the Legislative Assembly, South Australia. He was appointed to the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, 26 January 1867, and on 1 June 1869, to H.M.S. Caledonia, on the Mediterranean station, where he served until 2 May 1872, on appointment to H.M.S. Lord Warden, Flagship of the C. in C. Mediterranean Fleet, as Surgeon. He was promoted to Staff Surgeon on 21 December 1874 and served in H.M.S. Discovery, Captain Stephenson, in the Arctic expedition of 1875-76, under Captain Sir George Nares (Arctic Medal).
He became Fleet Surgeon on 3 November 1876, and on 13 October 1878 was appointed to H.M.S. Garnet, serving off the east coast of South America. He was awarded the Gilbert Blane Gold Medal in 1879, and became Deputy Director-General of Hospitals and Fleets on 5 May 1883, retiring on 1 September 1897 with the rank of Inspector-General.
He became Deputy Commissioner of the St John Ambulance Brigade and was appointed Chief Commissioner in 1903. On 5 July 1911 he received the service medal of the Order of St John from the hands of H.R.H. Duke of Connaught, who was then Grand Prior of the Order. He became a Knight of Grace of the Order and was awarded the C.V.O. on the occasion of King George’s Birthday, 14 June 1912.
In addition he was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was the author of ‘Remarks on the Ethnology, Natural History, and Meteorology of the Northern Territory of South Australia’; also of ‘The Natural History, Meteorology, and Native Population of Northern Australia’; ‘Diseases Incidental to the Eskimo Dogs of Smith’s Sound: Diagnosis and Treatment’; and ‘Statistical and Nosological Report, with Remarks on the Sanitary Condition of the Welsh Colony of ‘Chubut,’ South America.’
Belgrave Ninnis died in Streatham on 18 June 1922, aged 84. His son Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis was killed on the Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-12, when he fell into a crevasse whilst on a sledge journey across King George V Land with Mawson and Mertz.