Must be unique? A QSA with MC / DCM / MM. Also unusual is that the "normal" way is you get your DCM / MM in the ranks, get promotion then get your MC. He did it the other way round - took a demotion to serve in Russia where he got his DCM / MM.
Just sold by DNW.
Date of Auction: 18th June 2020
Sold for £13,000
Estimate: £8,000 - £12,000
The outstanding and rare Great War ‘Western Front’ Lovat’s Scouts ‘sharpshooters’ M.C., 1919 ‘Archangel’ D.C.M. and M.M. group of eleven awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel J. Whammond, a Scot who served in the Boer War with the Cape Mounted Police, and during the 1914-15 campaign in German South West Africa as a Regimental Sergeant Major in the South African Mounted Rifles, before being commissioned into Lovat’s Scouts, where of his scouting work, one contemporary would write of him that his ‘equal at his work I never saw in France.’ Resigning his Commission in 1919, he volunteered for service in the ranks of the 46th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, winning his last two awards for gallantry in North Russia, August to September 1919
Military Cross, G.V.R., the reverse inscribed ‘Lieut. J. Whammond Lovat Scouts Lens 21.6.17.’; Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (129318 Sjt. J. Whammond. M.C. M.M. 46/R. Fus:); Military Medal, G.V.R. (129318 Sjt. J. Whammond. M.C. 46/R. Fus:); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (1145 Pte. J. Whammond. Cape Police Dist. 2.); 1914-15 Star (R.S.M. J. Whammond 2nd S.A.M.R.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. J. Whammond.); Jubilee 1935 (1370 W.O.1 J. Whammond. S.A.I.C.); Permanent Forces of the Empire L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (R.S.M. J. Whammond, M.C. D.C.M. M.M. 2nd Rgt. S.A.M.R.) naming re-engraved, probably official and as issued; Meritorious Service Medal, G.V.R., 3rd issue (No. 1370 G.S.M. J. Whammond. S.A.I.C.) officially impressed naming; Romania, Kingdom, Order of the Star, 1st type,Chevalier’s breast badge, with swords, silver and enamel, reverse centre missing on this, mounted as worn, generally very fine or better (11) £8,000-£12,000
One of only 2 D.C.M. and M.M. combinations awarded for North Russia, the other selling in these rooms on 22 September 2006.
M.C. London Gazette 16 August 1917:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in making a very daring personal reconnaissance of the enemy's wire under heavy shell fire, and sending in a valuable and accurate report. His disregard for personal safety when engaged upon work of this nature has on all occasions been most noticeable.’
D.C.M London Gazette 21 January 1920:
‘On the 7th September 1919, at Ivanovskaya, during the attack on three companies of the enemy, who were surprised in the act of attacking Borok, he displayed marked courage and determination. With five men he attacked the enemy left flank, turned it, and drove towards Ivanovskaya. He captured with his party 25 of the enemy and two machine guns. Later, on the 9th September, he again did fine work.’
M.M. London Gazette 22 January 1920”
‘For bravery in the Field with the British Forces in North Russia.’
Romanian Order of the Star London Gazette 20 September 1919.
John Whammond was born in Arbroath, Scotland, in 1883 and as a young man worked as a stable boy. However, in 1900 he left for South Africa and joined the Cape Mounted Police as a private, serving with them in the Cape Colony during the Boer War, 1901-2. After the War he continued to serve in this corps for a further 10 years, before joining the Natal Police and the South African Mounted Rifles. With the latter, as Regimental Sergeant Major, he took part in General Botha’s campaign in South West Africa in 1914-15. Some time after the end of hostilities in that theatre of War, Whammond returned to Britain and enlisted into the Lovat’s Scouts Yeomanry as a Sergeant. Commissioned Second Lieutenant on 19 May 1916, he entered the French theatre of War on 10 October 1916, serving in command of one of the newly formed detachments known as ‘sharpshooters’. The sharpshooters were organised into nine observer groups, each made up of an officer and 20 men, and operated close to enemy positions, gathering intelligence on their strength and movements.
Clearly a fine exponent of this arm of warfare on the Western Front, H. Hesketh-Prichard, D.S.O., M.C., in his book ‘Sniping in France: Winning the Sniping War in the Trenches’, notes of Whammond: ‘The 1st Corps had a splendid system under which the Lovat’s Scouts attached to it worked. It possessed a grand group under Lieutenant Whamond, M.C., whose equal at his work I never saw in France. The system was this: Scouts from the group were available on application to the Corps Intelligence Officer. Thus if a battalion had been ordered to raid the enemy trenches, the Commanding Officer of that battalion could indent the Lovat’s to go and make a reconnaissance of the enemy wire for him.’
For his bravery, Whammond was awarded the Military Cross in August 1917, and was promoted Lieutenant on 19 November 1917, serving with this rank until the end of the War.
‘Archangel’ - Gallantry in North Russia 1919
Relinquishing his commission on 18 April 1919, but clearly with a thirst for more active service, Whammond immediately re-enlisted into the 46th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. This battalion, which in April 1919 was just forming for service with the North Russia Relief Force, consisted of volunteers, mostly battle hardened veterans from the Western Front. It included a large number of Australian troops who had been awaiting demobilisation and like Whammond, a number of Officers who had relinquished their commissions to serve in the ranks. One member of the 46th battalion would write on the ‘very mixed crowd in action with him - a testimony to the multinational character of the anti-Bolshevik forces’.
Another would write on their arrival in June that ‘they are all volunteers and any quantity of ex-officers in the ranks, Colonels galore; fellows wearing D.S.O.’s and M.C.’s on a private’s uniform.’
Given the regimental number; GS/129318 and quickly promoted Sergeant, Whammond would again distinguish himself in action numerous times, adding both the Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal to his glowing record of service. The citation for his D.C.M. gives us details of his gallantry in September 1919. However, Damien Wright, in his book ‘Churchill’s Secret War with Lenin’, gives us details of what may be the reason for the award of his M.M. Prior to the offensive on the Dvina River on 10 August 1919, he writes:
‘During a reconnaissance in the days leading up to the attack, a patrol under Sergeant John Whammond, 46th Royal Fusiliers, was spotted by the enemy and fired on. When Whammond did not return to British lines it was thought he had been killed or captured or become lost in the forest. Those that knew the plucky Scot were the least surprised when he arrived days later, “a little grubby and unshaven, but with a happy smile and a notebook full of the most wonderful information”.’
The 45th and 46th Battalions, Royal Fusiliers played a leading role in the operations in Northern Russia. Arriving in Archangel in early June 1919, they would take part in many operations on the Dvina front, including the 10 August 1919 offensive, which was the largest battle fought by British troops during the Russian Intervention. They were also among the last British troops to leave the North Russian port more than four months later.
Back to South Africa
After his service in North Russia, Whammond returned to South Africa, rejoining the Cape Mounted Police. In 1934, whist serving as a Sergeant Instructor, he was awarded the South African Meritorious Service Medal, one of only 46 ever awarded. At the outbreak of the Second War, he volunteered for service again, serving as Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 Provost Company, South African Corps of Military Police. He died in Pretoria on 14 May 1941, aged 58 and is buried at Thaba Tshwane Military Cemetery, South Africa. The inscription on his grave reads: ‘A Devoted Servant to God, King and Country. R.I.P.’