German Wwi Tanks

WW1 Military Cross & WW2 - 23rd Sportsmans Btn Fusiliers - German Tank Action

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Item specifics
  • Country/Region of Manufacture:
    United Kingdom
  • Country/ Organization:
    Great Britain
  • Issued/ Not-Issued:
  • Type:
    Medals & Ribbons
  • Conflict:
    World War I (1914-1918)
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A World War One Military Cross and WW2 Medal Group to a Lieutenant, Captain and Major who served with the 23rd 'Sportsman's' Battalion Royal Fusiliers during WW1 and WW2.

The group were awarded to Gordon Cyril Phipps

The award of the Military Cross was awarded for gallantry and personnel example in action during fighting around Rumilly and in the battle of and capture of Cambrai in October 1918.

The action involved the successful repulsing of a German Tank counter attack!

The group includes the following:

  • The Military Cross is in its original box with suspension pin to the reverse.  The medal is named on the reverse:

30TH NOV 1917

  • The 1939-45 Star
  • The Africa Star with 1st Army Bar
  • The Defence Medal
  • The War Medal
  • The World War Two O.H.M.S. postage box addressed to Major G.  C. Phipps  M.C. in Plymouth, Devon.

The citation was published in the London Gazette on 3rd October 1919 and reads:

Gordon Cyril Phipps, Temporary 2nd Lieutenant, Acting Captain, 23rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers London Regiment

Gazette Issue 31583. M.C. With reference to the Awards conferred as announced in the London Gazette, dated 8th March, 1919, the following are the statements of services for which the decorations were conferred. On 8th October, 1918, east of Rumilly, he was in command of a company whose task was to capture a portion of the first objective of the brigade. In face of heavy fire he successfully led it forward to its objective had been reached the enemy delivered a counter-attack with Tanks. His gallantry and personal example encouraged his men to successfully repulse the attack.

The following extract is from the Official History of the 1st Sportsman’s Battalion:

 “GERMAN TANKS UNSUCCESSFUL.- Relieved at night, the Battalion moved back to bivouac at Nine Wood. Remaining there, resting, till October 7 the Battalion moved up to east of Rumilly on the night of 7th-8th, and delivered a successful attack on Forenville at dawn on the 8th. During a counter-attack the enemy used tanks against the Battalion in an endeavour to oust it from the positions secured, but without Success. On one tank, indeed, getting close to our line an officer, Lieutenant Anderson, armed with a rifle, and accompanied by his batman, got out of the trench, went forward under heavy fire, reached the oncoming tank, hammered at its side with his rifle-butt, and called on it to surrender. The iron door opened, and out came the crew, to be escorted back in triumph as prisoners! On the early morning of the 9th the Guards' Brigade “leap-frogged” the Battalion and continued the attack, the Battalion moving back to bivouac at Flesquieres. Remaining there for a few days, a move was made on the 13th to keep in touch with the general advance, Wambaix being reached after a long march.”

Although the reverse of the Military Cross gives the date of 30th October 1917, his Military Cross was actually awarded for his actions 8th October 1918.  

There was however a Divisional Citation from 1917 which reads as follows:

2nd Lieut. G. C. Phipps, 23rd Royal Fusiliers. Your Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander have informed me that you have distinguished yourself by conspicuous bravery in the field on 30/11/17 to 4/12/17. I have read their reports and, although promotion and decorations cannot be given in every case I should like you to know that your gallant action is recognised and how greatly it is appreciated.’

Clearly therefore, his gallantry was recognised in both October 1917 and October 1918.  Gordon chose to add the earlier date on the reverse of his M.C.

Gordon Phipps later served with the regiment during World War Two receiving a Regular Army Emergency Commission on 16th November 1939 and reaching the rank of Major on 1st May 1944.

He served with the 1st Army in North Africa.

An interesting and rare medal group and certainly worthy of more research.

Copies of the paperwork shown above can be sent with the medal group.

Please let me know if you need any additional photos or details. 

Please see my other listings of British and foreign Medals and Militaria.

Thanks and kind regards

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