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WW1 BRITISH ARMY MILITARY CROSS MEDAL GROUP – ITALY FRONT & FAMOUS HORSE RACER

SOLD RARE WW1 BRITISH ARMY MILITARY CROSS, MEDAL & DOCUMENT GROUP AWARDED TO CAPTAIN DONOVAN DREWERY.Medals have been court mounted for display, including: *GRV Military Cross – un-named (attributed London Gazette, 3rd June, 1918) – see research below *1914/15 Star, impressed to: 1165 PTE. D. DREWERY. NORTH’D YEO. *British War & Victory Medals, impressed to: CAPT. D. DREWERY. Accompanying the full size medals are his requisite miniatures, swing mounted as worn. Research Captain Donovan Drewery was born in Darlington, Durham on the 17th of April 1894. He is listed in 1911 as an apprentice Horticultural Draftsman. First World War service sees him enlisting...

$2,800.00

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RARE WW1 BRITISH ARMY MILITARY CROSS, MEDAL & DOCUMENT GROUP AWARDED TO CAPTAIN DONOVAN DREWERY.Medals have been court mounted for display, including:

*GRV Military Cross - un-named (attributed London Gazette, 3rd June, 1918) - see research below
*1914/15 Star, impressed to: 1165 PTE. D. DREWERY. NORTH'D YEO.
*British War & Victory Medals, impressed to: CAPT. D. DREWERY.

Accompanying the full size medals are his requisite miniatures, swing mounted as worn.

Research

Captain Donovan Drewery was born in Darlington, Durham on the 17th of April 1894. He is listed in 1911 as an apprentice Horticultural Draftsman. First World War service sees him enlisting as a Private into the 1/1 Northumberland Hussars (Yeomanry – Territorial unit) serving in France and being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 18th of April 1916 into the Durham Light Infantry. During this period with the D.L.I. he was made a Temporary Lieutenant 12th September 1917 and Temporary Captain 7th January 1918, being confirmed with the rank of Captain on the 28th October 1921. He served as adjutant for the 12th Battalion between 7th March 1917 to 23rd December 1917. The 12th being sent to the Italian Front for service against the Austro-Hungarian and German forces between 2nd November 1917 until the 14th November 1918.

His Military Cross was won on the Italian Front, with the 12th BN D.L.I., more than likely for the actions during the Battle of Isonzo, which the battalion took part in. His M.C. is gazetted on the 3rd January 1918, with the action taking place sometime in late November to early December 1917. Military Cross awards for Italy are extremely scarce and as such rate highly among collectors, this being the first for many years I have come across, with very few units from the British Army even entering the Italian theatre during WW1 (His full D.L.I. record is available at Kew Gardens but has not yet been digitised).

Donovan Drewery went onto train race horses and was quite a famous character in both the UK and in the Americas for his colourful womanising, drinking and winning of races. There is a portrait of Donovan Drewery at the National Portrait Gallery: (http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw234399/Donovan-Drewery?

In 1968 his horse ‘Man of the West’ won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, amongst others he raced over a very long and distinguished career and in his memory the Donovan Drewery Memorial Hurdle was held at Ascot.

History of the 12th (Service) Battalion during WW1

The 12th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 joined the 68th Brigade in 23rd Division, alongside the 13th Battalion. They moved to Aldershot, Hampshire in November, then to Willesborough, Kent in February 1915 and went on in May to Bramshott. They proceeded to France landing at Boulogne on the 26th of August and concentrating near Tilques. On the 5th of September 23rd Division became attached to III Corps, moving to the Merris-Vieux Berquin area, for trench familiarisation under the guidance of the 20th (Light) and 27th Divisions. They took over front line sector between Ferme Grande Flamengrie to the Armentieres-Wez Macquart road in their own right on the 14th. During the Battle of Loos CIII and CV Brigades RFA were in action attached to 8th Division. With 23rd Division holding the front at Bois Grenier, they were relieved from that sector at the end of January 1916 and Divisional HQ was established at Blaringhem with the units concentrated around Bruay for a period of rest. On the 3rd of March they returned to the front line, taking over a sector between the Boyau de l'Ersatz and the Souchez River from the French 17th Division, with the Artillery taking over an exposed position between Carency and Bois de Bouvigny where it was subjected to heavy shelling. In early March a Tunnelling Company was established and men with a background in mining were transferred from the ranks to the Royal Engineers. In Mid April they returned to Bruay area for rest until mid May when they again took over the Souchez-Angres front, just before the German Attack on Vimy Ridge on the 21st. The brunt of the attack fell on 47th (London) Division, to the right of 23rd Division and the 23rd Divisional Artillery went into action in support of the 47th. On the 1st of June the Artillery supported 2nd Division as they undertook operations to recover lost ground. On the 11th of June the 23rd Division Infantry moved to Bomy and the artillery to Chamblain Chatelain and Therouanne to begin intensive training for the Battles of the Somme. They were in action in The Battle of Albert including the capture of Contalmaison, The Battles of Bazentin Ridge, Pozieres, Flers-Courcelette, Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy including the capture of Le Sars. In 1917 they fought in The Battle of Messines, The Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood and the The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele. In November 1917 the Division moved to Italy concentrating between Mantua and Marcaria before taking over the front line at the Montello on the 4th of December. In 1918 they were in action during the fighting on the Asiago Plateau and the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, including the passage of the Piave and the Monticano. At the Italian Armistice at 3pm on the 4th of November, the 23rd were midway between the Rivers Livenza and Meduna, east of Sacile. They moved to billets west of Treviso and demobilisation took place in January and February 1919.

Weight 1.763698 kg