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№ 1293


1 December 2004

Hammer Price:

A rare Great War O.B.E., German South-West Africa operations M.C. group of six awarded to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Green, Transvaal Scottish, late Scottish Horse

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 1st type breast badge, silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1919, the reverse of the middle arms privately engraved ‘Major / J.A. Green’; Military Cross, G.V.R., the reverse privately engraved ‘Capt. J. A. Green’; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 5 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (37385 Serjt., Scottish Horse); 1914-15 Star (Capt., 8th Infantry), with ‘(Atholl Highlanders)’ privately engraved below; British War Medal 1914-20 (Mjr.); Bi-lingual Victory Medal 1914-19 (Capt.), together with a set of related miniature dress medals, both groups mounted as worn and contained in an old Garrard & Co. Ltd. case, the third with contact marks and altered clasp side-carriage, otherwise very fine or better (12) £800-1000

O.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1918.

London Gazette 22 August 1918: ‘For distinguished services in the Field in connection with the campaign in German South-West Africa 1914-15.’

James Alexander Green was born in May 1879 and was educated at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh. A volunteer in the Scottish Horse during the Boer War, he also served as an officer in the Transvaal Scottish from 1910-12. Returning to uniform on the advent of hostilities in August 1914, when he joined the 2nd Transvaal Scottish as a Lieutenant, he was quickly advanced to Captain and went on to serve with distinction in the German South-West Africa campaign, the award of his M.C. very probably stemming from the action fought by his Battalion at Trekkopjes on 26 April 1915, when the enemy pounded the South Africans with ‘between four and five hundred shells’ (accompanying
History of the Transvaal Scottish, by H. C. Juta, refers).

In September 1915, Green was attached to the Permanent Force (Staff) for special duties, and for the remainder of the War he served in the Record Office of the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force in London, and, on occasion, during the course of 1916, out in France on related work. By November of the latter year, he was the Officer Commanding his unit, but in March 1917, the post appears to have undergone a period of re-assessment, or certainly according to accompanying copied correspondence that refers to Green’s desire to be granted an interview with General Smuts to discuss the matter further. The same official communication also cites his ‘excellent work’, not least in July 1916 following the horrendous casualties sustained by the South Africans at Delville Wood - ‘nothing would give me greater pleasure than if his services could be officially recognised by the War Office.’ Green was duly gazetted for the O.B.E. in the New Year’s Honours of 1918.

Having relinquished his commission ‘on account of ill-health contracted on service’ in March 1920, he was permitted to retain the rank of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, and appears to have settled in Perthshire.