Lot Archive


№ 421


8 December 1994

Hammer Price:

A fine O.B.E., Great War D.C.M. and Bar group of ten awarded to Colonel Ben Hurst, Royal Engineers and Army Educational Corps

ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, O.B.E. (Military) 2nd type; DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL, G.V.R., with Second Award Bar (504017 CS. Mjr., 503/Wessex F. Coy. R.E.-T.F.); 1914-15 STAR (90 Cpl. (A. Sjt.), R.E.); BRITISH WAR AND VICTORY MEDALS, M.I.D. (90 W.O. Cl. II, R.E.); DEFENCE AND WAR MEDALS, JUBILEE 1935; CORONATION 1937; TERRITORIAL FORCE EFFICIENCY MEDAL, G.V.R. (504017 CS. Mjr., R.E.) nearly extremely fine (10)

The group is sold with a quantity of original documents including: Warrant for the O.B.E. dated 11 May 1937; 3 M.I.D. certificates, one dated 30 November 1915 and two dated 7 November 1917; 3 Divisional Certificates for gallant conduct; Commission Warrants as Warrant Officer Class II, 1917, and as 2nd Lieutenant, 1921; 3 Membership Certificates for Engineering Institutions, various photographs and cuttings.

D.C.M., London Gazette, 1 January, 1918. 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst under heavy shell fire he rescued some men who were buried in a dug-out. He also showed great coolness in taking forward R.E. stores under shell fire.'

Bar to D.C.M., London Gazette, 4 March, 1918. 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He went out with three others, under heavy shell fire, and dug out a man who had been buried in a shell hole, after several other attempts to reach the man had failed. He has shown great initiative and self sacrifice.'

Benjamin Henry Darby Hurst joined the Royal Engineers (Territorial) before the 1914-18 War in which he was wounded, awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Bar, and thrice mentioned in despatches. He was one of the finest shots in the Army and won the Queen Mary prize at Bisley; he also played Rugby for Somerset. Commissioned in 1921 into the Army Educational Corps Ben's fighting days were over but he still had a lot to offer. His greatest achievement was the creation of the Army Vocational Training Centre at Aldershor a unique establishment which taught many thousands of men valuable trades before they returned to civil life. He later commanded the Vocational Training Centre at Chisledon Camp and at the outbreak of war in 1939 was posted to the War Office. Soon afterwards he was given the task of turning one of the oldest railways in the country, near Shrewsbury, into a modern army ordnance depot covering many square miles of country. There must be many ex-soldiers in this country who can look back with deep appreciation and affection for the man who provided them with the knowledge required to start them in that difficult period of their lives when they left the Army and had to readapt themselves to the conditions of civil life. The many trades which he taught them must have been of inestimable value and those who knew him well realise that the teaching of these trades was made possible only by his great tenacity of purpose and the many friends he had made outside the Army, who helped him with the instructional equipment and material required. Promoted Colonel in December 1941, he retired with that rank and died at his home at Marlborough on 5 February 1952.