Lot Archive


№ 697


19 April 1995

Hammer Price:

A rare Defence of Mafeking, Great War D.S.O., M.C. group of eight awarded to Major E. W. Hunt, South African Horse, late Commanding, Hunt’s Scouts
Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R.; Military Cross, G.V.R.; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 2 clasps, Defence of Mafeking, Transvaal (Capt., A.S.C.); 1914-15 Star (Maj., Hunts Scouts); British War and bi-lingual Victory Medals, M.I.D. (Mjr.); Jubilee 1935; Coronation 1937; together with two German medals relating to the campaign in German South West Africa 1904-06, entitlement to which is uncertain, nearly very fine or better (10)

D.S.O. London Gazette 22 August, 1918, “for distinguished service in the field in connection with the Campaign in German South-West Africa 1914-15. To date 1 Jan. 1916.” - Commandos: Major Edward Watkin Hunt, M.C., Hunt’s Scouts.
M.C. London Gazette 13 February, 1917, Temp. Captain, S.A.H. “For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his squadron with great gallantry against strongly held enemy positions. Later, with 40 men, he cut a way through dense forest and forced the enemy to retire.”
M.I.D. London Gazette 8 February, 1917, and 22 February, 1918.
Edward Watkin Hunt was born,10 January, 1869, and educated in New South Wales, Australia, and went to South Africa, in the first instance, for a rest cure necessitated by a severe accident. He subsequently served in the South African War, attached to the 6th Imperial Bushmen, and was present during the defence of Mafeking. His service record shows that he returned to Australia in 1901 but later went back to South Africa and settled on a ranch in the Zoutpansberg district. During the Great War he commanded “Hunt’s Scouts,” and later served as second-in-command of the 9th South African Horse in East Africa; he also for a period held the acting command of the regiment. For his military services he was awarded the M.C. and the D.S.O.
Lieut-Colonel M. M. Hartigan, D.S.O., Hartigan’s Horse, wrote, in a letter from France to Major Hunt: “You have in a marked degree all the qualifications necessary to command, and that inspiring ‘tally-ho!’ method of yours in action simply makes ‘em love the job, and once your squadron found that you would take them out of hell as easily as you let them in, I knew that I never need hesitate about the odds where you were concerned. The gift you have of being able to tell at a glance whether you can take mounted troops through thick country which you have never before seen is extraordinary, and I don’t think you would ever be ‘bushed.’ When you were commanding the regiment during that drive down to Mahenga I made a big call on your staying power and resource, and it was well for us that I did.”
Major Hunt became a prominent farmer in South Africa and was President of the South African Agricultural Union, a member of the Transvaal Provincial Council, and later of the Union Parliament and of the Johannesburg Municipal Council. The group is sold with several news cuttings including a group photograph of a “Group of Australians, mostly refugees from the Transvaal, who took part in the defence of Mafeking,” and a photograph of a bronze bust of Major Hunt commisioned by the Transvaal Agricultural Union.