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№ 600


13 December 2012

Hammer Price:

A good post-war civil M.B.E., North-West Europe operations M.C. group of six awarded to Major J. G. Daniels, Welch Regiment, who was decorated for his aggressive leadership and gallantry at the capture of Botersen airfield

Military Cross, G.VI.R. the reverse officially dated ‘1945’ and privately engraved, ‘Major J. G. Daniels, The Welch Regiment’; 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, good very fine or better (6)

M.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1960.

London Gazette 2 August 1945. The original recommendation:

‘On 26 April 1945, 4th Battalion, The Welch Regiment, was ordered to occupy the north eastern portion of the aerodrome to the east of Botersen. The enemy had a considerable number of S.P. Guns and mortars in the area, which had been very active. A P.W. the previous night said there were numerous infantry on, and around, the aerodrome. It was thought, however, that the enemy intended to withdraw further west.

A Carrier Patrol, under the command of Lieutenant Daniels, was therefore sent out to discover if the enemy had withdrawn overnight. The only possible route for the patrol to take, in view of the distance to be covered and the necessity for speed was along a straight ride through thick woods running down to the aerodrome. Lieutenant Daniels had led his patrol almost to the end of the ride when fire was opened by a party of the enemy concealed around a small road block in front. Lieutenant Daniels deployed the patrol, and with great skill led his men around through the trees and assaulted the enemy post. Two of the enemy were killed (one by this officer himself), the remainder making off through the trees towards the aerodrome.

Not satisfied that the presence of this enemy post gave proof that the aerodrome was still held in strength, Lieutenant Daniels determined to push on. Having got through the road block, the patrol came to a bend in the track, where the latter led onto the airfield. Here, the leading carrier blew up on a mine, and was completely destroyed. At the same time, fire was again opened on the patrol, this time from a small house, a few yards down the track. Although badly shaken by the blast from the blown up carrier, Lieutenant Daniels completely ignored the fact that the track was mined and without hesitation - and with the utmost bravery and disregard for his own safety - dashed, alone, across the open ground, under heavy Schmeiser fire, into the house, killing one German and capturing another.

Leaving behind the bulk of his patrol to clear a way through the minefield for the use of the Battalion - Lieutenant Daniels - using one man to cover him forward, moved up to the limit given for his patrol, namely the aerodrome administrative buildings, and personally searched them. Having only now satisfied himself that he had completed his task, he withdrew his patrol.

As a result of this absolutely reliable information brought back, and the aggressiveness shown, by Lieutenant Daniels, the Battalion was able to make a rapid advance onto the aerodrome, without suffering a single casualty - and was able to keep in contact with, and further destroy, the retreating enemy. Lieutenant Daniels had led his patrol, under most difficult and dangerous conditions, with great singleness of purpose and the highest degree of bravery and disregard for his own safety.’

James Gerallt Daniels, whose brother, Idris, was a well-known Welsh baritone and B.B.C. artist, was educated at Pencader Council School, Llandysul County School and Trinity College, Carmarthen, and was appointed Headmaster of Llanllwni Primary School at the early of age of 21 years.

The War having intervened, he was commissioned in the Welch Regiment and, as cited above, was awarded the M.C. for his gallantry in capturing Botersen airfield - an award ultimately approved by Montgomery, who decorated him in the Field. Post-war, Daniels returned to his duties as Headmaster of Llanllwni Primary School at Pencades, Carmarthenshire, and it was in the same capacity that he was awarded the M.B.E. in 1960.

Sold with the recipient’s original Buckingham Palace M.C. letter, with related War Office forwarding letter dated 22 April 1947, a wartime newspaper cutting and a fine quality period photograph of Montgomery investing him with his M.C. in the Field - this last signed in ink, ‘B. L. Montgomery, Field-Marshal’.