Lot Archive


№ 467


5 March 1996

Hammer Price:

An exceptional South Russia D.S.C. group of seven awarded to Commander B. J. Littledale, Royal Navy
Distinguished Service Cross, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star Trio (Lieut., R.N.) the star possibly officially renamed; Russia, St. George Cross for Bravery, 4th class, the reverse officially numbered ‘166 551’; Order of St. Vladimir, 4th class with swords and bow, gold and enamels, maker’s marks for Alexander Kordess, St. Petersburg, one sword hilt lacking; Order of St. Stanislas, 3rd class with swords and bow, gold and enamels, maker’s marks for Alexander Kordess, St. Petersburg, the group on an old court mounted bar by Gieves Ltd., generally very fine (7)

D.S.C. London Gazette 7 September, 1920. Awarded for service with the British Military Mission to South Russia. The following recommendation was extracted from Admiralty records: ‘For conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy during the recent advance. He took an active part in transport of part of the Siwash Flotilla from the right to the left flank, and the subsequent launching of these boats, which had to be dragged 200 yards through deep mud before floating, the whole being accomplished under enemy machine gun fire. Lieut. Littledale, in the absence of the C.O. of the Flotilla, took charge of the successful operation of landing the Caucasian Cossacks on the night of 6-7th June.’
Order of St. Stanislas, 3rd class with bow,
A.F.S.R. Ordres du Jour 3150, 6 May, 1920: ‘For gallantry in the field and for devotion to duty.’
Order of St. Vladimir, 4th class with bow, and Cross of St. George, 4th class, ‘By special orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army: Lieutenant B. J. Littledale of the British Naval Mission, for exceeding bravery and absolute disregard of personal safety.’
Littledale is commended in a R.A.F. report on a special operation, 8 July, 1919, by three sea planes which were sent to render assistance to “
Jolly Roger” - on fire about four versts south of Lobskagora (1 verst = 3,500 feet). On arrival they discovered that the ship had already been abandoned but that the majority had life saving apparatus or driftwood to assist them. It appears that all were successfully rescued and the report concludes: ‘Capt (sic) Littledale, who had been in the water about 40 minutes had during the whole of this time been supporting one of his crew (an elderly man unable to swim and who was exhausted). His splendid action most assuredly saved this man’s life.’
Bernard John Littledale entered the Navy with the second group of cadets joining Osborne College on its opening in 1903. He passed out as Midshipman from the training cruiser
Cornwall in the summer of 1908, was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in December, 1911, and to Lieutenant two years later. In 1913 he was among the first officers of the common entry system to volunteer for engineering, and was appointed for the course at Greenwich. On the mobilisation in August 1914, he joined the battleship Glory, flagship of Rear Admiral Phipps Hornby, for engineering duties, and in her he served in the Atlantic and in the Dardanelles. In December 1916, he was appointed to the battle-cruiser Tiger, but from October 1917, he served as engineer officer in succession of the destroyers Napier and Nimrod. In November 1919, he was appointed for duty at Constantinople, base during the Allied occupation, and in September 1920, was awarded the D.S.C. His promotion to Commander (E) was in December 1926, after two years in the battleship Malaya in the Mediterranean, and he was appointed in February 1927, to Hong Kong base for charge of stores and for Fleet duties. After a year on this duty he was appointed to the gunboat Bee, flagship of the REar Admiral and S.N.O. on the Yangtze. He died at Shanghai, aged 37, whilst holding this appointment, on 15 January, 1929.