Special Collections

Sold on 12 December 2012

1 part


The Collection of Second World War and Modern Gallantry Awards formed by the late William Oakley

William Raymond Oakley

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№ 611


13 December 2012

Hammer Price:

A fine Second World War North Africa operations M.M. group of six awarded to Warrant Officer Class II R. H. Little, Scots Guards, who was decorated for his courage in the famous Sidi Rezegh action of December 1941: he was killed in action near Monte Cassino in November 1943

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (2695982 L. Cpl. R. H. Little, S. Gds.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, extremely fine (6) £2000-2500

M.M. London Gazette 24 February 1942. The original recommendation states:

‘At Sidi Rezegh on 5 December 1941, the German Army was in retreat under constant shell fire. The Platoon to which Lance-Corporal Little belongs was ordered to the O.P. area for possible mopping up operations. A large body of Infantry was seen marching away towards Italian defended positions - these were eventually identified as captured New Zealanders under escort. A party which included Lance-Corporal Little went out after them, routed the escort, and bought back some 200-300 New Zealanders on foot and in trucks. There were several seriously wounded still to be collected. It was late afternoon, there was little daylight left, and there was much enemy M.T. movement in the area. Lance-Corporal Little volunteered to go with his truck. He went off and with another vehicle, was away for 1½ hours, returning with eight wounded men. The party had been subjected to heavy M.G. fire, and had had to lie low while enemy M.T. passed close to them. An officer has said that “throughout the enterprise Lance-Corporal Little’s example was magnificent - his determination to save the wounded men and his disregard for his personal safety were beyond praise.” ’

Robert Herbert Little was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, in December 1918 and enlisted in the Scots Guards in April 1938. Posted to the 2nd Battalion, he was embarked for Egypt in November 1938, where he was still serving on the outbreak of hostilities. Subsequently decorated for his gallant deeds at Sidi Rezegh in early December 1941, he served in Syria from September 1942 until February 1943, and landed with his Battalion - as a Company Sergeant-Major in ‘G’ Company - at Salerno, Italy, in mid-September 1943. Sadly, however, as stated above, he was killed while directing a burial party on 12 November. The son of Stephen and Elizabeth Little of Crosby, Isle of Man, he was 24 years of age and is buried Cassino War Cemetery.