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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№ 614


13 December 2012

Hammer Price:

A fine Second World War Italy operations M.M. group of seven awarded to Lance-Corporal J. R. Mountford, Coldstream Guards, who was decorated for his gallantry manning a hideout in the Salerno sector - while enemy armoured cars past within three yards of him: he was severely wounded by gunshots to his neck and right leg a week later and again, after returning to duty, in an air raid in June 1944

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (2657317 L. Cpl. J. R. Mountford, C. Gds.); General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Palestine (2657317 Gdsmn. J. R. Mountford, C. Gds.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, together with his British Legion and “Old Coldstreamers Association” lapel badges, good very fine and better (9)

M.M. London Gazette 27 January 1946. The original recommendation states:

‘On 14 September 1943 this N.C.O’s Company was holding a position near Battipaglia. That night the Company on his right was heavily attacked by tanks and infantry. Lance-Corporal Mountford had from first light been manning a listening post well forward of the Battalion’s Forward Defended Localities (F.D.Ls) and in a position which happened to be the line of approach for the enemy tanks and the forming up area of the enemy infantry. From this position he gave warning by telephone of the impending attack and thereafter, when the attack had commenced, remained reporting invaluable information with tanks and infantry moving within a few yards of his post. When his position appeared no longer tenable he was ordered to withdraw. This he did bringing back with him his telephone. An hour later, when the battle on the immediate flank of his platoon was at its height he volunteered again to go forward to his previous position. With intense small arms fire from both sides flying in every direction he again went forward and continued to report the movements of the enemy around him. Here he remained throughout the night in spite of enemy armoured cars passing within three yards of his hideout. Throughout the whole of the action this N.C.O. set a fine example of determination and cheerfulness of the highest order.’

John Richard Mountford was born in Birmingham in August 1917 and, standing at a little over 6 feet, made the perfect recruit for the Coldstream Guards in April 1936. Posted to the 3rd Battalion, he served out in Palestine prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, and afterwards in North Africa where, in 1943 alone, he suffered 13 attacks of malaria.

Nonetheless, he was present when the 3rd Battalion landed at Salerno on 9 September and quickly distinguished himself for the above cited deeds near Battipaglia on the 14th. But, as referred to above, he was seriously wounded by multiple gunshots a week later, as a result of which he was evacuated to to an American hospital via Field Ambulances and a Casualty Clearing Station. He appears to have returned to active service at the end of the year and, as verified by an accompanying typed statement of services, he was again wounded in late June 1944, this time in an air raid. Mountford was finally discharged to the Reserve in January 1946.