Australian Groups


Lot 1512    SESSION 6 (9.30AM TUESDAY 31ST AUGUST)    Australian Groups

Estimate $9,600
SOLD $8,000

MC AND BAR GROUP OF FOUR: Military Cross (GVR) with Bar; 1914-15 Star; British War Medal 1914-18; Victory Medal 1914-19. Lt. W.H.O'Bern 1st Pioneer Batt. A.I.F. Westhoek 28/9/17 on first medal, 88 Spr. W.H.O'Bern 2/F.C.Eng. A.I.F. on second medal, Lieut. W.H.O'Bern. A.I.F. on last two medals; also WWI Memorial Plaque named to John O'Bern (brother of above). First medal engraved, other medals impressed. The medals display mounted on card, cleaned, very fine, the Plaque with surface marks and glue residue on reverse where it has been glued to a board. (Group + 1)

Together with 3 photos of W.H.O'Bern in uniform; Memorial Scroll for Dvr John O'Bern glued to a board.

MC: LG 19/11/1917, p11953; CAG 7/8/1918, p1660 to Lieutenant William Henry O'Bern 1 Aust Pioneer Bn.

Recommendation (dated 3 Oct 1917): For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the vicinity of Wetshoek on the 29th September, 1917. Lieut. O'Bern displayed the utmost courage and devotion in assisting three artillery drivers who were severely wounded by a large calibre shell bursting amongst both horses and men. The enemy had set up a heavy barrage fire, in spite of which this Officer extricated the men from the horses, rendered first aid, and helped them to a place of safety. This is the second occasion Lieut. O'Bern's name has been brought to notice for similar actions.

(With a copy of a letter signed personally by General Birdwood congratulating O'Bern on the award of the Military Cross for his conspicuous gallantry at Westhoek on 29 September. The letter is glued to a board)

Bar to MC: CAG No.110 25/7/1918, p1593 (copy of Gazette included); M.O. 353/18 as recorded in Service File, to Lieutenant William Henry O'Bern M.C., Pioneers.

Recommendation (dated 30 Sept 1917 and this is possibly the reason for the award of a Bar): From the 26th February 1917 to date this officer has shown great devotion to duty, directing engineering skilfully in all works allotted to him as a platoon commander. In the operations in April and May 1918 this officer whilst in charge of forward communication completed an important trench under most trying and arduous conditions. His courage and constant devotion to duty have been an example to all ranks.

MM: Not proceeded with. Incorrectly recorded as 88 Corporal William Henty O'Bern 2nd Field Coy. Notation made to indicate he was now in Pioneers.

Recommendation: During the action against Pozieres showed great skill and coolness from 20th to 26th July in directing his section in the construction of Strong Points. During particularly heavy firing he extracted four men who were buried and led his men to safety.

88 William Henry O'Bern, fitter, age 28, born at Ballarat, Vic; Enl.25Aug1914 at Melbourne, Vic in 2 Fd Coy; Emb.21Oct1914; to L/Cpl 25May1915 at Gallipoli; to Cpl 01Mar1916; to T/Sgt 23Apr1916; to Lt 09Aug1916; Trf to 1st Pioneer Bn 12Aug1916; RTA 09Mar1919; Appointment terminated 29Jun1919; Died 1955.

Brother: 2284 John O'Bern, engineer, age 21, born at Ballarat, Vic; Enl.28Jul1915 at Melbourne, Vic in Fd Coy Engineers; Emb.09Nov1915; WIA 16Jun1916 GSW to forearm, France; Accidentally killed while with 12th Army Brigade A.F.A. by a 'dud' German air bomb 13Dec1917, France - while a party was unloading supply lorries an unknown man picked up a 'dud' German air bomb which was lying in the vicinity and after examining it, dropped it when it instantly exploded killing John O'Bern and 4 others outright, 5 others were wounded, 2 of whom subsequently died as a result of their wounds.; Buried at 2nd Aust Casualty Clearing Station Cemetery later transferred to Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France.

Estimate / sale price does not include buyer's premium (currently 22% including GST) which is added to hammer price. All bids are executed on the understanding that the Terms & Conditions of sale have been read and accepted. For information on grading and estimates please refer to the Buying at Auction advice.

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