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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 126

(x) The landmark 1940 D.S.C. group of five awarded to Lieutenant-Commander J. W. Golby, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Golby took the very first D.S.C. awarded to a Canadian for the Second World War, for his remarkable services on and off the coast of France with the Canadian 'Wavy Navy' whilst loaned to the Royal Navy in the summer of 1940; his demolition parties shared in daring 'Bluejacket actions' and accounted for the dock at La Havre, (besides downing a Heinkel) with Golby also diving into heavy seas in the English Channel in order to swim 100 yards to a German Sea Mine so that his trawler might take it in tow and destroy the weapon, which blocked a shipping lane

Distinguished Service Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated '1940' and further privately inscribed 'Lieut. J. W. Golby', in its case of issue; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Canadian Voluntary Service Medal, with Overseas Service clasp; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, these last three Canadian issues in silver, good very fine (5)

Approximately 123 D.S.C.'s earned by Canadians during the Second World War, together with 16 Second Award Bars and 3 Third Award Bars.

D.S.C. London Gazette 26 July 1940:

'For good services in successful operations which prevented much war material from falling into the hands of the enemy.'

James Wake Golby was born in Victoria, Canada on 11 June 1915, after his family had come out to Canada from Petworth, West Sussex in 1910. He was educated at Mount Douglas High School and the University of Victoria at Cedar Hill. Golby had been working as a building contractor and was living with his wife on Cadboro Bay at the outbreak of the Second World War. Besides this, he was a prominent member of local society, being a keen member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the Community Planning Association of Canada and the Chamber of Commerce at Tofine. In his spare time Golby was often sailing, shooting or building models to pass the time.

When duty called, he was there to answer and joined the Canadian 'Wavy Navy' as an Acting Temporary Probationer Sub-Lieutenant from 18 March 1940. Loaned to the Royal Navy, he gave valiant service on and off the coasts of Europe in those pivotal days before the Fall of France. A newspaper gives further detail:

'His youthful features hidden behind a bristling beard, the Victorian who commanded a flotilla of six trawlers in the English Channel and was later decorated by The King...He was a member of a demolition party which was in France for 23 days. Its job was to precede the Nazis down the French coast blowing up anything and everything that might be of use to the enemy. At Le Havre they blew up, probably the world's largest dock - where the Normandie was built.

The party was still in France after the evacuation of Dunkerkque, arriving back in England on June 11, "My birthday", Lieut. Golby mused.

A Heinkel, which his trawler shot down over the Channel, provided Mrs Golby with a handsome ring. It was cleverly carved from the windshield of the invader by one of the Lieutenant's men.

One of the Victorian's most notable feats, but which he passed off with a smile, was a 100-yard swim in the icy channel to attach a line to an enemy mine. Due to the heavy seas, the trawler had been unable to sink the mine with gunfire. As it was almost dark and the mine was in a regular shipping lane, Golby dived overboard and swam to it and attached the line.

The trawler then towed it to open water and when dawn came exploded the deadly piece of machinery with gunfire.'

Having been on loan to the Royal Navy until August 1941, Golby in that time went up to Buckingham Palace on 3 September 1940 to receive his decoration from the hands of The King. Upon going home to Canada for his next posting to the armed yacht Sans Peur in October 1941, he would meet his daughter for the first time and also be given a Civic Welcome home to Victoria. Met at the dock by the Victoria Girls' Pipe Band, together with his wife and two daughters, they were then driven to City Hall. Ever modest, Golby recalled that '...being on parade behind those kilted Lassies was worse than France.'

He was met at City Hall by Alderman Dewar, present as Mayor McGavin was away on holiday, being presented with '...a commemorative the Mayor and City Council desired to recognise in some small way Golby's feats overseas and the splended example he set to Canada's young men.' (That very Medal accompanies the Lot)

For the remainder of the Second World War he served variously aboard Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Coaticook and Humberstone, being in command of those last three vessels. He was posted as Commanding Officer of the Reserve Fleet in March 1947 and was discharged Lieutenant-Commander in May 1955. Golby died 1964.

Sold together with City of Victoria, Vancouver Island Medal, the reverse attractively engraved 'Presented to Lieut. James Wake Golby DSC RCNVR by the Major and City Council of Victoria BC 22 August 1941 in Recognition of Services to The Empire', cap Badge, Canadian Geographical Journal November 1942, giving details and a file of copied research.

Subject to 5% tax on Hammer Price in addition to 20% VAT on Buyer’s Premium.

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