Previous Lot Next Lot

Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 154

A Great War O.B.E. group of four awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel W. W. T. Massiah-Palmer, Graves Registration and Enquiries, late Northumberland Fusiliers, who died of disease in 1919

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Officer's (O.B.E.) 1st type breast Badge, silver-gilt, hallmarked for London 1918, the hallmark somewhat mis-struck; 1914-15 Star (Capt. W. W. T. Massaih-Palmer. North'd Fus.); British War and Victory Medals (Major W. W. T. Massaih-Palmer.), good very fine (4)

O.B.E. London Gazette 3 June 1919, the original citation states:

'... for valuable services rendered in connection with Military Operations in Egypt'

Werner William Thomas Massiah-Palmer was born at Launcton, Cornwall on 6 June 1885, the son of Thomas and Helen Palmer. Privately educated in his youth he entered Oxford University (Exeter College) here he was adopted by the Reverend Thomas Packer Massiah. The young man took on the surname of Massiah-Palmer as a result. While at Oxford he joined the school Cadet Force, matriculating in March 1911.

Applying for a commission in the Special Reserve on 8 August 1914, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant before being posted to the 13th Northumberland Fusiliers as Captain in September. The next month he was appointed adjutant of the Battalion and was still serving in that role when they entered the war in France on 9 September 1915. They went into action almost immediately at the Battle of Loos seeing fighting around Hill 70 and Hulluch, the Battalion lost 19 dead, 114 missing and 245 wounded.

During the Battle of the Somme Massiah-Palmer was promoted Major while Second-in-Command of the Battalion on 3 August 1916. He held this position during the Battalion's attack on the First Day of the Somme and the subsequent days immediately north of Fricourt. Relieved after three days of fighting they marched north and by 10 July were back in action at Mametz Wood. Massiah-Palmer's performance was clearly effective during this time as he was confirmed Major towards the end of the Offensive on 24 September 1916.

Appointed Deputy Assistant Director of the Graves Registration Unit on 8 February 1918. Arriving at Alexandria on 3 April 1918 Massiah-Palmer took over responsibility for Egypt, Salonika and Mesopotamia. Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel while performing this role on 9 December 1918 he proceeded to Gallipoli in early November 1918. This was the first chance the G.R.U. had to walk the Battlefields of the Peninsula and perform their work there. Unfortunately on his way back via Salonika Massiah-Palmer caught a severe illness, returning to London for treatment he was further stricken with Spanish Flu and died on 17 February 1919, he is buried at Edgeware (St. Margret) Churchyard; sold together with copied research including service papers, war diary entries and London Gazette extracts as well as medal rolls, M.I.C. application from commission and census data.

Subject to 20% VAT on Buyer’s Premium. For more information please view Terms and Conditions for Buyers.

Sold for

Starting price