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eMedals-A Military Order of the Dragon to C.D.Brunce; Wounded at Tientsin

Item: W2879

A Military Order of the Dragon to C.D.Brunce; Wounded at Tientsin



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A Military Order of the Dragon to C.D.Brunce; Wounded at Tientsin

A Military Order of the Dragon to C.D.Brunce; Wounded at Tientsin - Blackened bronze and gilt, (CLARENCE DALRYMPLE BRUCE. No 1365). Naming is engraved on the reverse. Original embroidered ribbon and brooch suspension that is no longer attached to the ribbon, pin has been removed and the back filed flat, possibly for display purposes, reverse of the blackened bronze suspension bar maker marked "B.B. & B. PHILA." (Bailey, Banks & Biddle Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), marked "BRONZE" and "PAT.9.2.'03", scuffed reverse and edge, contact marks on the raised rim, very fine. Accompanied by assorted research papers. Footnote: Clarence Dalrymple Bruce was born in North Berwick, Scotland in 1862, the son of Colonel E.J. Bruce, Royal Artillery and Ethel Bruce (nee Leetham). He was educated at Haileybury College in Hertford Heath, near Hertford, 32 km from central London and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, with personal interests in polo, cricket, hunting and shooting. At the age of 20, he entered the Army as a Lieutenant on September 9, 1882, with the Duke of Wellington's 33rd Regiment. He soon found himself serving in India and was there for the next six years, from 1883-1889, with part of that service as an Aide-de-camp, Sirhind Division to General David MacFarlan, C.B. After home service he found himself in the Egyptian theatre, serving on the staff of Lord (Sir Francis) Grenfell, C.G.M.G., in Cairo, during the Atbara Campaign of 1898. Later that year, General Sir Hamilton Bower, K.C.M.G., raised the Chinese Regiment at Wei Hai Wei in 1898, with Bruce as his Second-in-Command with the rank of Major. Bruce was later to command the same regiment for six years. In July 1900, as part of the multinational military force, representing the Eight-Nation Alliance (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States), assembled to rescue the besieged population of foreign nationals in the city of Tientsin, Bruce was severely wounded at the Relief of Tientsin but eventually recovered. The Chinese Imperial army and the Boxers were defeated and with the capture of Tientsin, gave the Eight-Nation Alliance a base to launch a rescue mission for the foreign nationals besieged in the Legation Quarter of Peking, in August 1900, at the Relief of Peking. For his service, Bruce was awarded the China Medal 1900 with Relief of Pekin clasp. He wrote a book, entitled "In the Hoofprints of March Polo", documenting his 1905 ride from Srinagar, Kashmir to Peking, China. After having previously led a regiment of Chinese soldiers, he found himself on the wrong side of the Himalayas. Although nestled in picturesque Sringar, his true destination of Peking lay a great distance away. He began by making his way to the mountain kingdom of Ladakh, where he enlisted a crew of "wild looking ruffians and 28 rugged ponies", setting off on an eight month jouney that taxed men and horses to their limits. Mounted on his trusty thirteen-hand high Kashmiri pony, Bruce led his caravan over the 18,000 foot high Himalayan passes, before descending onto the Devil's Plain in Tibet. The caravan was hard pressed to avoid detection by the indiginous mountaineeers, who were adamant about keeping foreigners out of their "forbidden kingdom". Bruce did not linger near Lhasa, with freezing temperatures abounding, as Peking was his true target. He crossed into Chinese Turkistan, where he stood face to face with the infamous Lo Nor Desert, a place that saw his caravan suffer: men collapsed, ponies died, but they forged on to Peking through this dreaded wasteland "in the hoofprints of Marco Polo". As he stated in his book, "The ponies never failed us, no matter how impossible the ground was" and took many pictures along the way to document the journey and published them in his book. Upon his return to China, he was named Commissioner of the International Police at Shanghai in 1907, holding the post until 1914. While Commissioner, Bruce was in command of the defence forces during the Chinese Revolutions of 1911 and 1913, later resigning on appointment as an Advisor in Police Affairs to the Chinese Government. He was to return to the United Kingdom and upon the outbreak of hostilites in 1914, was prepared for service in the European theatre, entrusted with the command of the 27th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division in 1915. It has also been documented that Bruce became a Prisoner of War on the Western Front during the war. Upon the ceasing of hostilities, he became a non-effective officer on June 14, 1919. Bruce was cited on four occasions in the London Gazette: 7323, on December 15, 1893, "4th Volunteer Battalion, the Essex Regiment, Captain Clarence Dalrymple Bruce, the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), to be Adjutant, vice Captain C.E. Orman, the Essex Regiment, whose term of service has expired. Dated 18th November, 1893."; 2997, on May 3, 1907, "Major Clarence Dalrymple Bruce, retired pay (late the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), to be Major (supernumerary), under the conditions of paragraph 6, Imperial Yeomanry Regulations, 1906. Dated 25th March, 1907."; 8166, on November 10, 1908, "Essex, the undermentioned officers (one of two named) remain supernumerary on transfer to the Territorial Force. dated 1st April, 1908:- Superrnumerary Major and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel (Major, retired pay, Reserve of Officers) Clarence Dalrymple Bruce."; and 5964, on July 31, 1914, named to the "Fourth Class of the Order of the Excellent Crop." Bruce received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society from 1901 until his death in 1934. He was the author of two books: the aforementioned "In the Hoofprints of March Polo" (detailing his 1905 journey on horseback from Kashmir to Peking) and "A History of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment ,1st and 2nd Battalions", along with the publication of "The Essex Foxhounds, 1895-1926 and Adjacent Hunts". The British National Archives holds other pieces of his writings (comprising a diary of his journey across Asia in 1907, copies of an article for the London Evening Standard, 1902-1903, account of a ride from Peking to Lake Baikal and two volumes of a route report from Tibet to Peking). He is known to have travelled widely in Central and other parts of Asia, Russia, Chinese Turkestan, Russian Central Asia, China, Siberia, and in Europe. He was awarded The Military Order of the Dragon, which was created to record the history and conserve the memory of the military campaign in China in the year 1900. Provision was made for admitting to honourary membership to officers of foreign armies on service in China between June 15 and October 1, 1900. Following custom, the officers of the China Relief Expedition assembled in Peking just prior to the reduction of the expeditionary force, an organization of a society to perpetuate the associations formed during the expedition was created. Meetings of officers were held October 1-3, 1900, resulting in the adoption of a name for the society, a constitution, officers, etc. It was expected that this society would, in years to come, have a standing and historical interest, highlighted by the issuing of this medal to its members. Its alliance with other kindred societies of other nations would undoubtedly tend to preserve acquaintance and friendships, which might otherwise be lost, and keep open the door for very desirable friendly exchanges, of a social and professional nature, with foreign officers.
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