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  • The Awards of Major-General J. M. Walter
  • The Awards of Major-General J. M. Walter
  • The Awards of Major-General J. M. Walter

Item: GB0967

The Awards of Major-General J. M. Walter

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The Awards of Major-General J. M. Walter

A fine Great War C.B., Boer War D.S.O. group of eight awarded to Major-General J. M. Walter, Indian Army, late Devonshire Regiment, who was taken prisoner at Colenso after a gallant last stand. The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion?s breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, with swivel-ring suspension and riband buckle; Distinguished Service Order, V.R., silver-gilt and enamel; India General Service 1895-1902, 1 clasp, Punjab Frontier 1897-98 (Captn. J. M. Walter, Devon Regt. (1st Bn.)); Queen?s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Cape Colony, Orange Free State (Major J. Mac N. Walter, Devon Rgt.); King?s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Maj. J. Mac N. Walter, D.S.O., Devon Rgt.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Maj. Gen. J. N. Walter); Delhi Durbar 1911, privately inscribed, ?Colonel J. M. Walter, D.S.O.?, wreaths on the C.B. and D.S.O. slightly chipped in places, contact marks, otherwise generally very fine or better (8) Footnote: C.B. London Gazette 1 January 1916.D.S.O. London Gazette 26 June 1902.John MacNeil Walter was born in Meerut, India in June 1861, the son of General John MacNeil Walter, C.B., Colonel of the Royal Sussex Regiment. Educated at Cheltenham College and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was commissioned in the 12th Foot in January 1880, and was advanced to Captain in April 1886, while stationed in India. Appointed D.A.A.G. to the 2nd Tochi Field Force, he was subsequently present in operations on the Punjab Frontier 1897-98 and won a "mention" (London Gazette 11 February 1898 refers).Having then been advanced to Major in April 1899, he witnessed further active service in South Africa, being present in the relief of Ladysmith operations, including Colenso. During the latter engagement the Devons entered the village after the Royal Artillery had got into trouble, and were forced to hold their positions until the order to withdraw was given. Colonel Bullock, commanding the 2nd Battalion, having not realised that orders to withdraw had been issued, decided to go the aid of a number of wounded Gunners trapped in the donga. With him were two officers, including Walter, and 33 other ranks.As soon as the enemy came into view Colonel Bullock and his men opened fire. Instead of answering fire with fire, the Boer Commander commandeered a British ambulance orderly and under the protection of the Red Cross walked up to Bullock?s position and told him the battle was over and that he should surrender. Bullock refused, demanding that his adversary should go back and fight it out, all this time British and Boer soldiers stood about watching and listening while their officers argued. The incident ended when one exasperated burgher, shouted, "Surrender, you brave idiot!" and clubbed Bullock on the head with his rifle.The defence of the donga earned the praise of General Buller: ?Colonel Bullock, 2nd Devons, behaved with great gallantry. He did not receive the orders to retire, and his party defended themselves and the wounded of the two batteries till nightfall, inflicting considerable loss on the enemy, and it was only when surrounded that he consented to surrender, because the enemy said they would shoot the wounded if he did not? (see Buller?s despatch of 17 December 1900).Walter was captured as a result of this action and interned in the Officer?s Prisoner of War Camp in the State Model School at Pretoria, being released upon the British occupation in June 1900. He subsequently served on the Staff, including time as Commandant at Irene and as Chief Censor at Cape Town. For his services in the Boer war he was awarded the D.S.O. and mentioned in despatches twice (London Gazettes 8 February 1901 and 10 September 1901 refer), the former distinction being presented to him by the King in December 1902.Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment from 1906 to 1910, Walter returned to India in the latter year as a substantive Colonel and A.A.G. at Headquarters, and was promoted to Tenporary Brigadier-General in September 1913. During the Great War he remained employed in India, serving as Adjutant-General 1915-17 and as a Major-General in Northern Command from early 1917, and was awarded the C.B. and C.S.I., in addition to another "mention" (London Gazette 18 May 1918 refers). He died in New Alresford, Hampshire in August 1951, aged 90 years. (BAG255)
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