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SWORDS FOR SALE

1897 Pattern Infantry Officers Sword by Wilkinson dated 1913

Description

A good example of the standard infantry officers’ sword with a very interesting provenance.

The hilt and guard is in good order; the backstrap and pommel have been re-plated at some time, possibly by Wilkinsons in the 1930s prior to Page re-joining the army.

The plated blade is in good clean condition with minimal staining and no pitting. The blade is numbered 43960 for 1913

Provenance:

D.S.O. London Gazette 25 November 1916: ‘For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his company with the greatest courage and initiative. He set a splendid example to his men throughout the operations, and greatly assisted in maintaining the line.’

Geoffrey Foulder Page was born on 23 March 1894, and was educated at Harrow and R.M.C. Sandhurst. After leaving Sandhurst he joined the 2nd Battalion who were then stationed in Dover. After the outbreak of the 1914-18 War he proceeded to France with the 2nd Battalion on 23 August 1914, as Platoon Commander of ‘A’ Company and he soon received his baptism of fire at the Battle of Le Cateau in which the 2nd Battalion fought almost immediately after their arrival in France. During the succeeding months he remained with the battalion in the Retreat from Mons and the Battle of the Aisne, where he was wounded. After leaving hospital he was posted to the newly formed 12 (Service) Battalion in October 1914 and, after training in England, returned to France with them in September 1915.

In November 1915, he moved with the 12th Battalion to Salonika and almost immediately was involved in a period of confused and bitter fighting during the British Army’s withdrawal from Serbia to Greece. On 13 September 1916, he took part with considerable distinction in the action at Machukovo, which was the name given in the official History to an important operation carried out by 55 Infantry Brigade against The Piton des Mitrailleuses and The Dorsale, north of Manchukovo. In this action the12th Battalion carried out a night attack against a strongly held German position which they successfully captured under heavy fire. They held the captured ground, a small exposed ridge, for most of the following day despite being subjected to the concentrated artillery fire of a Division and were finally compelled to make a tactical withdrawal on orders from their Divisional Commander. During this action Captain Page commanded the Advanced Guard and also led the final assault on the enemy position. His personal courage, calmness under fire and powers of leadership throughout this action was an inspiration to the whole Battalion and he was awarded the D.S.O. for his part in the battle.

In the spring of 1917 he took part in the Battle of Doiran, possibly the most famous battle of theMacedonian campaign. Once again he greatly distinguished himself and his qualities of leadership, now fully developed, were very much in evidence. During the Great War in addition to the award of his D.S.O., he was twice mentioned in despatches and was awarded the Order of the White Eagle of Serbia.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, he was appointed Brigade Major of 138 Infantry Brigade and later held a D.A.Q.M.G. appointment. In the spring of 1941 he took over command of the 11th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, at Duns in Scotland prior to sailing from Gourock to Malta in July 1941. On 11th July, he took his new Battalion by sea to Malta. The last part of the journey from Gibraltar was carried out in ships of the Royal Navy and very soon after leaving Gibraltar they were involved in a battle for a Malta convoy. It was one of the most heavily attacked convoys of the war and nine merchantmen, two destroyers and one troopship were sunk. For sixty hours, almost unceasingly, the fusiliers and sailors fought side by side. The Battalion landed at Malta on 25 July 1941, and the same night they experienced the famous attack by “E” Boats on the Grand Harbour and coastal town of Sliema. The siege of Malta was at its height when the Battalion arrived there. The island was a special target for the Luftwaffe and Air raids continued unceasingly for eighteen months, the worst month being April 1942, when over 7,000 tons of bombs were dropped. In spite of these conditions, under Page’s leadership, the morale of the Battalion remained high and won a great reputation for itself on the island.

Page was twice mentioned in despatches during the 1939-45 War, and he finally retired from the army in 1946. He subsequently rendered most valuable service as a Commissioner of the St John Ambulance Brigade in London, and for his work there he was appointed a Knight of the Order of St John. He died on 3 February 1962.

Price: Final sale price withheld.

Catalogue No: ES0092

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