This medal, strictly speaking, is a non-German award, originating with the Fascist Italians. It was awarded to all of those Axis troops who served in the North African campaign. While it was not authorised for official wear by the German Wehrmacht, this particular example was issued by the post 1957 West German Government and omits the fascii and swastika.
Archive for North Africa
This WW2 and prior group of 6 belonged to 6342630 Private L.Sage Royal West Kent Regiment. It consists of the 1939-1945 Star, the Africa Star, the France & Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the 1939-1945 Victory Medal and the GSM (GVI) with the 1936-1939 Palestine Bar. According to the googles the RWK 2nd Battalion was deployed to Palestine in 1938 to 1939 to counter Arab unrest.
Off to the British Archives and I find an L.Sage from 2nd Battalion RWK who has an entitlement to that Palestine Bar. That’s my man! 2nd Battalion spent a fair bit of time acting as part of the Malta Garrison. Then one by one each company of 2nd Battalion (B Company) was involved in the fracas of the Dodecanese Campaign in 1943 and all were captured or killed on the island of Leros. Since Private Sage has the F&G Star he must have escaped as he is not on the POW lists. Then more magical googling and finally I find him, Leslie Cyril Sage. Transferred to the Dorsetshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, at this time based in Malta.
At this point 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was returned to England and became part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. Leslie would have landed on D-Day on Sword Beach and been involved in the capture of Le Hamel and Arromanches. The battalion was in constant action until the 17th of July when it was pulled out to rest. It was returned to the line for the 30th July battle for Villers-Bocage. During the rest of August Leslie would have been part of the breakout and the drive through Belgium and into Holland.
On the 17th September 1944 the 1st Battalion, still under command of the Guards Armoured Brigade, started the attack towards Eindhoven, which was the attack designed to relieve the British and Polish paratroops at Arnhem, who had dropped as part of operation “Market Garden”. The 1st Battalion, as part of 231 Infantry Brigade, was charged with defending the “Corridor” formed by the armoured advance. In October the 1st Battalion moved up to Nijmegen and moved onto “The Island”, the bridgehead over the river Waal but behind the river Lek.
On the day of Leslie’s death, 4th October 1944, the 1st Battalion attacked north of Bemmel, and expanded the bridgehead up to the Wettering Canal. This was the last battle of this battalion as it was withdrawn from the line and returned to the UK as a training cadre.
Poor unlucky bastard.
This is a pretty unassuming group to an Army Medical Corps Private 7358394 H Strow. He has the 1939-1945 Star, the North Africa Star, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal, the 1939-1945 War Medal and the Efficiency Medal (GVI) with Territorial Bar. The Efficiency Medal was awarded with 12 years of service, with war service counting for double. It appears that Strow must have stayed on in the Territorial Army after the conclusion of hostilities in 1945. The RAMC was the last Corps to demob so this guy would not have got out until some time in 1946.
Again, pretty boring but these WW2 groups are so often anonymous so when you get one you try to make sure it has a GSM, EM or LSGC on it so you have the owners name and number.
This group belonged to an officer in the British Army working in the Sudan and Eritrean theatre against the Italians. Interestingly enough his rank on the MBE recommendation is given as “Bimbashi” (from Turkish: Binbaşı, “chief of a thousand”) which is a major in the Turkish army, the term originated in the Ottoman army. The title was also used for a major in the Khedivial Egyptian army as Bimbashi (1805–1953). It was also used by the Serbian revolutionaries as Bimbaša (Serbian Cyrillic: Бимбаша) in 1804-1817. So I am guessing the equivalent was Major Andrew Cameron Robertson of the Sudan Defence Force.
The recommendation reads “This officer has rendered meritorious service during the last six months having been in entire charge of the M.T. Stores (American type) of all the Imperial forces in the field (Sudan command). With no other officer to assist him and with only a mixed Sudanese and Indian Staff he has earned for his work in this sphere the personal thanks of both Divisional commanders and his services have been of a high order and great value. He was responsible for the uncasing and preparation and equipping and testing and issue of all new and repaired American type vehicles, and the supply of tyres, parts and accessories for their maintenance by units and advanced repair workshops in the field – British and Indian armies, S.D.F. K.A.R. W.A.F. S.African, Free French and Belgian, Ethiopian Patriot forces included.”. It is signed by William Platt, Lieutenant General commanding troops in the Sudan and Eritrea, 14th August 1941.
The group consists of the Military MBE, the 1939-1945 Star, the North Africa Star, the Defence Medal and the 1939-1945 War medal with the device for Mentioned in Dispatches. The MBE was gazetted on the 30th of December 1941.
Robertson was granted as an emergency commission to 2/Lieut on 12th June 1940, having already been commissioned in the Khedive’s Army. This was gazetted on 5th January 1943. His service number was 254419.
The Star was awarded for a minimum one day service in an operational area of North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943.
The whole of the area between the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar is included, together with Malta, Abyssinia, Kenya, Sudan, The Solmalilands and Eritrea. The areas not bordering the Mediterranean only qualified for the Africa Star from 10 June 1940 to 27 November 1941.
Members of the Australian Imperial Force qualified for the Star for service in Syria from 8 June 1941 and 11 July 1941.
This example has no bar.
This arm band, was issued to all members of Panzer-Armee Afrika or the ‘Afrika-Korps’. This makes it a unit entitlement rather than a campaign distinction like the “Afrika” ärmelstreifen I have listed below somewhere. It was work on the right sleeve rather than the left sleeve like the campaign ones.
This cuff title, “Afrika”, was instituted in on 15 January 1943 as a replacement for the AFRIKAKORPS cuff title. This was intended as a campaign honor, making the cuff title the equivalent of a campaign medal. The AFRIKA cuff title was awarded for at least siz months of service in North Afrika. These were also worn on the left sleeve of the service and dress uniforms. These were extremely fine quality cuff titles, hand embroidered on soft Khaki wool.