Unique Boer War, World War I DSO group to RNAS Armoured Car Squadron

The Boer War, WWI Distinguished Service Order, 1914 Star trio and 3 Russian awards group to Major Wells-Hood was sold in our auction held on Wednesday 17th June 2009 and realised £70,150, including the buyer’s premium, after fierce bidding on 4 phone lines, including calls from Hungary and Belarus.

Private William Wells Hood served with the 66th Company Yorkshire Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War in South Africa and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with Cape Colony, Transvaal and Wittebergen clasps and also the 66th Company Yorkshire Imperial Yeomanry Medal.

Before the start of World War I he had obtained a commission in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and was a Sub Lieutenant in 1914 in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). It was the RNAS who raised the first British Armoured Car Squadrons in WWI with 6 squadrons of 12 vehicles each.

The London Gazette, dated 2nd May 1916, announced the award of The Order of St Anne Third Class to Lieutenant-Commander William Wells-Hood by His Majesty the Emperor of Russia in recognition of valuable services rendered. The London Gazette, dated 11th August 1917, announced the award Mention in Dispatches.

The award of his Distinguished Service Order was announced in the London Gazette, dated 17th May 1918 - “This officer joined the Armoured Cars at the outset of war, and served with them in Belgium, South-West Africa, France, the Caucasus, Armenia, the Dobrudja, and Galicia. Throughout the Galician retreat he fought every day and night, under every sort of difficulty, always cheerful and ready, and inflicted very heavy casualties on the enemy. His last fights round Gusiatyn were very severe, and drew the praise of the Russian General in command. In the last day’s fight he brought down an enemy aeroplane.”

He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Motor) as a temporary major on 1st June 1918, with seniority backdated to 3rd April 1916. He finally relinquished his commission on 17th December 1920 and retained the rank of major.

The group was sold on behalf of the family, who live locally and has never before been on the market.

The full medal details are WWI KGV Distinguished Service Order, 1899 QSA 3 clasps Cape Colony, Transvaal, Wittebergen, 66th Company Yorkshire Imperial Yeomanry Medal, 1914 star trio and bar with MID oakleaf, Russian Order of St George 4th Class, Order of St Vladimir Medal with Swords, Order of St Anne 3rd Class, WWII Defence Medal and BWM.

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