The extremely rare, and only available officer's Lincolnshire Regimental Medal for Gallantry in Ireland 1920-1921 awarded to 2nd Lieutenant L. Morley-Turner, 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment

The extremely rare, and only available officer's Lincolnshire Regimental Medal for Gallantry in Ireland 1920-1921 awarded to 2nd Lieutenant L. Morley-Turner, 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, who was decorated for his gallantry during an ambush at Goldengarden Farm, Tipperary, when he was very seriously wounded in the head and stomach, and it was thought very unlikely that he would survive. This incident led to some unfortunate reprisals by the men of his regiment.  

1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment Regimental Medal for Gallantry in Ireland 1920-1921, silver, the obverse bearing the regimental badge, motto and battle honours of the 10th Regiment - the Lincolnshire Regiment, the reverse engraved; (2ND: LIEUT: L. MORLEY-TURNER - FOR GALLANT CONDUCT - IN IRELAND 29TH SEPT: 1920), mounted loose style as worn on red silk ribbon, with a silver hallmarked top brooch bar, and housed in a case, though whether this is the original case of just a jewellers case is uncertain but it is certainly old.

Condition: Good Very Fine.  

L. Morley-Turner was a native of Newlands, Cape Province, South Africa, and does not appear to have served during the Great War. Whilst on active service as a 2nd Lieutenant with the1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment in Ireland during the Irish War of Independence of 1920 to 1921 he was deployed with his Battalion in various areas, as well as taking the opportunity to marry Oounah Keating whilst on service in Ireland. It was during an attempted arrest of a men wanted for murder  that he and his men were ambushed at Goldengarden Farm. He and his men failed to find the man, the farmers son, who they were there to arrest, he being wanted by the police for a charge of being concerned in the murder at Culoghoodeg. Morley-Turner was very seriously wounded on 29th September 1920 during this operation, being dangerously wounded in the head and stomach, and it was thought very unlikely that he would survive. For his gallantry on this occasion, Morley-Turner was awarded one of the rare  Regimental Medal for Gallantry in Ireland 1920-1921, this being one of 12 awards of this medal recorded. Sadly partly as a result of this incident, on 31st December 1920, troops from the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment went on the rampage in Tipperary, burning farms and houses in the revenge for the ambush. As a result several of the soldiers received 18 month imprisonment sentences.

The officers who oversaw this unfortunately incident, Lieutent L.B. Shepperd Folker, was also the recipient of the Regimental Medal for Gallantry in Ireland 1920-1921, his being as a result confiscated, he was the only other officer to Morley-Turner to have received the award, and Shepperd Folker's medal not resides in the National Library of Ireland.       

In a report written by the Battalion commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel R.H.G. Wilson, the following is written about the incident on 29th September 1920 in Ireland.

'At Tipperary on the afternoon of the 29th September 1920 at or about 1500 hours I was shown a telegram from the Police at Dundrum stating that a patrol of my Regiment had been ambushed at Coolbaun and the officer in command, Lieutenant Morley-Turner, dangerously wounded in the head and stomach. In due course he was brought into Headquarters and from him, as he was still conscious, I learnt the particulars, viz - that he had gone to the farm of Mr Oarsh at Goldengarden for the purpose of arresting his son Thomas, who was wanted by the police for a charge of being concerned in the murder at Culoghoodeg. This man had been reported as seen working in his father's farm, hence the visit.

Lieutenant Morley-Turner told me that he found no one on the farm except women, and, having searched it and received a certificate to the effect that he had done no damage, he turned away and, adopting usual precautions, moved homewards. About 150 yards from the farm he was fired upon by the ambush party and wounded. From local information gained later though impossible of verification as no faces could be seen the normal occupants and workmen of the farm provided the ambush. Lieutenant Morley-Turner is so dangerously wounded that even an operation is impossible and though, at the moment of giving this evidence, he is alive his recovery has been despaired of and very doubtful. He is a particularly popular officer with the men on account of his skill at games etc and his personality and he was within two days of repatriation to South Africa, giving up the regiment much against his will, to go and help his people, being an only son.

From the moment the Battalion heard of this outrage, feelings ran high. This is the third officer shot down during the last three months in and around this particular district, and only in one case, a cold blooded attempt by one person to shoot an officer at close quarters in the head, has the assailant been secured. No reprisal or bad discipline has been done or shown by the men under this provocation, but this event seemed likely to prove too much for their self restraint. On Friday afternoon (pay day) I was warned that the Officer's Company were giving voice to their feelings (which were running high) and uttering certain threats. I immediately had the Company paraded in the gymnasium, collecting in all about 70, and had a talk to them. It was obvious that they were very uneasy and unsettled. Nothing could be shown to them to show that the outrages on previous officers had been adjusted and even in the case of the would be murderer arrested the term of imprisonment he was likely to get from a Court Martial did not seem adequate to them, for murder in cold blood. I therefore sized up the situation as follows. If I was unable to show them that something would be done and done promptly and allowed to be done by them as the Company concerned, I would be prepared for a reprisal of their own on the town.

As the town had nothing directly to do with the affair and indeed is and has been very well disposed, as Irish towns go, and my men are popular in it, such an affair would have been deplorable in the extreme and added one more instance of troops getting out of control and causing senseless and ill directed damage against innocent people and another bleak spot on the map. The situation admitted of no delay for advise or report to higher authority, it had clearly gone too far for that. Accordingly I told them straight to put their ideas of reprisals and revenge to one side and leave it to me to see that such action as I could take would be taken in the right locality and against the right individual. To that they agreed. I would point out that it is quite beside the point to treat this as a matter of bad discipline. The discipline and behaviour of my men, since this Regiment has been reformed, has been shown on more than one occasion, notably the defence and saving of the mails near Cork. No outrage or outbreak has yet been recorded against us though my men have been sorely tried, and it has proved a delicate matter to those responsible to curb passion raised as a result.

The recent case of General Lucas and two of his escort shot dead and brought in to my Barracks, three cases of officers of ours shot down (not doing raids when it might be expected but doing ordinary patrol work) have all brought things slowly up to boiling point and this last case was the climax. I therefore chose a picked party of men who could be trusted not to go to excess, from this Company and detailed one of their own Officers to command it. His orders were to remove the inhabitants and destroy the farm. The occupant was a well known and bitter Sinn Feiner. Two of his sons are wanted for murder and work on the farm when they got the opportunity, and had recently been reported there. The operation was carried out as a Military operation and as punishment, not as mere blind reprisal…