The superb Great War Egypt and Palestine 1917 to 1918 Suicide Brigade officer’s Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross and Egyptian Order of the Nile 4th Class group awarded to Acting Major and later Honorary Brigadier Sir Alexander H. Killick, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., South Lancashire Regiment, attached 10th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, formerly East Surrey Regiment, and later East Yorkshire Regiment. A pupil of Dulwich College, where he was editor of the ‘Alleynian’, he represented Surrey in the Rugby XV’s during 1913 to 1914 whilst also at Exeter College, Oxford. Present out on the Western Front from February 1916, he became 2nd-in-command of the 10th Machine Gun Battalion in Egypt and Palestine, and briefly commanding it in 1918 to 1919. Awarded the Military Cross in June 1918, and the Distinguished Service Order in June 1919, he was also twice Mentioned in Despatches, and gained the Egyptian Order of the Nile 4th Class in January 1920, this latter possibly for his work in the Black Sea region and Turkey when a Staff Officer during the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1919. Having left the army, he became Secretary of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors from 1932 through to 1959, being Knighted for his services in January 1956, having also in the meantime been recalled during the Second World War, and appointed a CBE in January 1944 for his work as a Military Secretary to the Army Council with the rank of Colonel. He was made an honorary Brigadier in 1945. According to a family source, whilst Military Secretary to the Army Council, Killick, together with his civilian counterpart, John Newling, smashed up Hitler’s pink and white marble desk at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on 11th Sept 1945. A piece of the desk, liberated by Killick, is now held in the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.
Group of 5: Distinguished Service Order, D.S.O., GVR cypher, silver-gilt and enamels, complete with top bar, this amended to facilitate mounting; Military Cross, GVR cypher; British War Medal and Victory Medal with Mention in Despatches Oakleaf; (MAJOR A.H. KILLICK.); Egypt - Order of the Nile, Officer 4th Class with Rosette on ribbon, silver and enamel. Mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: first with only very slight loss to enamel on wreath, overall Good Very Fine.
Alexander Hebert Killick was born on 10th February 1894 in Rochester, Kent, and was educated at Dulwich College, where he played for the rugby first XV between 1910 to 1913, and the cricket 1st XI in 1913, and was the editor of the ‘Alleynian’ in 1912 and 1913. Having left the school in July 1913 he played for a year between 1931 and 1914 at county level with the Surrey Rugby XV’s, and having gained a scholarship to Oxford University, and continued his studies at Exeter College during 1913 to 1914, and was there on the outbreak of the war, as a result of which he did not complete his degree until 1920 when he gained a Bachelor of Arts. Whilst at Oxford pre-war, he had been a member of the Officer Training Corps, and as such was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Infantry on 8th October 1914.
Killick was promoted to temporary Lieutenant with the 10th Service Battalion, East Surrey Regiment on 6th December 1914, and was then station at Dover, as a part of the 95th Brigade in the 32nd Division. On 10th April 1915 his battalion was retitled to the 10th Reserve Battalion, and in May 1915 it moved to Purfleet. Killick transferred to the South Lancashire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 8th July 1915, and saw service out on the Western Front from 9th February 1916, when attached to the Machine Gun Corps. Present out there at the time of the Battle of the Somme, he was promoted to temporary Lieutenant again on 2nd July 1916, and was then made an Acting Captain on 30th August 1916, whilst serving as second-in-command of a Machine Gun Company. Killick was confirmed in his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant on 1st July 1917, with seniority back dated to 2nd July 1916. On 9th November 1917 he was promoted to temporary Captain, and on 19th April 1918 he was promoted to acting Major whilst second in command of the 10th Machine Gun Battalion, a unit of the 10th Irish Division which was then on service in Egypt and Palestine. The 10th Division ha moved form Salonica to Egypt in September 1917 and fought in the Third Battle of Gaza in November 1917, and then saw further operations in Palestine through to the end of the war with Turkey on 31st October 1918.
Killick was serving as an Acting Major with the 10th Machine Gun Battalion in Palestine when he was awarded the Military Cross in the King’s Birthday Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 3rd June 1918, and having been appointed to Acting Lieutenant Colonel whilst in command of the 10th Machine Gun Battalion at Cairo in Egypt from 25th December 1918 through to 31st January 1919, was twice awarded a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in Palestine, the first time in the London Gazette for 22nd January 1919, and the second time in the London Gazette for 5th June 1919, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order in the King’s Birthday Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 3rd June 1919.
Having relinquished his position acting in command of the battalion, he reverted to 2nd-in-command, and on relinquished this position, also relinquished the rank of Acting Major on 6th June 1919, on which date, as a Lieutenant and Acting Captain, appointed a General Staff Officer 3rd Grade, but continued to see active service in the Middle East. Killick relinquished this appointment on 13th October 1919, but once again resumed this appointment with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force on 22nd December 1919, and transferred out of the Machine Gun Corps at this time, he having transferred into the East Yorkshire Regiment on 21st December 1919. Around this time, Killick saw service in the Black Sea region during the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War, and also saw service in Turkey. Killick was awarded the Egyptian Order of the Nile 4th Class Officer Grade in the London Gazette for 19th January 1920.
Killick had returned home and at this stage, graduated from Oxford University, completing his pre-war degree. Killick married Mary Catherine on 31st December 1920, she being the daughter of Ira Wentzel of Bellwood, Pennsylvania, United States of America. Killick was still a serving member of the army, and was promoted to Captain on 28th May 1921, and appointed a Brigade Major on 2nd September 1921. At this time he was on service with the Home Forces, and was then appointed to Adjutant of the Birmingham and Bristol University Officer Training Corps. Killick relinquished his position as Adjutant with the Officer Training Corps on 21st January 1926. Remaining in the military, he was against appointed a General Staff Officer 3rd Grade with the War Office on 4th February 1929, being seconded for this service from the East Yorkshire Regiment to the Staff. On 1st October 1930 he was promoted to Brevet Major on his being appointed Brigade Major of the 2nd Infantry Brigade and he then transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers in the rank of Major on 8th October 1932, with seniority back dated to 23rd August 1931. Killick then became Secretary of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in 1932, and would hold this position continuously through to 1959, for which he was eventually Knighted.
In the meantime, with the outbreak of the Second World War, Killick was brought out of retirement, and held the rank of Major and War Substantive Lieutenant Colonel and temporary Colonel (No.10245) with the East Yorkshire Regiment, and is believed to have served as the Military Secretary to the Army Council, being appointed a Commander of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E., in the New Years Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 1st January 1944. Having exceeded the age limit, he ceased to belong to the Reserve of Officers on 18th November 1945, and was granted the honorary rank of Brigadier. Little is known of his Second World War service, but in the collection of the Imperial War Museum is housed a ‘pyramid-shaped piece of varnished pink and white marble’ this mounted on a plinth with the inscription, ‘Part of Hitler’s Desk liberated in the Reich Chancellery Berlin 11th Sept 1945’. The piece of marble was sold to the museum by Killick’s son-in-law, who recorded that his father was Military Secretary to the Army Council, and that Killick and his civilian counterpart, one John Newling, smashed up Hitler’s desk, Killick having then kept this small piece as a souvenir.
Having fully retired from the army, Killick continued in his work as the Secretary of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors through to his retirement in 1959, and during this period was Knighted with the award of a Knight’s Bachelor Badge in the New Years Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 2nd January 1956. His insignia was presented to him in an investiture held by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 7th February 1956.
On his retirement from the position of Secretary of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in March 1959, Killick was unanimously elected an Honorary Member of the Institution, he having ‘served the Institution with great distinction, loyalty, and unfailing courtesy for 27 years during which there was amazing growth in membership and advancement of status of the Institution. In testimonial he was presented an illuminated and framed record of the Council’s resolution of great appreciation for distinguished services. Killick latterly lived in Birchington, Kent, and died on 4th February 1975.