The very fine Great War Western Front Havre Base Depot Commander’s Officer of the Order of the British Empire, Reconquest of the Sudan 1898, and Boer War Defence of Ladysmith Officer’s group awarded to Lieutenant Colonel G.B. Byrne, Rifle Brigade. Byrne, formerly a militia officer with the 3rd Militia Battalion, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, was the son of Major General Thomas Edmond Byrne, and was then commissioned into the regulars in July 1895. He saw active service with the 2nd Battalion during the reconquest of the Sudan and was present in action at the Battle of Omdurman and the entry into Khartoum on 3rd September 1898. During the Boer War he saw active service in Natal and was in action at Lombard’s Kop before taking part in the defence of Ladysmith, during which he was present in the sortie of 10th December 1899 and the action of 6th January 1900. After the lifting of the siege of Ladysmith in February 1900. He saw further operations in Natal and the Transvaal including the actions at Laing’s Nek and Belfast. Recalled for the Great War, he went on to see active service out on the Western Front as the Infantry Base Depot Commandant at Le Havre, for which he was twice decorated, being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in June 1919, and then awarded a Mention in Despatches in July 1919.
Group of 7: The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Officer, O.B.E., 1st type, Military Division. hallmarks for London with date letter ‘d’ for 1919; Queen’s Sudan Medal 1896-1898; (LT. G.B. BYRNE, 2/R.BDE:); Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, 3 Clasps: Defence of Ladysmith, Laing’s Nek, Belfast; (CAPT: G.B. BYRNE. RIFLE BDE.); King’s South Africa Medal 1901-1902, 2 Clasps: South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902; (CAPT. G.B. BYRNE. RIF. BDE.); British War Medal and Victory Medal with Mention in Despatches Oakleaf; (LT.COL. G.B. BYRNE.); Khedive’s Sudan Medal 1896-1908, 1 Clasp: Khartoum, regimentally engraved naming; (LT. G.B. BYRNE. 2/R. BDE.), mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: light contact wear, some toning, overall about Good Very Fine.
Together with the following:
The recipient’s matching miniature medal group, mounted swing style as worn.
A letter of credit from Messrs. Holt & Co., for payment received in the name of Lieutenant A. Byrne, dated 21st March 1900, as issued to his brother, who was shortly afterwards killed in action during the Boer War.
Cutting concerning the National Hunt Committee, concerning the death of Major General T.E. Byrne.
Gerald Bertram Byrne was born on 10th November 1873 in Aldershot, Hampshire, the son of Major General Thomas Edmond Byrne, and his wife Eliza Petronila Larios-Y-Tashara, his younger brother Alfonso Byrne being born in April 1875. After being educated privately, he was commissioned into the British Army for service initially with the Militia as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Militia Battalion, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment on 1st March 1893, and having been promoted to Lieutenant on 27th February 1895, was then commissioned into the Regular Army as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Rifle Brigade on 17th July 1895, and promoted to Lieutenant on 23rd October 1897.
Byrne saw service with the 2nd Battalion during the reconquest of the Sudan in 1898, and was present in action at the Battle of Omdurman and the entry into Khartoum on 3rd September 1898. In the aftermath of the operations in the Sudan, Byrne then moved with the 2nd Battalion to Crete to assist in the suppression of the Cretan Revolt, but with the outbreak of the Boer War was then went to South Africa, and took part in the operations in the Natal including the action at Lombard’s Kop before taking part in the defence of Ladysmith, during which he was present in the sortie of 10th December 1899 and the action of 6th January 1900. After the lifting of the siege of Ladysmith in February 1900, Byrne went on to participate in the operations in Natal from March to June 1900, including the action at Laing’s Nek on 6th to 9th June 1900, the operations in the Transvaal east of Pretoria from July to 29th November 1900, including the actions at Belfast on 26th and 27th August, and Lydenberg on 5th to 8th September. He was ultimately present on operations in the Transvaal from 30th November 1900 through to the 31st May 1902 and with cessation of hostilities.
During the conflict, Byrne had been promoted to Captain on 18th March 1901, and his younger brother had died at Bloemfontein on 10th June 1900. Byrne saw service in Egypt from 26th September 1902 through to 21st November 1905, and then in India from 22nd November 1905 through to 31st March 1906, after which he was stationed in Winchester, Hampshire. Byrne remained a Captain through to his retirement on 23rd September 1911, and then assumed the rank of Captain with the Special Reserve of Officers seeing service with the 5th Battalion, Rifle Brigade from 20th May 1912.
In the meantime he had married Aileen Myrtle Whitaker on 10th December 1906 at Palermo, Sicily, with whom he had issue of two sons, one in 1907 and another in 1915, by which time he was living with his family at St George Hannover Square, Belgravia, London.
With the outbreak of the Great War he once again took up an active commission, and as a Major, saw service out on the Western Front from 16th March 1918 as the Commandant of the General Infantry Base Depot at Le Havre. It was this valuable service in connection with military operations in France that Byrne was appointed an Officer of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the London Gazette for 5th June 1919, and additionally awarded a Mention in Despatches in the London Gazette for 9th July 1919. Having been ultimately promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 13th April 1920, he reverted to the Reserve of Officers, and was removed from that list on attaining the age limit on 10th November 1928. His campaign medals were sent to him in January 1922 when he was shown as living at King’s Worthy in Hampshire. Byrne who went on to live at Geln House, Sarisbury Green, died on 3rd December 1940 when over in the United States of America at Bethesda, Maryland.