The very good Great War Western Front Hallamshire Battalion Transport Officer’s September 1918 Military Cross and Second World War Essex Home Guard Officer’s June 1942 Order of the British Empire group awarded to Captain J.E. Penny, 7th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, Territorial Force, attached 2nd/4th Hallamshire Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, formerly a Private with the 10th Royal Hussars and the 18th Queen Mary’s Own Hussars, who was present with the 10th Hussars out on the Western Front from May to December 1915, and with the 18th Hussars out there from September 1916 to March 1917, before being commissioned into the West Riding Regiment and then present out on the front attached to the 2nd/4th Hallamshire’s from December 1917 when employed as both a regimental officer, and later as a Transport Officer. It was whilst he was serving as the Battalion Transport Officer when in action at Ribecourt on 27th September 1918 and in front of Marcoing on 28thv to 29th September that Penny won the Military Cross, being also awarded a Mention in Despatches. ‘On September 27th, 1918, in front of Ribecourt he conducted a reconnaissance, and subsequently brought up his transport under heavy enemy shell fire and gas. It was owing to his perseverance and indifference to danger that the transport was enabled to reach battalion headquarters without casualty. Again, on September 28/29th, in front of Marcoing, he made a reconnaissance of the route under heavy enemy shell fire, and delivered his rations and ammunition to battalion and company headquarters. His conduct throughout operations greatly aided the success of the battalion.’ Recommissioned into the Essex Home Guard during the Second World War, he served in the Wanstead area, and was appointed a Member of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in June 1942.
Group of 6: The Most Excellent Order of British Empire, Member, M.B.E., 2nd type, Military Division; Military Cross, GVR GRI cypher; 1914-1915 Star; (14723 PTE. J.E. PENNY. 10TH. HRS.); British War Medal and Victory Medal with Mention in Despatches Oakleaf; (2.LIEUT. J.E. PENNY.); Defence Medal 1939-1945.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Together with the following:
The recipient’s original Mention in Despatches Award Certificate, issued to: ‘West Riding Regt. Lieut. J.E. Penny, M.C. 2/4th Bn., Y. & L. Regt. (T.F.)’, dated 8th November 1918.
62nd West Riding Division Officer’s Report for an officer recommended for Command and Staff Appointments, issued in the name of ‘Lieut. J.E. Penny’ as the Transport Officer of 2/4 York and Lancaster, recommending him for promotion to Captain in the Territorial Force.
A newspaper cutting of a published letter from Penny sent to the Editor of the “Staffordshire Sentinel”, and written by Penny when he was serving as a Private in the 10th Royal Hussars, dated 26th February 1916, discussing his treatment at the North Staffordshire Infirmary.
John Edgar Penny, known as Jack, was born on 11th October 1891 in Hamstead, London, and having worked as a commercial traveller and interpreter (he was according to a report made in November 1918 fluent in both French and Spanish, and slightly proficient in Italian) then with the outbreak of the Great War he attested for service with the British Army at London on 21st August 1914, joining as a Private (No.14723) the Southern Command Cavalry Depot. Posted to the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment on 27th August 1914, he was then posted to the 10th Royal Hussars on 18th May 1915 from which date he saw service out on the Western Front.
Having contracted rheumatic fever, he was admitted to the 4th Stationary Hospital at St Omer on 5th October 1915, but returned to duty on 18th October, before being once again hospitalised as a result of cystitis, being admitted to the 6th General Hospital at Rouen on 17th November 1915, from when he was sent home on 8th December 1915, and admitted for treatment with the North Staffordshire Infirmary at Stoke-on-Trent. Whilst in this hospital he wrote a letter to the Editor of the “Staffordshire Sentinel” on 26th February 1916 in which he wrote: ‘in conjunction with a good many other wounded soldiers who have had the good fortune to be treated here at the Infirmary, I have often felt that I should like to express through the valuable columns of your paper the gratitude of the soldiers for the many kindnesses shown them, not only by the staff of this institution, but by all the people of the Potteries. We feel that we could not have had a more lucky day than when we arrived in Stoke. There are a good many of us who will be returning before long to one or other of the scenes of action, and we can assure the people of the Potteries that we shall carry with us very pleasant memories of their hospitality during our stay here, and whatever we may have to meet on our return in the way of adventures we shall feel that it is every but worth while fighting for such people at home.’
Posted back to the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment on 10th May 1916, Penny was then posted back out to the Western Front from 8th September 1916, and then joined the 18th Queen Mary’s Own Hussars in the field on 29th September 1916. Penny was hospitalised with a bladder infection from 12th January to 15th February 1917, before rejoining his regiment and being appointed to unpaid Lance Corporal on 24th February 1917. He was then posted homed from 21st March 1917 when he was posted to the 5th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, and having been put forward for a commission, was then posted to No.17 Officer Cadet Battalion at Kennel Park near Rhyl. Penny was then discharged to a commission in the Territorial Force as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 7th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment on 25th September 1917. Penny was married to Grace Emily Berry in December 1917 in Wanstead, Essex, to where he moved post-war.
In the meantime as an officer with the 7th West Riding Regiment, he saw home service till posted out to the Western Front from 26th December 1917, when seeing attached service with the 2nd/4th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, being employed as both a regimental officer, and later as a Transport Officer. It was whilst he was serving as the Battalion Transport Officer when in action at Ribecourt on 27th September 1918 and in front of Marcoing on 28thv to 29th September that Penny won the Military Cross, his award being announced in the London Gazette for 15th February 1919, with the citation published in the London Gazette for 30th July 1919, he having previous to this been awarded a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in the London Gazette for 28th December 1918.
The citation reads as follows: ‘On September 27th, 1918, in front of Ribecourt he conducted a reconnaissance, and subsequently brought up his transport under heavy enemy shell fire and gas. It was owing to his perseverance and indifference to danger that the transport was enabled to reach battalion headquarters without casualty. Again, on September 28/29th, in front of Marcoing, he made a reconnaissance of the route under heavy enemy shell fire, and delivered his rations and ammunition to battalion and company headquarters. His conduct throughout operations greatly aided the success of the battalion.’
As of 5th January 1919 Penny was recommended for promotion to Captain, the officer making the recommendation for his promotion, remarking: ‘A very good officer of ability and a very fair professional knowledge, a good disciplinarian and leader, and has done exceedingly well in the field. He possesses the capacity and tact for training, and has been very efficient as Transport Officer. I consider him suitable for a Staff Appointment and can recommend him for promotion to Captain with Territorial Force.’
Promoted to Lieutenant on 26th March 1919, he claimed his campaign medals in November 1919, when residing at Snaresbrook, Essex, and was then gazetted as a Captain on 12th December 1921, Penny was then back serving with the 7th Battalion, West Riding Regiment.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Penny was once again granted a commission as a Captain with the Essex Home Guard, service for which he was appointed a Member of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Birthday Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 11th June 1942. At the time of his service with the Home Guard he was still residing in Wanstead, however he latterly moved to King’s Lynn in Norfolk where he died in March 1971.