Great War MC Group of 4 awarded to Captain Edward Burnett
A fine Great War MC Group of 4 awarded to Captain Edward Burnett, 3rd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, wounded by a rifle grenade whilst in action at Gibson’s Crater, and later awarded the Military Cross for bravery whilst on secondment with the 11th Battalion Royal Tank Corps during the actions at Villers-Outreaux, Selle, and the ‘moonlight’ attack near Mormal Forest, comprising: Military Cross, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star (2 Lieut E P S Burnett. S. Staff. R.); British War and Victory medals (Capt. E. P. S. Burnett); medals swing-mounted with reverse pin by Spink & Son Ltd, King Street, contained within an elegant glass-fronted hardwood box with purple velvet interior and reverse stand, presumably from the same firm.
Medals a little roughly polished, otherwise good very fine.
(4) MC London Gazette 10th December, 1919. Edward Percival Sevier Burnett was born c. 1894 in Mottram, near Manchester, the son of one William Edward Sevier Burnett Esq. – himself a retired Brigade-Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel with the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. Edward Burnett was educated at Harrow School, which he joined in 1908, and at the outbreak of war he joined the Harrow Officer Training Corps, from which he received his first commission on the 1st of November 1914 as 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, attached to the 2nd South Staffordshires.
Having been promoted to the rank of Captain (temp) by late October 1915, he was wounded during the fight for Gibson’s crater on the morning of the 24th of November 1915 after being hurt by an exploding rifle grenade – just a few hours before the detonation of an enemy mine which buried the entire garrison with the exception of just two men. This position was quickly lost, but just as swiftly recaptured. Presumably having recovered from his wounds, he was gazetted as Acting Captain on the 20th of July 1917, and was later transferred to the fledgling Tank Corps, being attached to the 11th Battalion, part of the 3rd Tank Brigade, using Mark V Tanks.
It was whilst in active service with this battalion that Captain Burnett was awarded the Military Cross. His full citation reads: ‘October 8th Villers-Outreaux. This section commander effected liaison with the infantry when they seemed hesitating to follow the tanks. By his personal direction on that occasion the formidable series of trenches and defences were captured at small cost to the infantry. His powers of courage, leadership, and cheerfulness inspired all the crews of his section, and were the means of bringing the infantry to their objectives at a minimum of cost. He was continually passing from tanks to infantry and infantry to tanks, often under intense machine gun and shellfire, with the utmost unconcern.
He performed his duties in the same fearless and untiring manner in the actions of Oct 21 at Selle River and Oct 23 near (Mormal) Forest, and by his example inspired his section who were much exhausted by the prolonged fighting, and continual repairs on the much worn tanks.’ During the last of these actions mentioned in the above citation, the ‘moonlight’ attack at Mormal Forest on the 23rd of October, 1918, was a real success, creating an Allied breakthrough, and capturing some 3,000 prisoners.
Additional to his brave WWI service, he is known to have served with the RASC during WWII as a Captain. Genealogical research indicates that Edward Burnett died in September 1953, in Taunton, Somerset, and his correspondence address after WWI as mentioned in his MIC was 48 Gloucester House, Charing Cross, London. Sold with copy MIC, copy London Gazette MC citation & other London Gazette information, entry in the Harrow Register, typed copy extract taken from the War Diary of the 2nd South Staffordshire regiment concerning Edward Burnett’s wounding in action, and several copy extracts concerning the actions of the 11th Battalion Tank Corps.