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54th Sikhs - Presentation Matchbox Holder, 1916
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54th Sikhs - Presentation Matchbox Holder, 1916

Measurements: 6.2cm (2.4in) x 4cm (1.6in) x 2cm (0.8in)

£460

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Silver. Of rectangular form, a matchbox holder vesta case with corner hinge opening, inscribed ‘Capt. S.R. Shirley M.C. / 54th Sikhs I.A. / from J.L.J. Clarke / 52nd Inf. Bde / March - November /  1916’. Impressed ‘Dunhill’s Design’ and 'Rd 642237' dating the design to 1916. Retailer’s mark of ‘J.E. Vickery 177 to 183 Regent St., W’. Maker’s mark of Sampson Mordan & Co. Hallmarked London 1916.
 
Brigadier Sewallis Robert Shirley, M.C., (1885-1969) was great great grandson of Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers, and the eldest son of the Rev. W. Shirley of Bursledon Rectory, Hampshire. He was educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Indian Army on 5 August 1905 joining the 54th Sikhs, ‘Piffers’ He served with distinction on frontier operations in February 1908, being mentioned in despatches for gallantry in the Bazar Valley Campaign against the Mohmands. He became Adjutant of the 54th Sikhs in 1911 and penned the ‘History of the 54th Sikhs, Frontier Force, Previously Designated 4th Sikhs, Punjab Frontier Force 1846 to 1914’. While the 54th Sikhs remained deployed on the North West Frontier of India for much of the First World War, Shirley served on the Western Front, being twice mentioned in despatches, and being awarded the Military Cross (see Gen. Sir James Willcocks ‘With the Indians in France’). In 1929 he was appointed to the command of the 4/12th Frontier Force Regiment and led it on operations on the North West Frontier in 1930. He served latterly as Temporary Brigadier, and following retirement was employed with the Home Office and Criminal Investigation Department between 1938-39. He was Regional Officer for Civil Defence,1940-41, and was with the Admiralty Small Vessels Pool between 1942-44. He was with the Royal Navy Minewatching Service in 1951.
 
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