Sale 11007 Lot 165
The C.H., C.B.E., Second War 1943 'Coastal Forces' D.S.C. and Bar Group of Eight to Lieutenant-Commander Sir Peter Markham Scott, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Who Commanded a Flotilla of Steam Gun Boats in the English Channel During the War, was Honoured For His Gallantry at the Actions in the Baie de la Seine, April 1943, and off Cap d'Antifer, September 1943, and was Mentioned in Despatches for the Dieppe Raid, August 1942; A Celebrated Painter, Naturalist, and Olympic Sportsman, He Later Founded the World Wide Fund For Nature and was Knighted For His Services to Conservation
a) The Order of the Companion's of Honour, Member's (C.H.) neck Badge, E.II.R., 68mm including crown suspension x 40mm, silver-gilt (Hallmarks for Birmingham 1978) and enamel, minor enamel damage to motto, in Toye Kenning and Spencer, London, case of issue, with full and miniature width neck ribands
b) The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, 2nd type, Civil Division, Commander's (C.B.E.) neck Badge, 81mm including crown suspension x 64mm, silver-gilt and enamel, in Garrard, London, case of issue, with full and miniature width neck ribands
c) Distinguished Service Cross, G.VI.R., silver (Hallmarks for London 1942), reverse officially dated '1943', with Second Award Bar, reverse officially dated '1943', in Garrard, London, case of issue
d) 1939-1945 Star
e) Atlantic Star, with France and Germany Bar
f) Defence and War Medals, M.I.D. Oakleaf, the Second War Campaign Awards all in card box of issue, named to 'Lt Cdr P.M. Scott- MBE. DSC- RN.' and addressed to 'The New Grounds, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire'
g) Netherlands, Kingdom, Order of the Golden Ark, Commander's neck Badge, 71mm including wreath suspension x 55mm, silver-gilt and enamel, silver marks to reverse, in Royal Mint, Utrecht, case of issue, with neck riband and lapel rosette, extremely fine, with the following related documents &c.:
- Bestowal Document for the C.H., named to Sir Peter Markham Scott, C.B.E., D.S.C., and dated 13.6.1987, contained in a glazed frame
- Copy of the Statutes of the Order of the Companions of Honour, and List of Members, 1987
- Bestowal Document for the C.B.E., named to Lieutenant-Commander Peter Markham Scott, M.B.E., D.S.C., R.N.V.R., and dated 1.6.1953
- Two letters to the recipient on behalf of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty regarding the award of the D.S.C., dated 30.6.1943, and the award of the Second Award Bar to the D.S.C., dated 22.11.1943, both contained in glazed frames
- Three Mentioned in Despatches certificates, dated 8.7.1941, 2.10.1942, and 28.9.1943, all contained in glazed frames
- Letter to the recipient from Admiral Sir Charles Little, G.B.E., K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, dated 1.1.1945, contained in a glazed frame
- Bestowal Document for the Order of the Golden Ark, named to Sir Peter Scott, C.B.E., D.S.C., LL.D., and dated 1.1.1976, contained in scroll holder of issue, together with citation,
- Copy of the Statutes of the Order of the Golden Ark
- the recipient's 'Walley Medal', the reverse named to 'P.M. Scott M.B.E.', together with a handwritten note stating 'This medal was awarded to me by the Howard family on my return from the Dieppe Raid in August 1942' (lot)
Estimate £ 5,000-7,000
C.H. London Gazette 13.6.1987 Sir Peter Markham Scott, C.B.E., D.S.C.
'For services to conservation.'
C.B.E. London Gazette 1.6.1953 Lieutenant-Commander Peter Markham Scott, M.B.E., D.S.C., R.N.V.R., Director, Severn Wildfowl Trust.
M.B.E. London Gazette 11.6.1942 Temporary Lieutenant Peter Markham Scott, R.N.V.R.
D.S.C. London Gazette 1.6.1943 Temporary Lieutenant (Acting Lieutenant-Commander) Peter Markham Scott, M.B.E., R.N.V.R.
'For skill and gallantry in action with enemy light forces.'
The Recommendation, dated 17.4.1943, states: 'This Officer led a mixed Flotilla of one Steam Gun Boat and two Motor Gun Boats against a more heavily armed force of three trawlers off Le Havre in bright moonlight on the 16th April 1943. The result was two of the enemy severely mauled by gunfire. Lieutenant Commander Scott, M.B.E., has been in five previous Coastal Force actions with the enemy, and the officers of Motor Gun Boats 608 and 615 are full of praise of his leadership and clearly thought out plan and manoeuvring on this occasion.'
Remarks of Naval Officer-in-Charge: 'Lieutenant-Commander Scott appears to have shown the determined and offensive spirit against the enemy which would be expected from his general bearing, and to have displayed good leadership and judgement. I concur in the recommendation for the immediate award of a decoration.'
D.S.C. Second Award Bar London Gazette 9.11.1943 Temporary Acting Lieutenant-Commander Peter Markham Scott, M.B.E., D.S.C., R.N.V.R.
'For great courage, leadership, and enterprise in action with enemy forces in the Channel while serving in Light Coastal Craft.'
The Recommendation, dated 30.9.1943, states: 'For foresight, determination, and efficient leadership in command of a Steam Gun Boat force which torpedoed one trawler and severely damaged two others by gun-fire on the night of the 27th September 1943. This makes a third local recommendation within two months for the award of a decoration to Lieutenant-Commander Scott.'
M.I.D. London Gazette 8.7.1941 Temporary Lieutenant Peter Markham Scott, R.N.V.R., H.M.S. Broke
'For good services in rescuing survivors from a burning Vessel.'
M.I.D. London Gazette 2.10.1942 Temporary Lieutenant Peter Markham Scott, M.B.E., R.N.V.R.
'For gallantry, daring, and skill in the combined attack on Dieppe.'
M.I.D. London Gazette 24.9.1943 Temporary Acting Lieutenant-Commander Peter Markham Scott, M.B.E., D.S.C., R.N.V.R. (London)
'For courage, determination, and resource in actions close to the enemy coast while serving in Light Coastal Craft.'
Lieutenant-Commander Sir Peter Markham Scott, C.H., C.B.E., D.S.C., was born in London in September 1909, the only son of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, C.V.O., of Antarctic fame, and the artist and sculptor Kathleen Bruce. Educated at Oundle School and Trinity College, Cambridge, his early passions were art, wildlife, and a love of sailing. In 1936 he represented Great Britain in the Berlin Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the single-handed sailing event.
War Time Service
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Scott was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a Temporary Lieutenant on the 2nd January 1940, serving in H.M.S. Broke. In June 1940 Broke was involved with the evacuation of France, assisting in Operation Cycle, the evacuation and demolition of St Nazaire and the French Biscay ports. The following month she returned to escort duty with 6th Escort Group on both the Gibraltar and South Atlantic, and North Atlantic routes- over the next two and a half years she escorted 30 north-south convoys. Broke was involved in one major convoy battle on this route in March 1941, when she was attacked by U-boats working in conjunction with the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau as part of Operation Berlin, and it is probable that the award of the M.B.E. he received in the Birthday Honours' List that year for services in H.M.S. Broke was partly influenced by his conduct during that action.
Introduction to Coastal Forces
In March 1942 Scott joined the Coastal Forces, a force comprised of Motor Torpedo Boats (M.T.B.s), Motor Gun Boats (M.G.B.s), and Motor Launches (M.L.s). These 'Spitfires of the Seas' operated throughout the War in the English Channel and North Sea, and were often heavily out-gunned; virtually every sortie that they undertook resulted in casualties, with their commanders suffering the highest casualty rate, as the wheelhouse was frequently the main target for enemy guns. Boats would often be riddled with gunfire even after brief encounters with E(nemy)-boats, and many of the encounters took place within range of shore defences. Arriving at Dover on the evening of the 3rd March, he was soon into the action: 'It was already dark when the taxi from the station deposited me on the steps of the Lord Warden Hotel, now H.M.S. Wasp, the Coastal Force Base. I had been told to ask for Hillary Gamble, who was acting as Senior Officer, M.T.B.s, and so I asked the first person I met inside the Hall- an R.N. Lieutenant- who replied that his name was Gamble and how could he help me. I told him that I wanted to go to sea with the boats if they were going, and he said that they had already gone. However, it appeared that one of the boats was in trouble. Two boats were just off this very minute to the rescue, and if I would like to go with them I would have to run. Ten minutes later, and not twenty minutes since my train had pulled into Dover station, I was steaming out of the harbour entrance on the bridge of a "C" Class M.G.B. (322) under the command of Lieutenant J.H. Hodder, R.N.V.R.' (The Battle of the Narrow Seas, by Peter Scott refers). Such was Scott's baptism in the coastal forces.
In August 1942 Coastal Forces took possession of nine Steam Gun Boats (S.G.B.s), which were slightly larger and more powerful than the existing M.G.B.s. Scott was given command of S.G.B. 9, and she made her debut in the Dieppe Raid on the 19th August. S.G.B. 9 was to support the landings at two beaches on the extreme right flank, Orange I and II, carried out by the 4th Commando Force. Having acted as an escort for the Commando Raid, and assisted further by rescuing from the sea five of the crew of H.M.S. Calpe, Scott was preparing to return home as instructed, when he decided to have one last look towards the French coast: 'I saw a landing craft far away inshore of us. At first I took it for one of two derelicts, but through the glasses I saw three Canadian Commandos, one of who was semaphoring "S.O.S." With a sinking feeling I turned once more towards Dieppe at 25 knots. We closed on the craft and, after turning, we passed them a rope, which they managed to secure. Then, miraculously still unshot at, although we were no more than a mile of so offshore, we increased the revs to 20 knots and set course for the now distant convoy and its cloud of protecting fighters.
Five minutes later, at 15:00 hours, I spotted two dots upon the eastern horizon. Two boats were approaching at high speed with bow waves easily visible at their range of six miles. E-boats! Here was something right up our street. With an effort the immediate objective- to regain our fighter protection with the minimum of delay- was cast aside, as the gunners on the fo'c'sle cleared their mountings for low-angle fire. The E-boats were closing on us. Now was our time. We slipped the tow, turned towards, and increased our speed to 35 knots. It was just where we would have expected the enemy coastal forces to come in and harass the retirement, and here they were, and we were going to have a battle with them. Spirits were very high as we sped eastwards. But suddenly they were dashed as we received a signal "Vessels are friendly." They were air/sea-rescue launches. Bitterly disappointed, we turned once again for the landing craft.
Just then a Dornier appeared out of the clouds. It came from right astern and dived down as we increased speed. We and a M.L. were the only unprotected targets- money for jam. All guns opened fire and I watched the bombs come out. At once I saw that they were travelling in the same direction as us, but a little faster, and would fall just ahead. I yelled to the coxswain, "Full astern, both". The result was most striking. We pulled up dead in our tracks, and the bombs went on to fall about 60 yards ahead with four great spouting splashes. Meanwhile the guns had been doing well. The Dornier, which was about 2,000 feet up, was hit by a burst from the 3-inch gun under its starboard engine. This caught fire and a stream of smoke came from it as the aircraft plunged almost vertically downward. There was great excitement on the bridge. "We've got him! We've got him!" But when he was a couple of hundred feet up he flattened out and, still burning, disappeared into the haze over Dieppe.' (ibid).
Scott and his crew returned to Portsmouth at 00:45, just over 28 hours after they had left, carrying with them 11 casualties, the 5 survivors from H.M.S. Calpe, and two Luftwaffe Prisoners of War they had rescued from the sea.
Action in the Baie de la Seine
Having been promoted temporary Lieutenant-Commander in January 1943, Scott was given overall command of the 1st S.G.B. Flotilla, comprising the six surviving original S.G.B.s. As they were being re-fitted it was discovered that the S.G.B.s came just within the limiting length which entitled them to names instead of numbers, and so Scott named them after a series of animals beginning with the word Grey; Grey Wolf, Grey Seal, Grey Fox, Grey Shark, Grey Owl, and, his own boat, Grey Goose, named after the first boat that he had owned as a child. The six 'Greys' did not all complete their re-fits simultaneously, and one of them, Grey Shark, was ready much earlier than the others. As a result, a number of operations were therefore carried out in early 1943 in which she led a force of mixed coastal craft.
On the 16th April Scott, in command of a small force comprising the Grey Shark and two M.G.B.s, was out on patrol in the Baie de la Seine, when he spotted by the full moon three enemy trawlers. Guessing that the trawlers were heading for Le Havre, he gave chase: 'After various detours in order to regain the advantage of the moon we suddenly sighted them right ahead about three and a half miles away making terrific bow waves, obviously legging it at speed. I must own to a sinking feeling on sighting. The moon was so bloody bright. While there was a doubt about finding them, the cowardly subconscious was saying hopefully "Perhaps you won't"; although the conscious went on working out every possibility to make sure that we did find them.
In the battle that followed, the leading trawler was silenced and stopped. Boarding was considered, but by now dawn was not far off and we had a long way to go. There did not seem to be time. So we ranged up opposite the silenced enemy and about 150 yards away slowed down, and raked her from end to end with gunfire, in an attempt to sink her, but unfortunately our 3-inch gun was irreparably jammed. Under a hail of machine-gun bullets the enemy brought one of his 20mm cannons into action, and the first burst came into the bridge, knocking us all down. By now the approaching dawn forced us to start for home. And so the battle was once more indecisive, although we had undoubtedly given more than we received. Damage to our force was slight- the S.G.B. had one killed and two wounded, and the M.G.B.s had no casualties at all.' (ibid).
For leading this attack against the odds, and for disabling two of the enemy trawlers without serious loss to his own force, Scott was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Action off Cap d'Antifer
By August 1943 all six 'Greys' had completed their re-fits, and were engaged night after night on operations. On the night of the 27th September Scott was in command of a force of four S.G.B.s: 'It was a night of brilliant phosphorescence and heavy storms, with lightning but no thunder. The four of us had been down to Le Havre and drawn blank, and we swept northward again towards Cap d'Antifer. Just before 2:00am we found the enemy and stalked him for about an hour. I wondered if he would sight us in the lightning flashes, but I finally came to the conclusion that, unless someone happened to be looking directly as us at the moment of the flash, he wouldn't. There was a very black storm approaching from the nor'-nor'-east, and we decided that there was a good chance of an unobserved attack if we could time it to coincide with the arrival of the storm. Gradually we worked our way round until the black cloud of it was behind us, and then we turned in to close the enemy as the storm broke. The hail pattered down on our tin helmets and the night was inky black. We came down the wind so that it was at our backs; all sight of the enemy ships was blotted out, and it was useless to try to use glasses because of the rain. Lieutenant Peter Mason, the Commanding Officer of the boat (Grey Fox), was at the torpedo sight and I stood just behind him. Rather impatiently I kept asking, "For Heaven's sake, can't you see them yet", for I knew we must be getting close. Suddenly he saw them and said very calmly, "Yes, I can see them now- port ten." The range was less than 600 yards when he fired both torpedoes. The enemy had been unable to keep a lookout upwind into the driving hail, and he seemed to be taken completely by surprise.
We disengaged to starboard and fired a spread of starshells. By their light we saw two trawlers quite close together. The First Lieutenant, John Erskine Hill, put the guns onto the second one and opened fire at once. From that time on the illumination was continuous, partly supplied by our second in line and partly by the Germans. Although the rain restricted the area of starshell illumination, the scene directly below the bright white light seemed to be quite as bright as day. The two trawlers were so unready that they did not reply at all and all our guns ripped into the second one, which was about 300 yards away. A small fire appeared to start at once, just forward of the bridge.
Suddenly I saw a third trawler right ahead, and as we turned to starboard it came down the port side at very close range. Just as Erskine Hill, without a moment's delay, made all his guns change target to this trawler, there was an explosion on the after end of the leading trawler as our torpedo hit. A vivid flame of cherry red, with streaks of blue and green in it, shot out of her- not vertically, but sloping to the right, and after it had gone there was a white column of either smoke or spray, which must have been at least 100 feet high. At the same time all guns engaged the third trawler, now no more than 60 yards away. I think that one small machine gun was firing back at us, but that was all, and everything we had was going into her. The gunners couldn't miss. There was a roar of escaping steam, and suddenly a white cloud came out of the ship's stern. Whether this was steam or white smoke, I don't know. At the same time she altered course to port around our stern. Bits were flying off the upper works as every gun hit. At that range and with bright starshell illumination, it was quite impossible to miss
As soon as we had passed this third trawler, two more ships began firing at us out of the rain. The fire was not very accurate, although we were hit twice by 20mm shells in the port torpedo tube. The torpedo had already gone, and so these two hits did practically no damage, although a splinter scratched the midshipman's ear. We increased speed an disengaged. We were 3,000 yards from the cliffs of Etretat, we had achieved complete surprise and fired our torpedoes, we had emptied our Ready Use ammunition lockers into the third trawler, but the Hun was now fully roused. The starshells burst continuously overhead and the shore batteries joined in with a vengeance. I collected the flotilla together, and found that two of them had not yet fired their torpedoes. It was after 4:00am, the wind had freshened to about Force 5 from the north, and the sea was rising. I thought the time and weather were not very promising for another attack, and so we set off for home. The Germans kept firing their starshells for another half-hour, by which time we were well on our way to Newhaven.
We all four entered the harbour in company at 7:20am. The only damage suffered by the whole force was the two 20mm holes in the port torpedo tube and the only casualty was Peter Platt, the midshipman, with a scratch on his ear. He was most annoyed when I insisted he should go to the sick bay to have the blood washed off it before he came into breakfast.' (ibid).
It was to be a quick breakfast for Scott though, for as soon as it was over he caught the train to London, and thence to Buckingham Palace, where he was invested with both his M.B.E. from two years previously, as well as his Distinguished Service Cross. And within hours of the King pinning the D.S.C. on him, Scott's Commanding Officer was recommending that a Second Award Bar should be added to it, for his 'foresight, determination, and efficient leadership' the previous night.
After the War Scott stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate for North Wembley in the 1945 General Election, before founding the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) in 1948, an organisation that he was closely involved with for the rest of his life. In 1961 he was one of the co-founders of the World Wildlife Fund (now the World Wide Fund for Nature), and designed the WWF's well-known Panda logo. As well as all this he maintained his earlier passions for painting, in which field he was the founder President of the Society of Wildlife Artists and President of the Nature in Art Trust, and for sailing, skippering the yacht Sovereign in the 1964 America's Cup whilst President of the International Sailing Federation. He also developed a keen interest in gliding, and became British gliding champion in 1963, later taking up the post of Chairman of the British Gliding Association. Having been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1953, to mark the Queen's Coronation, twenty years later he was knighted for his services to conservation, received the honour of Knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace on the 27th February 1973 (London Gazette 6.3.1973). Between 1955 and 1981 he regularly appeared on the television, presenting the BBC Natural History series Look. A long time Vice President of the British Naturalists' Association, he was honoured by Conservation and Zoological Societies both at home and abroad. In 1976 he was appointed a Commander (the highest class) of the Dutch Order of the Golden Ark, an Order of Knighthood founded in 1971 to honour outstanding wildlife conservationists; and in 1987 was created a Companion of Honour, 'for services to conservation' and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Having achieved remarkable success in many fields, Sir Peter Scott died in Bristol on the 29th August 1989, two weeks prior to his 80th birthday.
Source: Spink, de veiling van 21 April 2011