An inter-War Knight Bachelor, Great War O.B.E. group of seven awarded Major Sir William O. Wright, Madras Artillery Volunteers (The Duke's Own), who served with this unit when they returned fire at the S.M.S. Emden during the Bombardment of Madras on 22 September 1914; later Honorary Consul for Belgium at Madras Knight Bachelor’s Badge, 1st type breast Badge, silver-gilt and enamel, hallmarks for London 1933, in case of issue; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 1st type breast badge, silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1919; British War Medal 1914-20, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Major W. O. Wright); Jubilee 1935, unnamed as issued; Coronation 1937, unnamed as issued; Indian Volunteer Forces Decoration, G.V.R., the reverse contemporarily engraved ‘Maj: W. O. Wright. 2nd (Madras) G. G. Arty:’; Belgium, Kingdom, Order of the Crown, Knight's breast Badge, gilt and enamel, the medals cleaned and lacquered and mounted for wear, heavy enamel chipping to first, thus good fine; the rest generally good very fine (7) £1,200-£1,600 --- Knight Bachelor London Gazette 4 June 1934. O.B.E. London Gazette 12 September 1919. Belgian Order of the Crown London Gazette 28 September 1937: ‘In recognition of valuable services rendered by him while Honorary Consul of Belgium at Madras.' William Owen Wright was born in 1882, the son of Major-General Sir William Purvis Wright, K.C.B., and prior to the Great War worked for Parry & Co. Ltd in Madras, serving as a Lieutenant in the Madras Artillery Volunteers (The Duke's Own). Following the outbreak of the Great War, the city found itself unexpectedly on the frontline when the German cruiser Emden steamed into port. She slipped quietly into the Bay on the night of 22 September and opened fire around 21:00. The Garrison was turned out and the Madras Artillery Volunteers led by Major H. H. G. Mitchell and Major J. Cunliffe manned the guns to repel the attack. By 22:00 the Emden had pulled away, having caused significant damage to the oil tanks by the port. The terror caused by this event seems to have hung over the port for some time with the Englishman's Overland Mail reporting on 1 October that a member of the Garrison Artillery Volunteers had been arrested for spreading rumours of the raider's return. Nevertheless, the Garrison had performed well under fire and were generally praised for forcing the Emden's withdrawal. Major Cunliffe, who had directly commanded the volunteers during the attack, was allowed to take a temporary Commission as Captain in the Royal Artillery and was seconded to serve on the Western Front. Major Mitchell was promoted to Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel and the Madras Volunteers were addressed by the Governor of Madras in December and thanked for 'the actual military service they have done during the past few months' (Englishman's Overland Mail of 24 December 1914, refers). Wright was promoted to Major on 1 April 1917, and was given effective command of the 2nd (Madras) Garrison Group Artillery. For his services during the great War he was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 11 June 1920) and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. After the end of the war, he continued his work with Parry & Co., reaching the post of Director in 1928, and Chairman Madras Branch European Association in 1931. He received a Knighthood in the 1934 Birthday Honours’ List, and - also serving as the Honorary Consul of Belgium in Madras - was awarded the Belgian Order of the Crown. He later served as a President of the Employers Federation of India in 1938. He died in Walmer, Kent, on 8 May 1951. Sold with a letter to his son from the solicitors Cleaver, Holt & Morris, dated 1955, giving provenance to the Knight Bachelor's Badge.
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