MILITARY MEDAL, G.V.R. ‘283 SJT: S. COURT. 56/AUST: INF:’; 1914-15 STAR ‘283 PTE. S. L. COURT 12/L. H: RGT. A.I.F.’; BRITISH WAR AND VICTORY MEDALS ‘LIEUT. S. L. COURT A.I.F.’
M.M. London Gazette 12 December 1917. The original recommendation states:
‘On two occasions Sergeant Court displayed courage and resource on convoy duty in the vicinity of Hooge and Glencourse Wood in rallying men and keeping convoy intact under shell fire at night on 25th and 26th September 1917.’
Sidney Lancelot Court, a 24 year old Labourer from Bingara enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 8th January 1915. On 1st March 1915, Court joined the 12th Light Horse Regiment, at Liverpool, New South Wales, which was then forming and was assigned to ‘B’ troop. On completion of forming the Regiment embarked for Egypt in two groups, the first on 11th June 1915 aboard HMAT A29 Suevic (including Private Court). During the voyage to Egypt, the part of the 12th Light Horse Regiment travelling on the HMAT A29 Suevic was diverted to Aden and landed on 12th July 1916 to bolster the defences of the British garrison which was under pressure from Yemeni tribesmen who were threatening an attack. By 18th July no attack had occurred and the threat diminished allowing the Regiment re-embarked to Egypt.
Prior to landing on Gallipoli, the 3 Squadrons of the 12th Light Horse were attached to other Light Horse Regiments already serving on the Peninsular. ‘B’ Squadron became ‘D’ Squadron of the 7th Light Horse Regiment, serving with them at Gallipoli from 29th August 1915. During their time at Gallipoli, the 7th Light Horse were deployed on on the far right of the front line, in the southern regions of Anzac.
Court was invalided to Malta on 27th September 1915, due to a septic wound to his right leg but returned to his unit in Gallipoli on 17th November, his departure having been delayed so he could serve 14 day No2 Field Punishment for gambling! Court remaining with the 7th Light Horse in Gallipoli until they were evacuated on 20th December 1915. Transferring back to the 12th Light Horse when it reformed in Egypt on 21st February 1916, he was promoted Corporal the next day. Court would continue to serve with the Light Horse, the Regiment moving to the Suez Canal taking part in its defence. On 10th June 1916 Court was admitted to hospital with conjunctivitis. On 24th June he was invalided to England.
Court spent the following 6 months in hospital, recuperating and then training in France until transferred to the 56th Australian Infantry Battalion on 2nd February 1917, serving with them until the end of the War. He was promoted Temporary Sergeant on 27th May 1917 being confirmed to that rank in August.
Probably due to his mounted service experience, Sergeant Court was attached to the 5th Divisional Pack Transport Troop for just over a week between 22nd September 1917 and 1st October 1917. Within days he would be Awarded MM for Gallantry supplying the front line around Glencourse Wood, Ypres, at the start of the 5th Divisions attack on Polygon Wood. He would continue with the troop throughout the battle itself where his duties would have been almost as dangerous as those on the front line.
From 1st October 1917, Sergeant Court continued to service with 56 Battalion and after a spending February 1918 in hospital, was detached again to 5th Division HQ (Salvage Party) from 15th April to 20th April 1918. In August 1918, Court was sent to England to join the Cadet Battalion and was commissioned Second Lieutenant 56 Battalion on 4th January 1919. In Court’s Cadet report, it notes his Standard of Education is ‘Poor’ and regarding ability to train a platoon; ‘His knowledge is not very good. He can instruct when he knows the subject’. However regarding ability to Command a platoon, he was noted as ‘Good’ and under Special Qualifications; ‘Riding’. Under remarks; ‘Cadet Court would have completed his course 10th March 19. He has been handicapped by lack of education but has worked hard and with some knowledge will make an instructor. His command over men is good. I consider that he will make an efficient platoon commander.’
2nd Lieutenant Court was sent back to 56 Battalion in France on 29th January and advanced to Lieutenant on 4th April 1919 and returned to Australia on the 8th July 1919. He was finally discharged from the Army on 2nd March 1920.
A superb group to a soldier who saw a great deal of action at both Gallipoli with the Light Horse, France with the Infantry and a rare MM to the 5th Division Pack Transport Troop, a short lived unit within the Division.
Condition VF or better, mounted for display, light contact marks overall. Ex Nobles Nov 2003 where it sold for $4500. Sold with copy papers, Unit War diaries and ‘Story of the 5th Division’ on CD.