WEB Harper Field Scott 1

The Military Medal group of eight awarded to Captain JS Scott, SAS, sold for £41,000 at Harper Field.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

However, Mayne – one of the original SAS members – was never awarded a Victoria Cross, the highest military gallantry honour his country could bestow.

One reason was said to be inadvertently the actions of his comrade Sgt JS Scott of the Special Boat Squadron, 1st SAS Regiment, who manned Vickers and Browning machine guns alongside Mayne during the action which resulted in Mayne’s fourth DSO (a third bar).

They headed off in a Jeep on a ‘virtually suicidal’ mission in Germany to help save eight colleagues trapped in a ditch on April 10, 1945.

Scott provided covering fire, and it seems this was deemed, therefore, to mean Mayne had not acted single-handedly and was ineligible for the VC, despite the backing of Field Marshal Montgomery. Scott was given the Military Medal.

Mayne was a highly controversial figure and many supporters felt he had been denied a VC unfairly.

That should, of course, not detract from Scott’s own bravery, as evident in his Military Medal group of eight which came up for sale at Gloucestershire auction house Harper Field on February 7-8 estimated at £10,000-15,000. They sold for rather more: a hammer price of £41,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium).

The honours were sold with related ephemera including a Certificate of Service in the 1st Special Air Service Regiment from February 14, 1943, to November 16, 1945 in the Western Desert, Italy and North West Europe signed by Lt Colonel Mayne.

Another intriguing item was a typed letter dated December 12, 1943, from Major Lord Jellicoe (first commander of the Special Boat Squadron), to request assistance in getting Sgt Scott back to his unit following his escape from a POW camp and on subsequent return to said camp to assist other prisoners to escape, with envelope addressed to Commando leader Major General RE Laycock.

WEB Harper Field Scott 2

The Military Medal group of eight awarded to Captain JS Scott, SAS, and related ephemera, sold for £41,000 at Harper Field.

After the war Captain Scott put forward to be a King’s Messenger, backed by letters of recommendation from Mayne and Lord Jellicoe, but it never happened. He met his future wife in Belgium during the armistice and then worked for the family printing business. They subsequently moved to Toadsmoor, near Stroud in Gloucestershire, to continue in the printing trade.

Call for medal rethink

2595PV Edit Hansons SAS Photo 2 CUTOUT

This photo of Paddy Mayne was included among never-before-seen Second World War images of SAS soldiers that appeared in a photo album offered as part of a military collection relating to Lt Cpl Gerald Hutchinson (1922-89), who served in 1st SAS Regiment. The collection sold for £10,500 at auction house Hansons in June 2023.

In 2005 Early Day Motion put before the House of Commons and supported by more than 100 MPs called for Mayne to be posthumously awarded a VC but the government did not reopen his case.