Royal Military College Sandhurst,

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 123
Royal Military College Sandhurst,

Sold for £ 2,280 (US$ 3,023) inc. premium
Royal Military College Sandhurst,
Prize Medal in gold, 44mm diam., Edward VII issue for 1902, engraved on the rim (Gentleman Cadet James Gabriel Lancaster Ranking). In Royal Mint case of issue. Extremely fine. (1)


  • Capt. J. G. L. Ranking was the third son of Lieut.-Colonel Greorge Speirs Alexander Ranking, M.D., I.M.S. (retired), then O.C. 3rd Southern General Hospital, R.A.M.C. (T.F.) at Oxford, and of Mrs. Ranking, of 56, Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells. He was only a short time here, and was afterwards at Aldenham, and then with Mr. J. Le Fleming, Eton House, Tonbridge.
    He entered the R.A.M.C., Sandhurst, in 1902, and passed out first, obtaining the Anson Memorial Sword of Honour, the King's Gold Medal for general proficiency, and tixe prize for Military Engineering. In April, 1903, he was appointed to the East Lancashire Regiment, and after serving with that Regiment in India was, in 1904, gazetted to the 46th Punjab Infantry. In three years he qualified in Hindustani, Persian, and Pushtii, and in 1907 was selected for service under the Foreign Office, and was sent to Ahwaz, in Axabistan, where he remained as British Consul till May, 1911. Whilst there he had to negotiate an agreement between the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the Bakhtiari Khans for the acquisition of land by the company, and Sir G.Barclay, H.B.M. Minister at Teheran, in August, 1911, wrote to say that " the Secretary of State concurred in his view that great credit was due to Lieut. Ranking for the manner in which he had conducted these difficult and protracted negotiations, and was to convey to him an expression of Sir E. Grey's warm approval of his proceedings." Lieut.
    Ranking was then transferred to India for a special course, and was shortly after appointed permanently to the Political Department of the Government of India and gazetted to the N.W. Frontier Province, where he served till he was once more posted to Southern Persia in 1913. He had been gazetted Captain in January, 1912. At the time of his death he was Assistant to the Resident, Persian Gulf, at Bushire. Capt.Ranking was mentioned in despatches in the early part of 1915. The serious condition of affairs in Persia was fully pointed out by Colonel Yates in the House on September 28th, 1915, and was acknowledged by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Persia, as he pointed out, though a neutral country ,was occupied and terrorised by armed bands under German officers. He spoke of the open intrigues of Germany and Germans amongst the various tribes since the beginning of the War and of the large sums spent by them in inducing these tribes to damage British interests throughout S. Persia, even to the extent of inciting them to murder British officers and those employed by British companies in Persia. Capt. Ranking, writing in May, 1915, declared that "the Germans had laid a plot to murder every English man, woman, and child through the agency of various tribes throughout Persia," adding, "It is astonishing that any civilised nation should so far lose its national conscience as to stoop to such acts." The result of these plots was that at Bushire and at other places in S. Persia the British officials, residents, and troops had been in constant danger. His letters told of repeated attempts at attack and continual sniping. "What a Gilbertian situation," he wrote on June 20th, " a horde of wild men from the hills, led by a few Germans, armed by them with the latest arms and ammunition, preparing to attack a British colony of twenty or thirty people, and all this in a neutral country, the tribesmen being the rebellious subjects of the neutral Power! And with all this, when we can get off, we go around to each other's houses to play tennis, etc." On July 6th he told how very serious their position had become, and mentioned that the Government had now made them officially part of I.E.F. " D," the Mesopotamian Field Force. A strong night attack was then daily expected. On July 12th information was received from a not very reliable source with regard to a concerted attack to be made by native tribes that night. It was decided to verify it before caffing out the reserve of the Regiment, which had been very hard worked of late, and Major Oliphant, 96th Berar Infantry, and Capt. Ranking set out in the afternoon with six sowars and twenty-six sepoys to reconnoitre. Capt. Ranking, who was leading with a few men, came suddenly upon a strong body of Tangistanis. Before they could retire the horse one of the sowars was riding was shot dead, and Capt. Ranking pulled up to extricate and save the sowar. This he did, but it cost him his life. He was hit and fell. Major Oliphant rode up and tried in vain to rescue him, and was himself killed too. The survivors retired and occupied some sangars (circular loose stone walls round vines or fig-trees), and held the enemy till the regimental reserves arrived, and, with the assistance of two captured Turkish field guns that had been sent to Bushire and of the 4-inch guns of H.M.S. Lavjrmce, firing at long range, the enemy was repulsed and decamped. The bodies of the two officers were recovered at dawn, and evidence obtained later showed that the enemy's plan for a combined attack, the result of which might have been very serious, had been frustrated by the discovery of the advance party. A letter conveying the sympathy of the Viceroy to Lieut.-Colonel Ranking ends as follows: " His Excellency desires me
    to say that the Political Department, of which he is the head, have lost in your son a most keen and promising officer and one who had already done much good work for the Empire in remote and isolated parts of Persia." Captain James Gabriel Lancaster Ranking was killed in action on the 12th July 1915. He is commemorated on the Tehran Memorial.

    He was entitled to a 1914-15 Star trio for service within the Political Department of the Indian Army. His medals were sent to his father who lived in Caversham, Reading.
Royal Military College Sandhurst,
Royal Military College Sandhurst,
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £450,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.