A Collection of Medals to recipients of the Burma Star

Date of Auction: 17th February 2021

Sold for £150

Estimate: £100 - £140

Four: Private H. R. Sykes, Worcestershire Regiment, who was killed in action during the re-conquest of Burma on 18 December 1944

1939-45 Star; Burma Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, with named Army Council enclosure, in card box of issue addressed to ‘Mrs. C. E. Sykes, 14 Alexander Street, North Town, Aldershot’, extremely fine (4) £100-£140


Harry Randall Sykes attested for the Worcestershire Regiment and served with the 2nd Battalion during the Second World War in Burma. He was killed in action during the re-conquest of Burma during the night of 18-19 December 1944. The Regimental history gives the following account:

‘The Battalion received orders on the evening of the 18th to move off that night and occupy Nankan; some 12 miles ahead down quite a good road, on the 19th, if possible before first light. Unfortunately, these orders were not received until shortly before dark and little time was left for planning and issuing the necessary orders. The schedule time for starting was 23:00 hours but getting mules and ammunition issued out to Companies in the pitch dark and dense jungle was extremely difficult and it was not until about midnight that the column finally moved off, with “A” Company in the lead, followed by Battalion HQ and the Defence PIatoon with “C” Company behind them. The other two companies were in rear. All Administration stores and unnecessary personnel had, of course, been left behind at Shwedaung. The Commanding Officer’s plan was to move down side tracks to the East of the road so as to avoid being spotted, if possible. But the tracks turned out to be very bad, the night march was extremely slow and eventually the Battalion found itself back on the main road once more as it was just beginning to get light. The column had by this time become very strung out and “A” Company having missed the way once and thus lost its place at the head of the column, the march was continued with the Defence Platoon in the lead. The Commanding Officer decided to send “C” Company round to enter Nankan now about two miles ahead, from the West along the line of the railway while he pushed on down the road. This movement began about 09:00 hours. Shortly afterwards the Defence Platoon was ambushed within a mile of Nankan and suffered casualties. Two men were killed and Lieutenant Baggott the Platoon Commander was severely wounded. “A” Company came to their assistance and push very slowly on down the road, meeting slight opposition.’

Sykes is buried in Imphal War Cemetery, India.

His medals were sent to his mother, Mrs. Constance Eugenie Sykes, of Aldershot.