Original British Wolseley Pattern Helmet of Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott KCMG
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott KCMG (20 August 1857 9 April 1941) was a British colonial administrator and governor who was in turn Governor of the Seychelles, British Honduras, Leeward Islands and Fiji.
Sweet-Escott was born at Bath, the fifth son of the Rev. Hay Sweet-Escott, headmaster of Somersetshire College, Bath, and Rector of Kilve, Somerset, by his wife Eliza, daughter of Rev. John Coombes Collins, Vicar of St John's Bridgwater. He was educated at the Royal Somersetshire College, Bath, Bromsgrove School and Balliol College, Oxford. From 1881 he was professor of classics at the Royal College of Mauritius.
In 1886 he became assistant colonial secretary at Mauritius and was promoted in 1889 to acting colonial secretary. His next posting was in British Honduras from May 1893 until September 1898 when he returned to take up a post as acting government clerk at the Colonial Office
Sweet-Escott then became administrator of the Seychelles in June 1899 and then Governor of the Seychelles when the post was created from 1903 to 1904. He was knighted in 1904 and became Governor of British Honduras from 15 April 1904 to 13 August 1906. From 1906 until 1912 he was Governor of the Leeward Islands.
Sweet-Escott became Governor of Fiji on 25 July 1912 and was also High Commissioner and Consul General for the West Pacific region. During World War I a German squadron under Maximilian von Spee was a day away from Fiji. Sweet-Escott wired a message to the Australian fleet, then 2000 miles away, which the Germans intercepted and Von Spee was convinced that he was heading for a trap, turned away and laughed at the "fool of a governor for giving the show away". Sweet-Escott's term of office ended on 10 October 1918.
This Wolseley Pattern Sun Pith Helmet, in excellent condition, is marked in the crown REGULATION CORK HELMET and bears a maker's label that reads:
47, MADDOX STREET,
The helmet bears a brass Royal Cypher Coat of Arms helmet plate, and comes complete with leather sweat band and green internal lining. It is kept in its original steel transit tin bearing an engraved brass plaque that reads:
KCMG stands for Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George. The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.
It is named in honor of two military saints, St Michael and St George.
The Order of St Michael and St George was originally awarded to those holding commands or high position in the Mediterranean territories acquired in the Napoleonic Wars, and was subsequently extended to holders of similar office or position in other territories of the British Empire. It is at present awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country, and can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.
A wonderful identified set that belonged to a notable figure in British Colonial history.
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