The medals of the late Sir Mark Henniker, CBE, DSO, MC, were sold at Noonans in London for £100,000 in February. 

Mark Henniker was born in Minehead in January, 1906, the son of Frederick and Ada Henniker, who were living at Dunkery Lodge, King Edward Road. He had a long and distinguished military career, at first serving in India in the 1930s on the North West Frontier, during which time he was awarded the Military Cross. 

During WW2 he escaped with his men in a rowing boat from the beaches of Dunkirk. As the first Chief Royal Engineer, 1st AIrborne Division, he helped plan the airborne element of the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and took part in the landings, flying in by glider. Despite being wounded and breaking an arm, he proceeded to Ponte Grande to ensure enemy demolition charges had been removed. Joining up with the landing force, he made his way to assist in the relief of the 1st Parachute Brigade at Primosole Bridge. “He continued to fight, though swathed in bandages”. In September 1943, at Taranto, he took part in the seaborne landing. 

The pinnacle of his career was during 1944 when Henniker was responsible for the planning and execution of Operation Berlin, the night-time evacuation of the beleaguered 1st Airborne Division, trapped in German occupied territory north of the Lower Rhone and West of Arnhem. On the night of 25-26 September Henniker executed his intricate plan, securing the rescue of some 2,400 men across the Lower Rhone in all manner of boats and rafts, all under heavy fire, and personally directed by him throughout the night from his position on the river bank. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

His outstanding service continued after WW2 , including commanding the 63rd Gurkha Infantry Brigade during the communist inspired “Malaya Emergency” in the 1950s. Brigadier, Sir Mark “Honker” Henniker passed away in 1991 and  is buried in Abergavenny.

Courtesy of Noonans, London