See Front Cover.
D.S.O. London Gazette 18.1.1918.
First Bar to D.S.O. London Gazette 26.3. 1918 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the right of his Battalion was held up by artillery and machine-gun fire, he at once made his way to the front and rallied and re-organised the Company, and led them to the assault. His complete indifference to danger and gallant bearing had a most inspiring effect on all ranks'.
Second Bar to D.S.O. London Gazette 15.2.1919 'For conspicuous gallantry and able leadership during the attack on Gillemont Farm and the Cat Post, 21 September 1918. Finding the enemy had re-occupied Cat Post he at once organised his Signallers, Runners, etc., about eight in all, attacked and captured a machine-gun. When his party was reduced to three he withdrew, bringing back the wounded. He did fine work'.
Mention in Despatches London Gazettes 12.1.1918, 5.7.1919 and 11.6.1920.
Lieutentant-Colonel John Gordon Rees, D.S.O., of Penydarren Park, Crickhowell, Breckonshire, was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant into the 13th Hussars in 1904, and served as Adjutant of the Regiment before retiring to the Reserve of Officers in 1913. In August 1914 he was gazetted Captain in the newly raised Welsh Horse. Largely funded by Cardiff City Council and people of South Wales, the unit was the brainchild of the ex-Cavalryman and Welsh nationalist, Major Q.O. Vaughan, D.C.M. (aka 'Owen Roscomyl'), who had no intention of it being a mere wartime Service Battalion, but the nucleus of a Regiment of 'Welsh Horse Guards' that might be immediately placed on the Regular Establishment of the British Army. The Army Council was at once suspicious and, denying Roscomyl command in favour of Lord Kensington, designated it a Yeomanry Regiment raised on a Territorial basis.
On completing its training, the 1/1st Welsh Horse moved to England and was brigaded with the 1/1st Suffolk Yeomanry and the 1/1st Norfolk Yeomanry in the Eastern Mounted Brigade for the defence of the East Coast. In September 1915 it lost its horses and was ordered to proceed to Gallipoli, where after safely landing at A.N.Z.A.C., it became the Pioneer Battalion of the 163rd Brigade with instructions to carry out extensive mining and sapping operations in the vicinity of Hill 60. Though contrary to the belief that it contained a high proportion of miners among its ranks, it buckled down cheerfully to the task, and on 15 November exploded five mines under the Turkish trenches with devastating effect. A month later 1/1st Welsh Horse played an important role in the evacuation from the Peninsula, providing the last Garrison of four Officers and 39 Other Ranks for Hill 60 and 'moving slowly down the beach under cover of darkness, their boots covered in sacking to minimise noise'. Reportedly, Rees was 'one of the last two Officers to leave Gallipoli'.
Transferred to Egypt for the Defence of the Suez Canal, 1/1st Welsh Horse was next placed in the 3rd Dismounted Brigade with which it garrisoned Sollum during the 1916-17 Campaign against the Senussi in the Libyan Desert. On the successful termination of that Campaign British Forces in Egypt were reorganised, with 1/1st Welsh Horse being amalgamated with the 1/1st Montgomeryshire Yeomanry at Cairo to become the 25th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and part of the newly formed 231st Brigade of the 74th (Broken Spur) Division. From April 1917, 25th R.W.F. was actively engaged in the Palestine Campaign, with a member of the Welsh Horse element winning a Victoria Cross on 31 October. The following month Rees, now a Major and Second-in-Command, led a Company in the attack on Beit Ur et Foqa, and received his first D.S.O. His second award was swift to follow, and then in May 1918 the 25th R.W.F. were ordered with the rest of the Broken Spur Division to France in consequence of the Ludendorff Offensive. Going into the line between Le Bassee Canal and the Lys, Rees succeeded Lord Kensington to the Command of the Battalion shortly before winning his third D.S.O. at Gillemont on 21.9.1918. Advance to Lieutenant-Colonel by Brevet, he was placed on the Reserve in June 1919.