King Feisal I (1885-1933)
A silver-sheathed dagger Jambiya and buckle, [1918 or earlier], 32cm. overall height, engraved inscription on top of hilt Presented to/Lt Col Robin Buxton D.S.O./by Sherif Feisal Son of King of the Hejaz/after the capture of Mudawarra/Aug.9.1918, with integral woven fabric belt.
Provenance: King Feisal I (presentation gift to:); Colonel Robin Vere Buxton (1883-1953).
Buxton, a colleague and later friend of T.E. Lawrence, commanded a contingent of the Imperial Camel Corps which, fighting in unison with Lawrence and Feisal, took part in a campaign which resulted in the eventual cutting of the railway junction at Deraa at the end of September 1918. This prevented the Turks from properly supplying Damascus and hastened its capture. A major opening engagement in the campaign was the capture of Mudawarra: 'Next morning we heard by aeroplane how Buxton's force had fared at Mudawwara [sic]. They decided to assault it before dawn mainly by means of bombers, in three parties, one to enter the station, the other two for the main redoubt. Accordingly, before midnight white tapes were laid as guides to the zero point. The opening had been timed for a quarter to four but the way proved difficult to find, so that daylight was almost upon them before things began against the southern redoubt. After a number of bombs had burst in and about it, the men rushed in and took it easily - to find that the station party had achieved the end a moment before. These alarms roused the middle redoubt, but only for defeat. Its men surrendered twenty minute later. The northern redoubt, which had a gun, seemed better-hearted and splashed its shot freely into the station yard, and at our troops. Buxton, under the cover of the southern redoubt, directed the fire of Brodie's guns which, with their usual deliberate accuracy, sent in shell after shell. Siddons came over in his machines and bombed while the Camel Corps from north and east and west subjected the breastworks to severe Lewis gun fire. At seven in the morning the last of the enemy surrendered quietly. We had lost four killed and ten wounded. The Turks lost twenty-one killed, and one hundred and fifty prisoners, with two field-guns and three machine-guns.' (T.E. Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom 1926, p.540). Lawrence thought highly of Buxton as both a military commander and as a friend. This friendship was to stand him in good stead after the war: Buxton became a banker and was (among other positions) a Director of Martins Bank and Chairman of the Bank of the Middle East. In these positions he was able to persuade his fellow directors to finance the publication of Seven Pillars..