a shot in the dark
a bit off topic admittedly, but you guys a font of obscure military knowledge. my wifes family have just passed me a pair of medals to research from the boer war period. they are a queen victoria queens service medal with three clasps (cape clony, orange free state and transvaal) and an edward IIV distinguished conduct medal. both are attributed to pte/signaller s.hayes
#2732 royal munster fusiliers. any info you guys may have or suggestions for research avenues would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
09-18-2010 06:34 AM
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Back in the 1960's and 70's, I used to seriously collect old British military medals that were impressed on the rims named to individual soldiers. The material could get quite expensive when you're talking things like "Charge of the Light Brigade", "Battle of Waterloo" etc....
Unfortunately, fakers started producing stuff that was very hard to distinguish from the originals unless there was a quality provenance attached to them, which seriously affected the marketplace and collector confidence. It got so bad, I sold off almost all my collection and got out of the hobby. Still have a "Waterloo" medal and a few Boer War medals, but the rest went with a few still hanging around that I recently posted for auction in our own Classifieds area here:
Boer War and WW1 Service Medals (3 groupings) - Quartermaster Stores (Member Classifieds)
I used to get them researched by people who would go to the Public Records office and get their service records out, photo copy them and mail them to me. That was in the days before the Internet, so I think you can do this now yourself on-line, but there's probably people who still do this. I know you can actually go yourself and do it too if you wanted.
I'd start here:
Looking for records of a British army soldier up to 1913 | The National Archives
By the way, with the DCM, that grouping will be worth a lot of money. See if you can find pictures, pay books or other items to that go with it to enhance it's value further.
Finally, see if you cam locate local Medal Collectors groups in your area and go to one of their annual conventions and displays, taking the group to show for appraisals.
Best of luck .....
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The Queen's South Africa Medal and King's South Africa Medal are popular subjects for collectors these days as there exist a wide variety of bars (some scarce) and they are named to the individual.
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Good point for research is that the DCM used to count as second only to a VC. Every one was Gazetted, too.
With the DCM in the lot, it should not be too hard to put together a nice collection of information: the Gazette is one more source of information, and it is all online these days. Generally, the account in the Gazette makes reference to the cause for the award, and that points you to a particular date and battle. Original citations exist in the service records but the DCM was unusual enough at that time that it should be possible to get information also from either the Imperial War Museum or from the Army and Navy Museum, both in London. They both tend to be more helpful than the Archives at Kew.... and cheaper, too.
Good luck on your quest, friend!
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Lots of expertise here: British Medals Forum Index page
Suffice it to say that a DCM of that vintage is worth quite a lot of money.
A nice mounting would be in order.
As Smellie noted the DCM was at one time second only to the VC for Other Ranks.
The DCM award carried a ten pound bounty as well and it was said that the MM was created in order to avoid having to pay out so many bounties in WWI! It was derisively referred to as the "Machonachie Medal" by some troops in WWI, as it was said to be issued out with the rations! True or not I have no idea, but the awarding of decorations is always highly arbitrary. What wins one man a VC may win another only an MM.
Last edited by Surpmil; 09-18-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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