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A medal fit for a hero

Anyone interested in military history will be keen to explore our Fine Art and Antiques Sale taking place on Saturday 20 February.

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David Douglas is pictured holding the boxed Queen’s Gallantry Medal and the RAF Long Service & Good Conduct Medal presented to Flight Sergeant William Barker Oldroyd. Also in the photograph are items from a single-owner collection of Gordon Highlanders’ militaria.

Anyone interested in military history will be keen to explore our Fine Art and Antiques Sale taking place on Saturday 20 February.

The sale marks the establishment of our new specialist Department of Militaria, Nauticalia and Sporting Antiques, and features many exciting militaria items, including an early issue Queen’s Gallantry Medal and over 250 lots relating to the famed Gordon Highlanders regiment. 

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal was instituted on 20 June 1974 to replace the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry and the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and was intended to award gallantry for non-military acts of bravery or military acts in situations where the country was not officially 'at war'. 

The example in our sale was awarded to the late Acting Flight Sergeant William Barker Oldroyd, Royal Air Force Provost and Security Services, for action during the Cyprus emergency of 1974. It is being offered with Oldroyd's RAF Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and matching miniature medals, together with a comprehensive portfolio chronicling the circumstances giving rise to the award of the QGM. Collectively, they carry a price estimate of £10,000 to £12,000.

Acting Flight Sergeant William Barker Oldroyd’s medal was awarded jointly with his Commanding Officer Acting Squadron Leader RA Chasemore for their actions on 21 July 1974 when the pair dealt with a fire adjacent to a petrol store at the civilian location of Nicosia International Airport and while under enemy fire from Turkish aircraft. Their actions undoubtedly prevented widespread injuries and loss of life, as well as extensive damage to the nearby military RAF station.

The medal is particularly noteworthy because it is one of the first of its type to be awarded. Examples of other Queen’s Gallantry Medals include the gentleman who came to Princess Anne's rescue during the attempt to abduct her from a vehicle in The Mall.

Also included in the sale, is a single-owner collection of militaria associated with The Gordon Highlanders - a line infantry regiment of the British Army, from 1881 until 1994, whose origins go back to 1787. The collection comprises uniform, accoutrements, medals, insignia, silver and plate, ephemera and weapons, postcards and general collectables.

Amongst the highlights are: a circa. 1850 pair of steel Scottish belt pistols which carry a price estimate of £6,000 to £8,000; a superb Gordon Highlanders’ sweetheart brooch featuring 23 diamonds, two rubies and two emeralds mounted in white and yellow gold that has been valued between £1,500 and £1,700; and a Waterloo Medal awarded to a Private in the 92nd Highlanders expected to reach £1,000 - £1,500. 

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