Twin victory: medals sale honours two soldiers from opposite ends of the globe

The medals of two soldiers from opposite hemispheres will lead the way in Wellington Auctions' January sale.

The auction will feature many distinguished medals but the top lot is a set belonging to Corporal W.B. Watson, 12th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. The set features a Distinguished Conduct Medal, a 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal and Victory Medal, a Territorial Force Efficiency Medal and a Belgian Croix De Guerre with palm.

The citation for Watson's Distinguished Conduct Medal and bar states it was awarded for:

"Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of the battalion stretcher bearers, he worked incessantly under extremely heavy fire, and it was due to his energy and great devotion to duty, that many of the wounded were collected and safely evacuated. He displayed conspicuous gallantry, coolness and courage."

The set, which is court-mounted and described as 'Generally very fine' to 'Good very fine', has an estimated price of £5,900 - £6,900.

Both men were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal,
similar to this example

The other notable lot is a set belonging to Sergeant W.E. Donnelly, 9th Field Company Engineers of the Australian Imperial Force. Donnelly enlisted on the 12th March 1916, and embarked from England to France on the 22nd November 1916.

Featured are a Distinguished Conduct Medal, British War Medal and Victory Medal. The set is provided with a copy of the citation sent to his next of kin, which states:

"For conspicuous gallantry, devotion to duty and able leadership during a continuous period of bridge-building along the Somme. Day after day he kept his men together, working under most trying conditions. The shelling was often very heavy, but he never failed to inspire those working under him, and kept them searching out material and erecting bridges.

"No matter how difficult, he always completed his task with thoroughness and rapidity, and by his untiring energy and leadership, artillery and supplies were often got forward more quickly than they might have otherwise been."

This important Australian group is rated as 'Nearly extremely fine', and valued at £4,500 - £5,000.

The auction will also feature a number of other investment-grade medals and collectible pieces for entry-level investors. The bidding closes at midnight on January 13.


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