Archived Lot

Date of Auction: 7th March 2007

Sold for £2,800

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200

An extremely rare “Naval Brigade” Boer War Medal awarded to Leading Stoker D. J. Sandford, H.M.S. Doris: his award is believed to be the only extant example with a “Wepener” clasp

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902
, 7 clasps, Belmont, Modder River, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Wepener, Diamond Hill, Belfast (159980 Ldg. Sto. D. J. Sandford, H.M.S. Doris), the Wepener clasp sometime re-riveted, good very fine, together with his official duplicate Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 1 clasp, Belmont, loose on riband (159980 D. J. Sandford, Lg. Stoker 1st Cl., H.M.S. Doris), this with defective re-riveted suspension bar, polished, fine (2) £1800-2200


Ex Lovell Collection, Sotheby’s, 16 November 1978 (Lot 513); and the official duplicate purchased direct from a family source.

33 7-clasp Queen’s South Africa Medals were awarded to the ship’s company of H.M.S. Doris, 18 of them erroneously including the “Wepener” clasp instead of that for “Johannesburg”; see Barrett J. Carr’s related article published in the O.M.R.S. Journal (Summer 1977 edition), in which he examines the background to Sandford’s Queen’s South Africa Medal(s) and clasps in detail.

The official roll (ADM. 171/53), which confirms Sandford’s entitlement to the above described Medal and clasps, but has a later annotation striking out the “Wepener” clasp in favour of that for “Johannesburg”, states:

‘Medal sent to Sandford, 31 Jan. 1902, H.M.S. Vivid’. Duplicate issued No. 6471 to Caesar, 10 Nov. 1905; see duplicate papers for suspected substitution; returned to Arsenal Jan. 1906.’

David James Sandford was born in Antrim, Ireland in December 1868 and entered the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class in April 1891. Joining H.M.S. Doris in November 1897, he was landed for service with the Naval Brigade in South Africa, under Captain J. E. Bearcroft, R.N., and received a ‘special mention’ in the same officer’s despatch of 17 October 1900, in addition to advancement to Leading Stoker 1st Class in the latter month.

Advanced to Chief Stoker in November 1902, Sandford was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy 1912-17, finally being discharged in the latter year.