Orders, Decorations and Medals (8 September 2015)

Date of Auction: 8th September 2015

Sold for £850

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Great War anti-U-boat operations D.S.C. group of four attributed to Lieutenant-Commander N. Leslie, Royal Naval Reserve, who was commended for his gallantry on the occasion of the loss of the armed merchant steamer Duke of Albany off the Orkneys in August 1916 - hit by a torpedo from the UB-27, she went down in six minutes

Distinguished Service Cross, G.V.R., hallmarks for London 1917, in its Garrard & Co. case of issue; 1914-15 Star, naming erased; British War Medal 1914-20 (Lieut. N. Leslie, R.N.R.), re-impressed naming; Victory Medal 1914-19, M.I.D. oak leaf (Lieut. N. Leslie, R.N.R.), very fine or better (4) £600-800

Footnote

D.S.C. London Gazette 22 February 1918:

‘For services in action with enemy submarines.’

Norman Leslie, who was born in January 1889, was appointed a Sub. Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve in September 1914 and, a few weeks later, joined the armed merchant steamer H.M.S.
Duke of Albany.

He remained similarly employed until her loss on 24 August 1916, when she was torpedoed and sunk by the
UB-27 off the Orkneys. The ship went down in six minutes with the loss of 25 lives, Leslie distinguishing himself by rescuing a sick patient from below decks and by making three trips in the Duke of Clarence’s boats - the Duke of Albany’s consort - to gather up survivors. He was duly awarded an Admiralty commendation and advanced to Lieutenant.

His subsequent appointments included the repair ship
Sandhurst, the Mavis and time on the books of the President for special services at the Admiralty from December 1917. Having then returned to sea in the Pekin in March 1918, he added a “mention” to his accolades ‘for valuable services in the prosecution of the War’ (London Gazette 16 September 1919, refers).

Leslie, who was advanced to Lieutenant-Commander in September 1924, and who was awarded the Reserve Decoration, died in January 1932; sold with copied research, including Court of Enquiry reports into the loss of the
Duke of Albany.

Note: some sources state that Norman was present in the S.S. Clan Grant when she was captured and sunk by the German raider Emden off the Maldives in October 1914, although this does not appear to be the case from his service record.