Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 & 20 July 2017)

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th July 2017

Sold for £5,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

A Scarce ‘Ashantee 1873-74’ D.C.M. group of four awarded to Sergeant Instructor of Musketry W. Street, 42nd Royal Highlanders, who was wounded at the Battle of Amoaful, 31 January 1874

Distinguished Conduct Medal, V.R. (Serjt. William Street. 42nd. Regt.); Indian Mutiny 1857-59, no clasp (Wm. Street, 42nd Highlanders) suspension claw loose; Ashantee 1873-74, 1 clasp, Coomassie (269. Serjt. I. of M. W. Street. 42nd Highds 1873-4); Army L.S. & G.C., V.R., 3rd issue, small letter reverse (269. Sergt. I. of M. W. Street. 42nd Foot) contact marks, nearly very fine or better (4) £5000-6000


Provenance: DNW, July 2001.

William Street, Royal Highlanders was awarded the D.C.M. for his services in the Ashantee War of 1873-74, in particular at Amoaful, 31 January 1874, where he was wounded: ‘The cheerful disregard of personal danger of Sergeant-Instructor of Musketry Street, though badly wounded in the thigh.’. His medal was presented to him by the Queen at Windsor Castle on 16 May 1874.

William Street was born in Ashton-Remenham, near Henley on Thames, Berkshire, and attested for the 42nd Foot at Westminster, in January 1858. He served with the Regiment during the Indian Mutiny, and advanced to Sergeant in March 1862. Street was promoted to Sergeant Instructor of Musketry just prior to his service during the Ashantee campaign. The Regiment arrived on the Gold Coast in January 1874, ‘and proceeded with the rest of the troops into the interior... the main body of the Ashantis were encamped on the hill rising towards the town of Amoaful.... When, on the morning of the 31st [January 1874], the front of the force was a few hundred yards beyond the village of Eginkassi, it was assailed by a heavy fire from a hidden enemy. Five companies of the Black Watch were already in skirmishing order, and the slugs were dropping thick and fast. There were few officers who did not receive some injury, and nearly 100 of the men were wounded. Captain Rait’s shells soon forced the enemy to clear the road. The Black Watch took instant advantage of their gradual retirement. Sir Archibald Alison saw that the moment had come, and he bade the pipers play up. With a ringing cheer the Highlanders went straight at the concealed foe. The Ashantis gradually disappeared, and by 11am the village of Amoaful was in British occupation. Of the Black Watch, Major Baird was mortally wounded; Major Macpherson (Cluny), Captains Creagh and Whitehead, Lieutenants Berwick, Stevenson, Cumberland and Mowbray, and 104 men were wounded. After the long battle of Ordah-su on the morning of February 4th, in which Captain Moore and Lieutenants Grogan and Wauchope were wounded - the last severely, the troops entered Coomassie and gave three cheers for the Queen. The Black Watch was the first to enter, the pipers playing at its head....

The campaign thus at an end, Sir Garnet Wolseley brought his force back without delay to the coast.... The Victoria Cross was bestowed upon Sergeant Samuel McGaw. The non-commissioned officers and men who were selected to receive medals “for distinguished conduct in the field,” and had them presented by the Queen in the presence of Colonel Sir John C. McLeod, K.C.B., commanding the regiment, were William Street, sergeant-instructor of musketry; Sergeant Henry Barton; Privates John White, George Ritchie, George Cameron, and William Bell; Piper James Weatherspoon; Privates Henry Jones, William Nichol, and Thomas Adams.’ (The Black Watch, The Record of an Historic Regiment, by A. Forbes, refers)

Street was awarded the L.S. & G.C. in January 1876, and was discharged 21 January 1879, having served 21 years and 7 days with the Colours.