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

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th July 2017

Sold for £6,500

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A fine Egypt D.C.M. and 5 clasp campaign medal group of three awarded to Sergeant J. Sutherland, Royal Highlanders, for gallantry at the Battle of Tamaai, 13 March 1884

Distinguished Conduct Medal, V.R. (2374 Sergt. J. Sutherland. 1/R. Highrs: 13th. March 1884); Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, dated reverse, 5 clasps, Tel-El-Kebir, Suakin 1884, El-Teb-Tamaai, The Nile 1884-85, Abu Klea (2374. Lc. Cpl. J. Sutherland. 1/R. Hrs.) right hand rivet popped between fourth and fifth clasps; Khedive’s Star 1882, unnamed as issued, light pitting, otherwise very fine (3) £4000-5000


D.C.M. London Gazette 6 May 1884, awarded for the battle of Tamaai, 13 March 1884:

‘For distinguished coolness, and for encouraging his comrades at Tamaai.’

John Sutherland was born at Millfield, Inkerkeillor, Forfar, Scotland, in February 1859. He attested for the Royal Highlanders in June 1880, and advanced to Sergeant in January 1884. Rudolph gives the following for the Regiment’s hard fought campaign in Egypt, all of the actions which are listed Sutherland was present for:

‘In 1882, the Egyptian War commenced, and the Royal Highlanders, forming part of the Highland Brigade, stormed the entrenchments of Tel-El-Kebir. General Hamley states:

“The assault began at five minutes to five, the station was captured at half past six, and at seven the whole brigade was again in order. Thus, in that interval of time, the Highland Brigade had broken under a tremendous fire into the middle of the enemy’s entrenchments, had maintained itself there in an arduous and dubious conflict for 20 minutes, had then captured two miles of works and batteries, piercing the enemy’s centre, and loosening their system of defence, and had finished by taking the camp and the railway trains, and again assembling, ready for any further enterprise.”

The words “Egypt, 1882-84,” and “Tel-El-Kebir,” were, by Royal permission, added to the honours of the Black Watch. Next came the fighting near Suakin, the engagements of El Teb and Tamaai followed in quick succession, and such was the conduct of the Black Watch during these actions that Lord Wolseley sent the following telegram: “Well done, old comrades of the Black Watch.” ‘

Sutherland was attached to the Regimental Mounted Infantry Section in September 1884, and served with the Desert Column during the Nile Expedition 1884-1885. 1 officer and 22 other ranks (including Sutherland) of the Royal Highlanders served in the Mounted Infantry Camel Regiment on the Nile, all of whom fought at Abu Klea. He transferred to the Army Reserve in May 1886, and was discharged in 1896. After Sutherland’s military service he was employed by Morningside College, Edinburgh. He died at the Royal Infirmary Perth, in August 1924.