Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (17 & 18 July 2019)

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Date of Auction: 17th & 18th July 2019

Sold for £7,500

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

The outstanding Crimean War D.C.M. group of five awarded to Private Robert Holmes, 42nd Royal Highlanders, who was decorated for his gallantry whilst employed as a sharpshooter before Sebastopol in October 1854, and who was killed in action at Lucknow in March 1858

Distinguished Conduct Medal, V.R. (1156. R. Holmes. 42nd Regt.); Crimea 1854-56, 3 clasps, Alma, Balaklava, Sebastopol (1156 Pte R Holmes 42nd Royal Highlanders) regimentally engraved naming; Indian Mutiny 1857-59, 1 clasp, Lucknow (R. Holmes, 42nd Rl. Highlanders); Army L.S. & G.C., V.R., small letter reverse, unnamed as issued; Turkish Crimea 1855, Sardinian issue (1156. R. Holmes. 42nd. Royal Highlanders. Black Watch.) impressed naming, fitted with Crimea suspension, good very fine or better (5) £5,000-£6,000


Provenance: Sotheby, March 1986.

D.C.M. Recommendation dated 4th and 12th January 1855: ‘Gallant conduct when employed as a sharpshooter before Sebastopol between 17th and 24th October, 1854’ (Chronology and Book of Days of the 42nd Royal Highlanders, The Black Watch, from 1729 to 1874, refers).

L.S. & G.C. issued 26 March 1855 with gratuity of £5. At this period medals were distributed to the various regiments unnamed and are to be found in a wide variety of naming styles. Nevertheless, it is most unusual to find an unnamed example in a group as issued.

Robert Holmes was killed at Lucknow on 11 March 1858, in the major action at at Begum Kothi, during which Major William Hodson of Hodson's Horse was also killed. Whilst the 42nd had a number of casualties on this day Holmes was the only man killed, although two men later died of their wounds.