The Collection of Second World War and Modern Gallantry Awards formed by the late William Oakley

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Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £8,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A fine Northern Ireland Q.G.M. group of three awarded to Sergeant H. A. F. McCutcheon, Black Watch

Queen’s Gallantry Medal, E.II.R. (23728992 Sgt. Henry A. F. McCutcheon, B.W.); U.N. Cyprus; General Service 1962, 1 clasp, Northern Ireland (23728992 S. Sgt. H.A.F. McCutcheon, B.W.), first with minor official correction to first four digits of regimental number, otherwise good very fine (3) £4000-5000

Footnote

Q.G.M. London Gazette 25 March 1975.

The following regarding the incident for which McCutcheon almost certainly received his Q.G.M. is extracted from the journal of the Black Watch, The Red Hackle:

‘The story of one gentleman’s kneecap goes like this. It was a hot summer afternoon and a 20 platoon multiple patrol commanded by Colour-Sergeant McCutcheon was searching a house in Glen Road. A group of young men including Paddy McIlhone was drinking on the steps of the Glenowen Inn. The Company Commander reported their presence over the radio and continued patrolling the area. A mobile patrol from the mortar platoon was carrying out a vehicle control point in the Falls Road.

Suddenly the sound of two shots followed by three more in quick succession broke the silence - Paddy McIlhone had been shot twice in the leg and the fleeing gunman had fired three more shots at a crowd of youths who gave chase. Colour-Sergant McCutcheon immediately raced to the Glenowan and reported the gunman escaping in a white car with a peppermint green stripe down the side. There then followed an exciting chase after the car into Turf Lodge with the Mortar Platoon taking the eastern approach so sealing the escape route to the north and the Company Commander hot on the trail of the speeding car and channelling it through the narrow streets into the Mortar Platoon trap. Alas the occupants of the car debouched into the crowded streets and disappeared into the warren of flats. The villains had slipped through our fingers by a hair’s breadth. This was just one of the many instances of inter-factional banditry between the Official and Provisional I.R.A.’