Medals from the Collection of Peter Duckers

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Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £600

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Great War 1918 ‘Mesopotamia’ M.B.E., Second War Indian Police Medal group of nine awarded to Lieutenant Colonel M. G. O’Leary, Indian Army, who was three times Mentioned in Despatches

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Military) Member’s 1st type breast badge, silver, hallmarks for London 1919; Indian Police Medal, G.VI.R., for Distinguished Conduct (M. G. O’Leary M.B.E., L.A. Commandant, Eastern Frontier Rifles. Bengal.); British War Medal 1914-20 (Lieut. M. G. O.Leary); Victory Medal 1914-19, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Capt. M. G. O’Leavy [sic].); General Service 1918-62, 2 clasps, Kurdistan, Iraq, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt. M. G. O’ Leary.); India General Service 1908-35, 2 clasps, Waziristan 1921-24, North West Frontier 1930-31 (Capt. M. G. O’Leary, 50 S.C.C.); India Service Medal 1939-45; War Medal 1939-45; Coronation 1937, unnamed as issued, mounted for display in this order, very fine or better (9) £600-£800

Footnote

M.B.E. London Gazette 18 November 1918:
‘For distinguished service in connection with military operations in Mesopotamia’


M.I.D. London Gazette 3 August 1918 (Mesopotamia); 12 February 1920 (Central Kurdistan); 9 September 1921 (Iraq).

Michael George O’Leary was born in Dagshai, India, in May 1896, the son of Charles O’Leary, a civil engineer with the Indian Railways, and was educated at St. Joseph’s College, Naini Tal. After early service with the Naini Tal Volunteer Rifles, O’Leary was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment on 5 July 1916 in India and shortly thereafter was appointed to the Indian Army Reserve of Officers. He was posted to the 87th Punjabis on 30 August 1916 with which he served in India until 14 April 1917, whereupon he served on the staff with the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force and was promoted Lieutenant on 26 May 1917, Captain on 14 February 1918 and was awarded the M.B.E., unique to his regiment, for distinguished service. He was additionally Mentioned in General Marshall’s Despatch for Mesopotamia (London Gazette 3 August 1918).

At the conclusion of hostilities O’Leary rejoined the 87th Punjabis, serving with them in Kurdistan operations in 1919, and was again Mentioned in Despatches, ‘for valuable services rendered during military operations in Central Kurdistan’ (London Gazette 12 February 1920). He saw further action during the Iraq rebellion, 1919-20, and was Mentioned in Despatches a third time, ‘for distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty’ (London Gazette 9 September 1921).

O'Leary served during the Waziristan Operations of 1920-22 and was for a time transferred to the 50th Sillidar Camel Corps. He then served with the 5/2nd Punjabis, including garrison duty at Hong Kong, 1925-27 and in Shanghai in 1927. After further service on the North West Frontier in 1930-31, O'Leary was advanced Major in March 1935, and in 1937 was posted as Assistant Commandant (later Commandant) of the Eastern Frontier Rifles, a para-military frontier police force, remaining in post until 1941, and receiving the Indian Police Medal for Distinguished Conduct for his services.

O'Leary raised the 8th/2nd Punjabis (75th Brigade) in Meerut in July 1941 and commanded the battalion during the Second World War in Waziristan on the North West Frontier. Appointed Commander of the 75th Infantry Brigade in June 1942, in addition to his duties with the 8/2 Punjabis, he was appointed Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General of Sind Brigade area in October 1943, and was then posted to HQ Staff, N.W. Army, in November 1944, remaining in that post until he retired in 1946. He died at Westgate-on-Sea in May 1966.

Sold with an original letter regarding the presentation of the Indian Police Medal by the Governor at Government House in July 1941, and a copy of the Royal Warrant; together with copied research.