top of page

Distinguished Conduct: A Tangible Connection To The Past

war medals militaria antiques central coast auction house

Objects that come into the auction house at Swan Deverell are seen as more than just another lot to pass under the hammer. Historic objects can also evoke emotions, hold memories and tell important stories.

War medals in particular provide a tangible connection to the past and to the sacrifices made by those who served in the military. Each medal represents a specific individual who played a role in defending their country and its values, and who may have made significant sacrifices in the process.

By studying war medals, we can learn about the lives of the people who earned them, including their personal experiences, achievements, and contributions to their country's military efforts. This can help us to appreciate the sacrifices and heroism of those who served, and to understand the impact of war on individuals and societies.

Consigned to Swan Deverell: Distinguished Conduct Medal

The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) is a military decoration awarded to non-commissioned officers and other ranks of the British Army and Commonwealth forces. It was first established in 1854 during the Crimean War is typically awarded to soldiers who have shown exceptional bravery and devotion to duty in the face of the enemy, and who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities. The medal is one of the highest awards that can be given to a warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or member of the British Army.

Made of silver, the DCM pictured (far left) is Victorian issue with the obverse showing a Trophy of Arms with a central shield bearing the Royal Coat of Arms without any inscription. Later DCMs bear the monarch's effigy on the obverse side. The reverse side of the medal features the words ‘For Distinguished Conduct in the Field’. The ribbon is crimson with a central stripe of dark blue.

The DCM has been awarded to soldiers from a wide range of regiments and units, and has been earned in numerous conflicts, including the Crimean War, the Boer War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

Edwin A Stebbing of the Devonshire and Royal Warwickshire Regiments.

The medals pictured belonged to Edwin A Stebbing who was awarded the DCM for conspicuous gallantry on 23 February 1900. Stebbing is recorded as having carried wounded men from the firing line under very heavy fire during the relief of Ladysmith, a significant

military operation during the Second Boer War. Ladysmith was a town that was besieged by Boer forces for several months, and the relief of the town was a critical objective for the British forces.

The siege of Ladysmith began on 2 November 1899, when Boer forces surrounded the town and cut off all communication and supply lines. The British launched several unsuccessful attempts to break the siege and relieve the town, but their efforts were hampered by a lack of resources, poor communication, and rugged terrain. The situation in Ladysmith grew increasingly dire as the town ran out of food and medical supplies, and disease began to spread among the troops.

On 27 February 1900, British troops broke through the Boer lines and reached Ladysmith, lifting the siege and bringing much-needed relief to the town's inhabitants. The relief of Ladysmith was a major turning point in the war, as it marked a significant British victory over the Boers and boosted morale among the British troops.

The campaign was not without its costs, however. The British suffered heavy casualties in their battles with the Boers, and disease continued to take a toll on the troops. The Boers also suffered losses, but they were able to regroup and continue their resistance against the British forces.

Significantly, also consigned to Swan Deverell are Edwin Stebbing's diaries which include records of his time in South Africa. More work will be undertaken to research these important historic documents before they go to auction.

The Edwin Stebbing Medal Collection

Distinguished Conduct Medal – Victorian issue

George VI Meritorious Service Medal

Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for Orange Free State, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith.

King’s (Edward VII) South Africa Medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902.

British War Medal 1914 – 18.

Long Service and Good Conduct (George V)

King George V Silver Jubilee Medal


bottom of page