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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 183

(x) A Boer War D.C.M. and Inniskilling Dragoons Retirement Medal group of five awarded to Saddler Staff Sergeant J. Metcalfe, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons

Distinguished Conduct Medal, E.VII.R. (2619 Serjt: J. Metcalfe. 6th. Dragoons.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 5 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast (2619 Serjt J. Metcalf [sic]. 6/Drgns.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (2619 Serjt:-Sdlr. J. Metcalfe. Innis: Drgns:); Army L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (2619 Sdlr: Serjt: J. Metcalfe. 6th. Drgns:); Inniskilling Dragoons Retirement Medal, bronze, the reverse inscribed ‘To 2619 S.Sgt. Saddlr. J. Metcalfe on leaving the Inniskilling Dragoons after 22 Years Good Service 14.5.08’, contact marks, nearly very fine (5)

D.C.M. London Gazette 27 September 1901:

‘In recognition of his services during the operations in South Africa.’

James Metcalfe was born in Richmond, Yorkshire, in 1866 and was a caulker with Richardson & Dick at Stockton by trade. He attested for the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons at Middlesborough on 17 March 1886, having previously served in the 1st North Yorkshire Royal Artillery Volunteers. He was appointed Saddler on 10 October 1888, and was promoted Corporal Saddler on 10 October 1889, and Sergeant on 29 July 1896. Metcalfe served with the 6th Dragoons in South Africa during the Boer War from 24 October 1899-29 October 1902, was promoted Saddler Sergeant on 15 February 1901, and was Mentioned in Lord Roberts’ Despatch of 4 September 1901 (London Gazette 10 September 1901). Besides his D.C.M. and 'mention' for the campaign, he would probably have crossed paths with one Captain Lawrence Edward Grace 'Titus' Oates. Little more needs to be said of the exploits of Oates given his performances in the Antarctic with the ill-fated Scott Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-13, but he showed great gallantry during the Boer War with the 6th Dragoons. Oates was himself severely wounded in action and 'mentioned' (Queen's Medal & 5 clasps; Polar Medal 1904, these exhibited at Spink during 200 Years of Polar Exploration, November 2019).

Metcalfe was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1903, and was promoted Saddler Staff Sergeant on 15 February 1904. He was discharged on 14 May 1908, after 22 years and 59 days’ service. With the outbreak of the Great War, he returned to the fold and re-enlisted in October 1914 and served at home throughout. Variously with the Reserve Cavalry Regiment and the 5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regimental Depot, he was to return to his beloved 6th Dragoons with the Army of the Rhine from September 1919. He was finally discharged in February 1920.

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