Newly in the navy: Falklands Distinguished Service Medal could sail to $79,000

paulfrasercollectibles

2015-06-26 12:33:47

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Newly in the navy: Falklands Distinguished Service Medal could sail to $79,000

John Leake, who signed up as war was declared when he was on board ship, played his part

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Dix Noonan Webb's medal auction next week is going ahead with one of the highlight already clear as a very rare New Zealand Cross is going under the hammer.

New Zealand Crosses were awarded to those in the country thought to deserve recognition along the lines of a Victoria Cross, but considered ineligible for that award at the time. The award is expected to bring 60,000 (NZ$115,300 or US$98,100).

It's certainly not the only highlight however, as outstanding Falklands War Distinguished Service Medal (D.S.M.) group of three awarded to Petty Officer John Leake, Royal Navy is also on offer.

DSM medal set Falklands warDSM medal set Falklands war

Formerly of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, Leake was an experienced army machine-gunner, who elected to sign on to the Royal Navy from the civilian NAAFI at short notice as war was declared whilst he was aboard the HMS Ardent.

Leake had the option to remain with the NAAFI and be flown home, but instead signed up as a Petty Officer. The technicality of signing up was important, as it he was aware that the Geneva Convention applied to military men only, if he were captured.

Nevertheless Leake was not expecting to do any actual fighting, thinking that the move to the islands was just a sabre-rattling manoeuvre. But then the Belgrano and the Sheffield were sunk and the crew became worried.

Sure enough, a sustained bombing raid was launched on the Ardent from the air with the aft of the ship repeatedly hit, and eventually sunk. As the planes arrived, Leake took to his natural post at the machine gun and fired indefatigably. It was later confirmed that he had shot one down.

Only twelve D.S.M's. were awarded for gallantry during the Falklands war. Leake's citation notes: "His courage, steadfastness and total disregard for his own safety undoubtedly saved the ship from many further attacks and was an inspiration to all those in the vicinity."

The D.S.M. set will go under the hammer with a 40,000-50,000 listing on September 23 in London.

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