AN early issue Queen’s Gallantry Medal is expected to reach between £10,000 and £12,000 at auction later this month, as part of a large and important sale of militaria.

The collection, which also features more than 250 lots relating to the famed Gordon Highlanders regiment, will be showcased as part of Elstob & Elstob’s Fine Art and Antiques Sale on Saturday, February 20, and marks the establishment of the Ripon-based auction house’s new specialist Department of Militaria, Nauticalia and Sporting Antiques.

A key item in the sale is a Queen’s Gallantry Medal awarded to the late Acting Flight Sergeant William Barker Oldroyd, Royal Air Force Provost and Security Services, for action during the Cyprus emergency of 1974. It is being offered with Oldroyd's RAF Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and matching miniature medals, together with a comprehensive portfolio chronicling the circumstances giving rise to the award of the QGM.

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal was instituted on 20 June 1974 to replace the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry and the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and was intended to award gallantry for non-military acts of bravery or military acts in situations where the country was not officially 'at war'.

Acting Flight Sergeant William Barker Oldroyd’s medal was awarded jointly with his Commanding Officer Acting Squadron Leader RA Chasemore for their actions on 21 July 1974 when the pair dealt with a fire adjacent to a petrol store at the civilian location of Nicosia International Airport and while under enemy fire from Turkish aircraft.

According to reports, if the fire had not been extinguished, the bulk fuel store would almost certainly have exploded and, as a consequence, severely damaged the ground operations room, killing or injuring the personnel inside and also destroying the control organisation of the nearby military RAF station.

David Douglas, who is in charge of the new Militaria Department at Elstob & Elstob, said: “We are expecting a great deal of interest in the medal which is one of the first of its type to be awarded. Examples of other Queen’s Gallantry Medals include the gentleman who came to Princess Anne's rescue during the attempt to abduct her from a vehicle in The Mall. Many civilians, not entitled to military awards, came under its umbrella when what they did stood out as gallantry rather than simply a brave act.

“This particular medal is also in excellent condition and accompanied by a fascinating portfolio containing original correspondence of congratulations, press photographs and cuttings, together with all investiture documentation,” he added.

Also included in the sale is a single-owner collection of militaria associated with the Gordon Highlanders, a line infantry regiment of the British Army, from 1881 until 1994, whose origins go back to 1787. It comprises uniform, accoutrements, medals, insignia, silver and plate, ephemera and weapons, postcards and general collectables.

Amongst the highlights are a pair of steel Scottish belt pistols circa 1850 which carry a price estimate of £6,000 to £8,000; a superb Gordon Highlanders’ sweetheart brooch featuring 23 diamonds, two rubies and two emeralds mounted in white and yellow gold that has been valued between £1,500 and £1,700; and a Waterloo Medal awarded to a Private in the 92nd Highlanders expected to reach £1,000 - £1,500.

“The prices for militaria are holding up very well at the moment and the market is particularly buoyant,” said David Douglas. “The Gordon Highlanders also have a strong following of devotees and are regarded by many as one of the finest regiments the British Army has ever seen. Traditionally drawing its troops from the North East of Scotland, the regiment was comprised of ordinary men - farmers and fishermen, ghillies and labourers – who had an extraordinary sense of duty, with a history in battle that still attracts interest today.”

Elstob & Elstob introduced the Department for Militaria, Nauticalia and Sporting Antiques at the end of last year to build on the growing following in this area both at a regional and national level. It is run by David Douglas, who has spent over 50 years’ cataloguing and auctioneering in this exciting field, and joins the auction house’s 12 other specialist departments.

The sale on February 20 will take place online, starting at 10am, at www.elstobandelstob.co.uk.

All of the lots are illustrated and described in the catalogue, found at www.elstobandelstob.co.uk and anyone wishing to discuss the pieces in more detail or request a condition report can get in touch with the auction house by calling 01765 699200 or emailing info@elstobandelstob.co.uk.

On the day, bids can either be made via the website or by telephone. The sale takes place on Saturday 20 February starting at 10am.

The auction house has enjoyed considerable success with its online auctions during previous lockdown periods with hundreds of bidders logging on at each event.