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Legacy of local WWI hero set to sell at auction

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With the country poised to mark the centenary of the First World War, a local auction house is set to sell a collection of medals – including a very rare gallantry medal – that recognised the actions of a Wolverhampton soldier in the conflict.

 
Awarded to one Corporal S Peake of the South Staffordshire Regiment, the collection includes a George V. 1st type Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) – of which only 25,000 were ever issued. The DCM, alongside a British War Medal (BM), a Victory Medal (VM) and S. Staffs cap badge are being sold along with a 9 carat gold open faced pocket watch which carries the engraving “Presented to Cpl. S. Peake 1st South Staffs on his gaining the DCM by Mrs J Cahill on behalf of the inhabitants of Heath Town 19.7.19” on the inner cover. 
 
While little is known about the act which won Cpl. Peake his gallantry medal, included within the lot is a card recognising his bravery in action on the night of the 8th/9th August 1918, signed by Brigadier General S Steele, commander of the 7th Division and dated 23rd August 1918. A photograph of Cpl. Peake in later life is also part of the collection.
 
Cuttlestones’ medals and militaria expert, Adrian Simmons, explains the particular appeal of this lot:
 
This is a great lot for either serious medal collectors or those interested in local history. This is the first time the collection has been to market which, combined with the rarity of the DCM and the inclusion of the engraved gold pocketwatch – which was presented to the soldier in question by members of his own community – makes it particularly interesting. With the increased interest in WWI as we start to mark the conflict’s centenary, we estimate that this lot could generate considerable interest and realise in the region of £1,000-1,500.
 
The medals are set to come under the hammer at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms on Friday, 28th February 2014.  Viewing will be from 10am – 7pm on Thursday, 27th February and the morning of the sale, with the catalogue available online at www.cuttlestones.co.uk from Friday, 21st February. For those unable to attend on the day of the sale, telephone, commission and live internet bidding options are available. For further information call 01902 421985.
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