The relatively short nature of the war, the small numbers of troops who served in hard-fought heroic actions plus the involvement of renowned regiments such as the Paras, means honours are rare and sought after.
On December 3 a Distinguished Conduct Medal group of nine medals sold to a UK collector for £150,000 against an estimate of £100,000-120,000. They were awarded to Parachute Regiment D Company Platoon Sergeant JC Meredith who consigned them for sale in the hope of enjoying a financially secure retirement.
Meredith saw action at Goose Green on the night of May 28-29, 1982, making an impact following the loss of the battalion’s forceful and charismatic leader, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘H’ Jones VC and again on June 14-15 during three separate attacks at Wireless Ridge.
Only eight DCMs were awarded during the South Atlantic conflict.
However, DNW had another in its sale on September 17. This group of six medals awarded to Sergeant JS Pettinger, of the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, fetched £130,000 (estimate £100,000-120,000).
Pettinger’s D Company were the ‘eyes and ears’ of his unit and carried out extensive close-target reconnaissance among enemy lines in order to provide accurate descriptions of routes and enemy locations prior to the assault on Mount Longdon. Again, the medals were being sold by Pettinger himself.
Under attack in ‘Bomb Alley’
Of the Task Force vessels familiar to TV viewers back home, the amphibious assault ship HMS Fearless became an enduring symbol alongside those such as Hermes and Canberra.
A medal group awarded to one of the Royal Navy servicemen who served onboard, Lt David Clarke, a command planning and naval intelligence officer, was offered at Lewes auction house Wallis & Wallis (24% buyer’s premium) on December 1.
A 1982 South Atlantic Medal with rosette for combat zone service and a General Service Medal with one clasp for Northern Ireland were accompanied by the recipient’s personal archive from the Falklands conflict.
This included a hand-written shorthand-type daily briefing notebook giving movement details of various Argentine vessels such as the Santa Fe, one of the Argentinian Navy’s two operational submarines later captured during a helicopter attack.
Photographs included a near-miss when Fearless was in ‘Bomb Alley’ – the fight in San Carlos Water in which British ships the Antelope and Coventry were sunk. One of the Fearless’ landing craft, Foxtrot 4, was lost later with six killed.
Estimated at £1500-1600, the medals and collection sold for £2300.