Lot Archive


№ 331


12 May 1993

Hammer Price:

A scarce I.G.S., China pair to Lieutenant G.C. Sconce, Indian Navy

INDIA GENERAL SERVICE 1854-95, 1 clasp, Persia (Actg. Lieut., Ferooz S.F.); CHINA 1857-60, 1 clasp, Taku Forts 1860 (Ag. Lieut., H.M. Str. Ferooz I.N.) both medals fitted with contemporary ribbon buckles, some contact marks, therefore nearly very fine or better (2)

Gideon Colquhoun Sconce entered the Indian Navy as Midshipman in 1851. During the Persian campaign 1856-57, Sconce was acting Lieutenant of the Steam Frigate Ferooz and was present at the attack on Bushire. The night before the attack, Sconce performed an important task in taking a boat with muffled oars to buoy a fourteen foot channel off the batteries, thus enabling the Ferooz to advance three hundred yards within the other ships. The Ferooz, under the command of Commander J. Rennie, played an important part throughout the campaign in Persia. On the occasion of the wreck in Back Bay, near Bombay, of the ship Natalie, during a heavy gale of wind, on the 23rd July, 1859, Lieutenant Sconce, and other officers of the service, with some boat's crews of volunteers, succeeded in rescuing a great portion of the ship's crew. Commodore Wellesley issued a Squadron Order, expressive of the ‘high sense he entertained of the courageous energy displayed by those officers and seamen of Her Majesty's Indian Navy in port’ employed on that occasion. In the latter part of 1859 the Indian Navy assisted in some operations undertaken for the suppression of the Waghers, a piratical race who, from time immemorial, had made their haunts in the Peninsula of Okhamundel, on the coast of Kattywar. Lieutenant Sconce was part of the Naval contingent in the expedition of September, 1859, sent to engage the Waghers. In the operations against the fortress of Beyt, the Ferooz alone fired one thousand four hundred rounds of shot and shell. The fortress was taken but not without a number of casualties and the expedition moved on to take the fort and town of Dwarka. An account of these operations written by Lieutenant Sconce is contained in the 'History of the Indian Navy' by C. R. Low in which he concludes ‘It was a great shame the Government refused the mutiny medal for Beyt, for it was well known that many of the rebels were there aiding and abetting the Waghers, who were the very devils to fight’. In 1860 the Ferooz conveyed Lord Elgin, Her Majesty's special envoy to the Court of Pekin, to China and took part in the operations against the Taku Forts. Sconce earned the China War Medal for these services, the last to be gained by the Indian Navy as a service, as it was abolished in 1863 when Sconce was pensioned off.