Auction Catalogue

20 August 2020

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The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

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№ 403


20 August 2020

Hammer Price:

Pair: Lieutenant J. F. Duncan, Honourable Artillery Company and City of London Imperial Volunteers, who was Mentioned in Despatches, most likely for gallantry at Barkin Kop on 3 July 1900, during the Boer War; later Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Field Artillery, he was twice more Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the D.S.O. for his services during the Great War

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, Transvaal, Wittebergen (Lieut. J. F. Duncan. C.I.V.); City of London Imperial Volunteers for South Africa 1899-1900 Medallion, 76mm, bronze, the obverse featuring a seated female figure with sword, presenting the freedom of the city to a uniformed man in the City Imperial Volunteers, the reverse featuring the radiant sun of the British Empire shining behind a hill which is surmounted by a tall staff flying the Union Flag and C.I.V. Flag, guarded by two guns, the edge inscribed in large capitals ‘C. O. Greenwell, Lieut. C.I.V.’, in fitted and embossed case of issue, edge inscribed in large capitals ‘J. F. Duncan, Lieut. C.I.V.’ in fitted and embossed case of issue, nearly extremely fine (2) £400-£500

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria.

View The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria


Provenance: Baldwin’s, November 1971.

London Gazette 4 June 1917.

James Fergus Duncan was born in Southampton in 1873, the eldest son of Mr and Mrs David Duncan, of Thornleigh, Hampshire. Engaged for some time as a Solicitor in London, he joined the Honourable Artillery Company in 1895 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the City Imperial Volunteers on 12 January 1900. He served as a Lieutenant with the C.I.V. Battery in South Africa during the Boer War and was present at the fierce action around Barkin Kop near Bethlehem on 3 July 1900. In the course of this action, the guns of the C.I.V. and the 38th Battery, Royal Field Artillery had been taken to a ridge where they came under fire and during a pause in the action, while the escort had been moved to the rear, the Boers counter-attacked and gained temporary possession of the guns of the 38th Battery. A battle for repossession of which then ensued:
‘All the gunners too were killed or wounded. The Boers were thus in actual possession of three out of four of the 38th Battery guns. Fortunately, instead of pressing forwards at once towards the remaining 38th gun, and, over the intervening rise, to the H.A.C. guns, which were completely at their mercy, they delayed to secure their prisoners and to attempt the removal of the already captured guns. This delay gave time for help to arrive. The Australians, with Captain Budworth at their head, soon appeared on the scene again, were met with a hot fire, but pushed forward with such determination that the Boers abandoned the guns and made off, covered in their retreat by a renewal of shell-fire... As a result of this action the 38th Battery, besides a large number of men, had lost all their officers by death or wounds; and, accordingly, Captain Budworth took temporary command of them, with Lieutenant Duncan, also of the Battery, under him.’ (
The H.A.C. in South Africa by Basil Williams and Erskine Childers)

Duncan was made Honorary Lieutenant in the Army on 1 December 1900 and Mentioned in Despatches for his services in South Africa - most likely for gallantry at Barkin Kop (
London Gazette 10 September 1901).

On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of the Great War, Duncan was transferred from the Veteran Company and made Captain, B Battery in the Honourable Artillery Company, Territorial Force. Serving on the Western Front with the Royal Field Artillery from 12 December 1915, Duncan was twice more Mentioned in Despatches (
London Gazettes 18 May 1917 and 21 May 1918) and was awarded the D.S.O. whilst a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel (Capt. Territorial Force), 166th Brigade. He was demobilised to the Territorial Reserve as Lieutenant-Colonel on 18 December 1919, and relinquished his commission on 30 September 1921.