Medals & Coins, Arms & Armour - 14 Dec 2021


A First World War Belgian Coast D.S.M. group of five medals to Leading Telegraphist Alexander

£600 - £800 £1,100

A First World War Belgian Coast D.S.M. group of five medals to Leading Telegraphist Alexander McKintosh Cowie, Royal Navy: Distinguished Service Medal, George V (J. 18622. A. M.CK. COWIE, LDG TEL "EREBUS" BELGIAN COAST. 1, JULY - 11, NOV. 1918), slightly irregular chamfer to edge, terminal date numerals run together, good very fine and attractively toned; 1914-15 Star (J. 18622, A. MCK. COWIE, TEL., R.N.), very fine; British War and Victory Medals (J 18622 A. MC K. COWIE. L. TEL. R.N.), some discolouration, otherwise very fine or better; Russia: Medal of St George for Bravery, 3rd Class, a modern replacement copy, nearly extremely fine; the first four mounted for wearing. [5] Offered together with the recipient's personal journal of the war for 1916, a mounted group of five dress miniature medals, ribbon bars, a presentation copy of the D.S.M. recommendation, photographs including the recipient, and a small collection of other ephemera.

D.S.M. LG: 15/02/1919, "for services in monitors off the Belgian Coast.."

Alexander Cowie was born 21st January 1897 at Cambuslang police station in Lanarkshire, the son of a police sergeant. He joined the Royal Navy in 1912 as Boy 2nd Class, and at the start of the First World War he was serving in the armoured cruiser H.M.S. Roxburgh as Boy Telegrapher. He served in various ships in home waters, including the boom defence vessel H.M.S. Flying Fish, and the coastal monitor H.M.S. Erebus. During the final stages of the war Erebus bombarded enemy positions n support of the troops advancing along the coast, and Cowie was awarded the D.S.M. in recognition of the highly effecting and vital role that he played in this. In the recommendation Vice-Admiral Keyes states that "I consider that it was due to Cowie's ability and work, and the good gunnery of the ship that the Infantry during the last offensive on the coast were able to advance in the Sector allocated to the "Erebus" with very few casualties"

The extant volume of Cowie's journal covers 1916, during which year he volunteered for service ashore, manning W/T posts for communication with the fleet. He describes various instances of close combat with the opposing German forces. In other entries, he shares the broad insight that his job as wireless operator afforded him, with many references to naval actions and lesser incidents, both in home waters and globally.

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