ASHANTEE 1873-4, CLASP: COOMASSIE; TO ‘CAPT: & BT. MAJOR. A.W. DUNCAN, B.BY. 4TH. BDE. RA 1873-4’; SOUTH AFRICA 1877-9, CLASP 1879; ‘MAJOR. A.W. DUNCAN. R.A’; SPAIN: MEDAL FOR CAMPAIGNS IN AFRICA WITH THE ENGRAVED DATE: ‘1860’. THESE ALL ATTRACTIVELY HOUSED IN A FITTED CASE WITH HINGED LID.
Army List entry:
‘Lt. Colonel A. W. Duncan served in the Ashanti War in 1874 in the Transport Service. Commanded the post of Fommanah during the repulse of the enemy's attack, and was slightly wounded (mentioned in despatches for the " energetic defence of the post," Brevet of Major, Medal with Clasp). Proceeded to Natal in March 1879 in command of the ammunition column and served during the remainder of the Zulu war, and commanded the Artillery of Brigadier Clarke's Column in the second advance to Ulundi (Medal with Clasp).’
Alexander William Duncan was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the Royal Artillery on 7th April 1856, and first saw active service as a military observer attached to the Spanish forces in North Africa in 1860 when he took part in the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859 to 1860. It was common practice (as it still is today), for friendly Nations to send specially selected Officers to observe how Armies they were allied to performed militarily during campaigns. These Officers would often serve with the Staff, where they were more able to see the ‘big picture’ of events, taking notes and making observations which would be relayed to the British Army on their return. For his service, Lieutenant Duncan was presented with Spanish Moroccan War Campaign medal, which was quite possibly a unique Award to the British Army.
Promoted to Captain on 29th August 1866, Duncan, was again selected as a Special Service Officer but this time service with the British Army during the Ashantee War of 1873-4. During this particularly hard fought campaign, Captain Duncan found himself in command of a small force defending the village of Fommanah against overwhelming odds, during which he was wounded, suffering a gunshot to the leg. Captain Duncan was subsequently Mentioned in Despatches for his ‘energetic defence of the post’ and Awarded the Brevet of Major on 1st April 1874 for his services during the War.
Retiring as an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in 1880 due to ill health, no doubt brought on by his extensive service in Africa. Lieut. Col. Alexander William Duncan, Royal Artillery died on February 6th 1896 at Coates Crescent, Edinburgh. He was noted as the youngest son of the late Thomas Duncan, Esq of Grenada
A rare and hugely interesting group of medals to an Officer twice picked for Special Service, wounded, Mentioned in Dispatches and Awarded a Brevet for the Ashantee War and commanded officer of his battery during the Zulu War!
Condition the first with officially corrected ‘A’ of unit and date, generally GVF and rare, with contemporary velvet-lined, fitted leather case. Ex DNW 2003