A recent auction held at the Bourne saleroom saw multiple internet bidders and a telephone bidder battle to become the successful purchaser of a George VI Distinguished Conduct medal. Bidding finished at an impressive £4,800 for the highly revered medal awarded to an extraordinary individual.
The Distinguished Conduct medal was instituted during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1854 during the Crimean War and was awarded to non-commissioned officers and private soldiers who displayed gallantry within the British Empire and Commonwealth countries. From 1942 members of the Navy and Royal Air Force were also included within its recipients, but in 1993 the medal was discontinued along with other awards for bravery and replaced with awards such as the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. After the Victoria Cross the Distinguished Conduct medal was the second highest medal for gallantry one could receive.
The medal sold at Bourne in the November sale was awarded to Corporal EM Sayle from the Cameronians or Scottish Rifles following his exploits during the Burma campaign in March 1942.
During the evening of the 4th March Corporal Sayle formed part of a patrol which entered the village of Payagyi. Sayle spotted a party of the enemy cooking by the fire and crawled up to them and fired at close range with a light machine gun, killing five; this fire caused a mortar machine gun to open fire on him. Sayle immediately stalked this gun and threw a grenade which knocked it over and the crew of three at Mazin just South of Pegu. When it was reported that the Battalion Headquarters was surrounded, a patrol under Corporal Sayle was sent out to locate these headquarters. Sayle found that their rear was covered by an enemy machine gun which prevented their withdrawal, and ordered two men to cover his advance, stalked this post and threw two grenades into it, killing four of the enemy and capturing the gun. On 7th March near Kayadsku, although the road block was cleared and enemy fire silenced as carriers had not been fired on, it was not clear whether soft transport would be fired on, Corporal Sayle volunteered to go through on a motorcycle, he was fired on and wounded in the face.
A newspaper clipping of Sayle’s exploits along with a notice of his death were sold alongside his medal at the sale, an astonishing men well deserving of such an award.