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17/11/2019 04:25am

Medal For The Defence Of Okiep

Conflict
 
The Second Boer War 1899-1902.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The Medal For The Defence Of Okiep was an un-official British Empire campaign medal that was presented by the Cape Copper Company for service during the Boer War. It was ‘instituted’ in 1902 and was to be awarded to the defenders of Okiep, who defended the mining town during a siege by the Boers’ that lasted from 4 April to 4 May 1902 before it was relieved by a force despatched from Cape Town.
 
The ‘garrison’ consisted 932 individuals made up of European miners, Cape Colonials, Namaqualand Town Guard, officers and men of the 5th Warwickshire Militia along with elements of the Cape Garrison Artillery.
 
The medal was awarded in silver to officers and bronze to all others.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in either silver or bronze. The obverse of this medal bears the image of a miner with a spade in his right hand while his left hand rests on a mining cart. The inscription; ‘THE CAPE COPPER COMPANY LIMITED. 1888.’ is located around the circumference of the medal.
 
The reverse is plain but contains the inscription; ‘PRESENTED TO THE OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE GARRISON OF OOKIEP IN RECOGNITION OF THEIR GALLANT DEFENCE OF THE TOWN UNDER THE COMMAND OF LT COL. SHELTON. D.S.O. AGAINST A GREATLY SUPERIOR FORCE OF BOERS APRIL 4TH TO MAY 4TH 1902.
 
The ribbon suspender is of the swivelling ornate scroll style.
 
The recipient's details can be found on the medal's rim impressed in well-spaced serif capitals.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 38mm wide and is dark brown n colour with a central green stripe.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
Non were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Medal For The Defence Of Okiep silver issue
£6995.00
Medal For The Defence Of Okiep bronze issue
£1100.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The Second Boer War.
- The Town Of Okiep.
 
The Second Boer War - The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State.
 
It ended with a British victory and the annexation of both republics by the British Empire; both would eventually be incorporated into the Union of South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire, in 1910.
 
The conflict is commonly referred to as The Boer War but is also known as the South African War outside South Africa, the Anglo-Boer War among most South Africans, and in Afrikaans as the Anglo-Boereoorlog or Tweede Vryheidsoorlog (Second War of Liberation or Second Freedom War) or the Engelse oorlog (English War).
 
The Second Boer War and the earlier, much less well known, First Boer War (December 1880 to March 1881) are collectively known as the Boer Wars.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Town Of Okiep - Okiep is a small town in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, and was in the 1870s ranked as having the richest copper mine in the world. The town is on the site of a spring that was known in the Khoekhoe language of the Nama people as U-gieb (large brackish place) and was originally spelled as O'okiep.
 
Early settlers in the Cape Colony heard rumours of mountains in the north-west that were fabulously rich in copper. Governor Simon van der Stel was inclined to believe these tales when, in 1681, a group of Namas visited the Castle in Cape Town and brought along some pure copper.
 
Van der Stel himself led a major expedition in 1685 and reached the fabled mountains on 21 October. Three shafts were sunk and revealed a rich lode of copper ore - the shafts exist to this day. For almost 200 years nothing was done about the discovery, largely because of its remote location.
 
The explorer James Alexander was the first to follow up on van der Stel's discovery. In 1852 he examined the old shafts, discovered some other copper outcrops and started mining operations. Prospectors, miners and speculators rushed to the area, but many companies collapsed when the logistical difficulties became apparent.
 
The first miners were Cornish, and brought with them the expertise of centuries of tin-mining in Cornwall. The ruins of the buildings they constructed as well as the stonework of the bridges and culverts of the railway built to transport the ore to Port Nolloth, can still be seen. The Namaqualand Railway started operating in 1876 and lasted for 68 years, carrying ore to Port Nolloth and returning with equipment and provisions.
 
The carriages were initially pulled by mules and horses, which were later replaced by steam locomotives - the last of these, the Clara, stands at Nababeep. Nowadays road transport is used to convey the ore to the railhead at Bitterfontein. The other principal mines of the area are at Carolusberg and Nababeep.
 
On 4 April 1902 during the Anglo-Boer war when some 700 officers and men of the 3rd Battalion Queen's Royal Regiment, 5th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Namaqualand Border Scouts, the Town Guard and the Cape Garrison Artillery, withstood a 30-day siege by Jan Smuts’ forces. The village of Concordia with a garrison of 100 men, surrendered a day after the siege started.
 
On 4 May 1902 a British relief column arrived from Port Nolloth and ended the siege. A ruined blockhouse is still visible on a hill north-east of the town.
 
As with most metals copper suffered mixed fortunes, and in the early 20th century the copper price dropped below the profitable level, so that mining operations ceased, but were resumed when prices rose.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.