Seven medals awarded to a uncover soldier – who completed six tours in Northern Ireland – are expected to fetch £20,000 at auction.
Among the haul of medals earned by Sergeant Anthony Haw is the Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM) he received for his exploits here.
The Special Ops Northern Ireland QGM was awarded to Sgt Haw “in recognition of service in Northern Ireland during the period November 1, 1977, to January 31, 1978”.
Sgt Haw received the honour from the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in November 1978, but the medal was stolen from his car in Liverpool a short time later. He eventually got the medal back in the 1990s.
The QGM and six other medals awarded to Mr Haw are now expected to sell for between £18,000 and £22,000 when they are auctioned at Spink in London next Wednesday.
His medals are being sold on behalf of a private collector.
Marcus Budgen, a medals specialist at Spink, described Sergeant Haw’s career as akin to an Ian Fleming novel.
“The awards of Tony Haw are truly remarkable, being a special forces group with two gallantry awards is quite exceptional, making this a completely unique group,” he said.
“His work with 14 Intelligence Company was at the spearhead of the covert surveillance operations missions undertaken at the time and is very much taken from the pages of an Ian Fleming novel at times.
“His career later took him over the Iron Curtain into East Berlin as part of the Cold War spy mission, BRIXMIS.
“We are confident that the history and importance of his awards will be reflected in the result come auction day.”
Sgt Haw completed six tours of regular duty in the Green Howards in Northern Ireland between 1970 and 1975. He then joined 14 Intelligence Company, known as ’14 Int’ and remained employed on undercover duties in Northern Ireland for another four years.
His work for 14 Int in Northern Ireland was exceptionally dangerous and several 14 Int operatives were killed by the IRA, including Captain Robert Nairac, who disappeared in May 1977. His body has never been recovered.
Author James Rennie wrote a book about 14 Int and described its members as “highly trained in skills, including lock-picking, advanced weapon handling, covert surveillance and infra-red photography, a typical operator has at his or her disposal an arsenal of techniques and weapons unmatched in any other theatre,” he wrote.
“No other UK Government or military agency is so comprehensively trained, armed and equipped to undertake individually, or in flexible teams, the wide variety of covert intelligence gathering tasks that are required by a democracy in pursuit of the terrorist.”
Among the other medals won by Sgt Haw to be auctioned is the British Empire Medal for his role in the Cold War spy mission named BRIXMIS.
As part of a three-man team Haw penetrated a Soviet tank gunnery range in East Germany on May Day 1981 and secured photographs of the interior of the new T-64 Tank.