Captain Steele's medals sold for big money

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Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
Medals earned by Captain Benjamin Steel, who was White Star's Marine Superintendent at Southampton in 1912 have been sold for £23,000. The first part of the story is at

Whether Captain Steele was really the last to go ashore from Titanic in Southampton might be debatable. A number of workers were taken off on a tug after she left the dock.

For me, the interesting item is the medal on the left of the picture. It's the elusive RD, which was the Royal Naval Reserve Decoration. This was given for 15 years' service as a commisioned officer in the RNR. Wartime service counted double. The medal was held by Captains Smith and Rostron. I've often seen some very strange versions of what RD means, such as Royal Distinction, but the above is correct.

Captain Steele's medal was awarded under King Edward VII, whose royal cipher is surrounded by a rope. The original ribbon was dark green but Captain Steele has replaced his with a later version that was a very dark green with white edges. The design of the medal has varied a bit, but it's always essentially the royal cipher and the rope loop.

In 1999 the RD was abolished and replaced by the Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal, which is open to all services.

John Hemmert

Oct 16, 2002
Hi Dave!

Many thanks for this post! Checking the site lead me to another post that actually showed a pic of the RD medal. (I've been looking for a pic of that for a couple of years now. - I want to "replicate" the medal.) It's interesting to note, that in the pic of the medals, the one on the right is the incredibly rare "Transport Medal". Both Captains Smith & Rostron had that one too.
The Transport medal had an issue of only around 1,500 total, and ran about $2,000 (US) for less "famous" ones a few years back. I wonder how many of the "RD" (Edward VII variety) were issued?

Many thanks and best regards!
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