1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Medal
MEDAL (Fr. médaille, from Lat. metallum), strictly the term given to a memorial piece, originally of metal, and generally in the shape of a coin, used however not as currency but as an artistic product. “Medallion” is a similar term for a large medal, but is now usually restricted to a form of bas-relief in sculpture. The term “medal” is, artistically, extended by analogy to pieces of the same character not necessarily shaped like coins. The history of coins and medals is inseparable, and is treated under the general heading of Numismatics. That article may be supplemented here by an account of (1) the more recent progress in the art of the medallist, and (2) the use of medals for war decorations.
1. The medal—as it is understood to-day—enjoys a life entirely independent of the coin on the one hand, and, on the other, of the sculptured medallion, or bas-relief; and its renaissance is one of the chief phenomena in art during the period since about 1870. It is in France that it has risen to the greatest perfection. Its popularity there is well-nigh universal; it is esteemed not only for memorials of popular events and of public men, but also for private celebrations of all kinds. No other nation approaches in excellence—in artistic feeling, treatment, and sensitiveness of execution—the artists and the achievements of France. In England, although the Royal Academy seeks to encourage its students to practise the art, the prize it offers commonly induces no competition. The art of the medallist is not properly appreciated or understood, and receives little or no support. The prevailing notion concerning it is that it consists in stamping cheap tokens out of white metal or bronze, on which a design, more or less vulgar, stands out in frosty relief from a dazzling, glittering background. These works, even the majority of military and civic medals, demonstrate how the exquisite art of the Renaissance had been degraded in England—almost without protest or even recognition—so that they are, to a work of Roty or Chaplain, what a nameless daub would be to a picture by Rembrandt or Velasquez.
It is probable that Jacques Wiener (d. 1899), of Belgium, was the last of the medallists of note who habitually cut his steel dies entirely with his own hand without assistance, though others in some measure do so still. Although most modern workers, exclusively medallists, have themselves cut dies, they now take advantage of the newest methods; and the graveur en médailles has become simply a médailleur. His knowledge of effect is the same—though the effect sought is different: in earlier times the artist thought chiefly of his shadows; now he mainly regards his planes. Otherwise his aims are not dissimilar. At the present day the medallist, after making conscientious studies from life (as if he were about to paint a picture), commonly works out his design in wax, or similar substance, upon a disk of plaster about 12 or 14 inches in diameter. From that advanced model a simple mould, or matrix, is made, and a plaster cast is taken, whereupon the artist can complete his work in the utmost perfection. Then, if a struck medal is required, a steel cast is made, and from that a reduction to the size required for the final work is produced by means of the machine—the tour à réduire. It is this machine which has made possible the modern revival, and has revolutionized the taste of designers and public alike. It was invented by Contamin, who based it upon that tour à portrait which Houlot produced in 1766, and which helped to fame several engravers now celebrated. This machine was first exhibited in Paris in 1839, and was sold to the Munich Mint; while a similar invention, devised at the same time by the English engraver Hill, was acquired by Wyon for £2000, and was ultimately disposed of to a private mint in Paris. From that city comes the machine, based by the French inventor M. Ledru upon the two already referred to, now in use at the Royal Mint in London. A well-served medallist, therefore, need trouble himself nowadays about little beyond the primary modelling and the final result, correcting with his own hand only the slightest touches—refining, perfecting—but sometimes merely confining himself to giving his directions to the professional engraver.
The great majority of the artistic medals at present in the world (in the great collection of France there is a total of not fewer than 200,000 medals) are cast, not struck. There is in them a charm of surface, of patina, of the metal itself, which the struck medal, with all the added beauties which it allows of delicate finish and exquisite detail, can hardly give. But the production of the cast medal is much slower, much more uncertain, and the number of fine copies that can be produced is infinitely smaller. All the early medals were cast, being first modelled in wax, and then cast by the cire perdue (waste wax) process, and were usually worked over by the chaser afterwards; indeed, it was not until the beginning of the 16th century that dies, hitherto used only for coins executed in low relief, were employed for larger and bolder work. The medallists of those days always cast in bronze or lead, and only proceeded to use silver and gold as a luxurious taste began to demand the more precious metals. There is little doubt that the material to be preferred is dull silver (mat or sablé—sand-blasted), as the work, with all its variations of light and shade, can be better seen in the delicate grey of the surface.
The medal, properly considered, is not sculpture. Vasari was happy in his definition when he described the medallic art as the link between sculpture and painting—that is to say, painting in the round with the colour left out. Less severe than sculpture, it need not be less dignified; it is bound down by the conventions of low relief, and by compulsions of composition and design, dependent on shape, from which sculpture, even when the relief is the lowest, is in a great measure free. In the medal, otherwise than in sculpture, elaborate perspective and receding planes are not out of place. The genius of the modern Frenchman rebelled against the rule that commonly governed the medal during the decadence, and has triumphed in his revolt, justifying the practice by his success. The modern medal and the plaquette aim at being decorative yet vigorous, reticent and dignified, delicate and tender, graceful and pure; it may be, and often is, all these in turn. Imagination, fancy, symbolism, may always be brought into play, allied to a sense of form and colour, of arrangement and execution. By the demonstration of these qualities the artist is to be differentiated from the skilful, mechanical die-sinker, who spreads over the art the blight of his heavy and insensitive hand and brain. So with portraiture. Accurate likeness of feature as well as character and expression are now to be found in all fine works, such as are seized only by an artist of keenly sensitive temperament. It is thus that he casts the events and the actions of to-day into metallic history, beautifully seen and exquisitely recorded; thus that the figure on the medal is no longer a mere sculpturesque symbol, but a thing of flesh and blood, suave and graceful in composition, and as pleasing in its purely decorative design as imagination can inspire or example suggest. It is thus that the art, while offering easy means of permanent memorial, has afforded to men of restricted means the eagerly seized opportunity of forming small collections of masterpieces of art at a small outlay.
France.—In France the example of Oudiné, coming after that of David d’Angers, did much to revolutionize the spirit animating the modern medallist, but Chapu, by his essentially modern treatment, did more. To Ponscarme (pupil of Oudiné) is chiefly due the idea of rendering mat the ground as well as the subject on the medal, the suppression of the raised rim, and the abandonment of the typographic lettering hitherto in vogue, together with the mechanical regularity of its arrangement. Degeorge, with his semi-pictorial treatment, was followed by Daniel Dupuis, whose delicate and playful fancy, almost entirely pictorial, makes us forget alike the material and the die. J. C. Chaplain is unsurpassed as a modeller of noble heads, including those of four presidents of the French Republic—Macmahon, Casimir-Perier, Faure and Loubet—and his allegorical designs are finely imagined and admirably worked out (see Plate); but L. Oscar Roty (pupil of Ponscarme) is at the head of the whole modern school, not only by virtue of absolute mastery of the technique of his art, but also of his originality of arrangement, of the poetic charm of his symbolism and his allegories, the delicate fancy, the exquisite touch, the chasteness and purity of taste—wedding a modern sentiment to an obvious feeling for the Greek. Though expressly less virile than Chaplain, Roty is never effeminate. To Roty belongs the credit of having first revived the form of the plaquette, or rectangular medal, which had been abandoned and forgotten along with many other traditions of the Renaissance (see Plate). Alphée Dubois, Lagrange, and Borrel must be mentioned among those who are understood to engrave their own dies. Followers are to be found in Mouchon, Lechevrel, Vernon, Henri Dubois, Patey, Bottée (see Plate)—all sterling artists if not innovators. Medallists of more striking originality but less finish, and of far less elegance are Michel Cazin, Levillain (who loves as much as Bandinelli to make over-display of his knowledge of muscular anatomy), Charpentier, and their school, who aim at a manner which makes less demand of highly educated artistry such as that of Roty or of Chaplain. It is learned and accomplished in its way, but lumpy in its result; breadth is gained, but refinement and distinction are in a great measure lost. It may be added—to give some idea of the industry of the modern medallist, and the encouragement accorded to him—that between 1879 and 1900 M. Roty executed more than 150 pieces, each having an obverse and a reverse.
Austria.—The two leading medallists of the Austrian school are Josef Tautenhayn (see Plate) and Anton Scharff, both highly accomplished, yet neither displaying the highest qualities of taste, ability and “keeping,” which distinguishes the French masters. About 330 pieces have come from the hand of Anton Scharff, Stefan Schwartz, Franz Pawlik, Staniek, Marschall and J. Tautenhayn, junior, are the only other artists who have risen to eminence.
Germany.—A characteristically florid style is here cultivated, such as lends itself to the elaborate treatment of costume, armorial bearings, and the like; but delicacy, distinction, and the highest excellence in modelling and draughtsmanship—qualities which should accompany even the most vigorous or elaborate designs—are lacking in a great degree. Professors Hildebrand and Kowarzik have wrought some of the most artistic works there produced.
Belgium.—Although sculpture so greatly flourishes in Belgium, medal work shows little promise of rivalling that of France. The influence of the three brothers Wiener (Jacques, Léopold and Charles)—good medallists of the old school—has not yet been shaken off. The remarkable architectural series by the first-named, and the coinage of the second, have little affinity with the spirit of the modern medal. Lemaire has perhaps done as well as any, followed by Paul Dubois, J. Dillens (a follower of the French), G. Devreese and Vinçotte (see Plate)—whose plaquette for the Brussels Exhibition award (1887) is original, but more admirable in design than in finish.
Holland.—In Holland not very much has been done. Patriotism has called forth many medals of Queen Wilhelmina, and the best of them are doubtless those of Bart van Hove and Wortman. Baars is a more virile artist, who follows Chaplain at a distance. Wienecke is interesting for the sake of his early Netherlandic manner; the incongruity is not unpleasant.
Switzerland.—The medal is also popular in Switzerland. Here Bovy is the leader of the French tradition and Hans Frei of a more national sentiment. The last-named, however, is more remarkable as a revivalist than as an original artist.
Great Britain.—In England only two medallists of repute can be counted who practically confine themselves to their art—G. W. de Saulles, of the Royal Mint, best known by the Diamond Jubilee medal of Queen Victoria and by his medal of Sir Gabriel Stokes, and Frank Bowcher (see Plate) by that of Thomas Huxley. These artists both cut their own dies when necessary. Emil Fuchs, working in England in the manner of the French medallists, but with greater freedom than is the wont of the older school, has produced several examples of the art: the medals commemorative of the South African War and of Queen Victoria (two versions), all of 1900; and many portrait medals and plaquettes of small size have come from the same hand. Besides these, the leading English sculptors have produced medals—Lord Leighton, Sir Edward Poynter, Hamo Thornycroft, T. Brock, Onslow Ford, G. Frampton and Goscombe John; but, practising more continually in sculpture, they do not claim rank as medallists, nor have they sought to acquire that class of dexterity which constant habit alone can give. Alphonse Legros, who has cast a certain number of portrait medals, is usually included in the French school.
United States.—Among American medallists Augustus St Gaudens (see Plate) is perhaps the most prominent; but he is not, strictly speaking, a medallist, but a sculptor who can model in the flat.
Authorities.—F. Parkes Weber, Medals and Medallions of the 19th Century relating to England by Foreign Artists (London, 1894); Roger Marx, “The Renaissance of the Medal in France,” The Studio (vol. xv. 1898); M. H. Spielmann, “Frank Bowcher, Medallist, with some Comment on the Medallic Art,” The Magazine of Art (February 1900); Spink & Son’s Monthly Numismatic Circular (passim), 1892 onwards (in English, French and German); Roger Marx, Les Médailleurs français depuis 1789 (Paris, 1897); Les Médailleurs français contemporains (Plates) (Paris, 1899); La Monnaie de Paris à l’Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1900); Cent ans de numismatique française (2 vols., 1893–1895); F. Mazerolle, L. O. Roty: Biographie et catalogue de son œuvre (Paris, 1897); J. F. Chaplain: Biographie et catalogue de l’œuvre (Paris, 1897); Dr H. J. de Dompière de Chaufepié, Les Médailles et plaquettes modernes (in Dutch and French) (Haarlem, 1897); A. R. v. Loehr, Wiener Medailleure, 1899. (Vienna, 1899); A. Lichtwark, “Die Wiedererweckung der Medaille,” Pan, 1895, pp. 34–40; 1896, pp. 311–318; Die Moderne Medaille (a monthly magazine, passim) (Vienna); L. Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, vol. i. A–D. (London, 1902). (M. H. S.)
Medals as War Decorations
in time of war, is comparatively modern. It has been supposed that the circular ornaments on the Roman standards had medals in their centres, but there is no evidence to show that this was the case, and the standards shown on the column of Trajan appear only to have had plain bosses in their centres. It is true that the Chinese are said to have used military medals during the Han dynasty (1st century A.D.), but, as far as the West is concerned, we have to come to the 16th century before we find the custom of wearing medals as decorations of honour a recognized institution.
The wearing of decorative medals was common in England in the reign of Henry VIII., but the first medals commemorating a particular event that were evidently intended as a personal decoration, and were in all probability (though there is no absolute proof) bestowed as reward for military services rendered to the Crown, are the “Armada” medals of Queen Elizabeth, 1588–1589. Of these there are two. The earliest, generally styled the “Ark in flood” medal, is a large oval medal of silver (2 by 1·75 in.), and bears on the obverse a profile bust of the queen surrounded by the inscription, ELIZABETH D. G. ANGLIAE. F. ET HI. REG. On the reverse is an ark on waves, with above the rays of the sun, and around the legend, SAEVAS TRANQVILLA PER VNDAS. This medal dates from 1588, and in the following year there was given another medal, a little larger (2·3 by 2·1 in.) and struck in gold, silver and copper. The obverse of this second medal bore a full-face bust of Elizabeth, with the legend, characteristic both of the monarch and the period, DITIOR IN TOTO NON ALTER CIRCULUS ORBE. The reverse has an island around which ships are sailing and sea-monsters swimming, and on the island there are houses, a flourishing bay-tree, standing uninjured by a storm of wind, and lightning emerging from heavy clouds above. The island is inscribed NON IPSA PERICVLA TANGVNT. These medals are of special interest as demonstrating thus early the existence of a doctrine of sea-power. In fact, in the medals of James I. (1603–1625), none of which have a distinct reference to war services, the “ark in flood” design was again reproduced on the reverse, this time with the legend slightly altered, viz. STET SALVVS IN VNDIS.
Other European nationalities were also about this period conferring decorative medals as a reward for war services, as for example, the “Medal to Volunteers” issued in Holland in 1622–1623 and the “Military Medal of Gustavus Adolphus” issued in Sweden in 1630. Here it may be noted that in following the history of medals as used as a decoration to reward military services, only those of British origin need be dealt with in detail, since Great Britain has utilized them in a much greater degree than any other nationality. The countless minor wars of the 19th century, waged by the forces of the Crown of every class, navy, army and auxiliary, have no equivalent in the history of other states, even in that of France, the United States and Russia. The great wars of the 19th century were divided by long intervals of peace, and the result is that with most of the great military powers the issue of campaign medals has been on a small scale, and in the main decorations have taken the form of “Orders” (see Knighthood and Chivalry: Orders), or purely personal decorations for some meritorious or exemplary service.
During the reign of Charles I. (1625–1649), we come across numerous medals and badges; a considerable number of these were undoubtedly associated with, and given, even systematically given, as rewards for war services; for a royal warrant “given at our Court of Oxford, the eighteenth day of May, 1643,” which directed “Sir William Parkhurst, Knight, and Thomas Bushell, Esquire, Wardens of our Mint, to provide from time to time certain Badges of silver, containing our Royal image, and that of our dearest son, Prince Charles, to be delivered to wear on the breast of every man who shall be certified under the hands of their Commanders-in-Chief to have done us faithful service in the Forlorn-hope.”
From the foregoing it must not be deduced that this medal was in any way intended to reward special valour. In those days “forlorn-hopes” were not volunteers for some desperate enterprise, as to-day, but a tactical advanced guard which naturally varied, both in numbers and arm of the service, according to ground and circumstances. That a very free distribution of the award was contemplated is evident from the fact that “soldiers” alone were specified as recipients and that a clause was inserted in the warrant strictly forbidding the sale of the medal. This letter ran:—
As there are in existence several medals of this period which bear the effigies of both the king and Prince Charles, it is uncertain which in particular was used for the “forlorn-hope” award. Very probably it is one, an oval silver-gilt medal (1·7 by 1·3 in.) which bears on the obverse a three-quarters (r.) bust of Charles I., and on the reverse a profile (l.) bust of Prince Charles (see Mayo, Medals and Decorations of the British Army and Navy, vol. 1. No. 16, Plate 5, No. 3). During the Commonwealth (1649–1660), parliament was lavish in the award of medals in recognition of war services, and for the first time we find statutory provision made for their bestowal as naval awards, in the shape of acts of parliament passed Feb. 22, 1648 and April 7, 1649 (cap. 12, 1648 and cap. 21, 1649), and Orders in Council of May 8 and Nov. 19 and 21, 1649, and Dec. 20, 1652. There is no doubt whatever that there was a “Medal of the Parliament” for sea service issued in 1649. This medal, oval (·95 by ·85 in.) and struck in gold and silver, had on the obverse an anchor, from the stock of which are suspended two shields, one bearing the cross of St George, and the other the Irish harp. The motto is MERVISTI. On the anchor stock, T. S. The reverse has on it the House of Commons with the Speaker in the chair. This medal is referred to in a minute of the Council of State of Nov. 15, 1649:—
That there was a “Medal of the Parliament” for land service as well, is proved by the following extract from the Journals of the House of Commons (vii. 6, 7):—
This order was duly carried out, as is shown in the minutes of the Council of State, June 2 and July 30, 1652, but there is no trace to-day of either medal or chain. It is not unlikely that this medal is one figured at page 117 of Evelyn’s Numismata (the engraving, unnumbered, is placed between Nos. 39 and 40, and there is no allusion to it in the text), which has on the obverse a representation of the parliament, and on the reverse a bust of the Protector with a camp and troops in the background.
The most splendid of all the naval awards of this period were those given for the three victories over the Dutch in 1653, namely:—
1. The fight of Feb. 18/20, when Blake, Deane and Monk defeated Van Tromp and De Ruyter, the battle beginning off Portland and ending near Calais; (2) the fight of June 2 and 3, off the Essex coast, when Monk, Deane (killed), Penn and Blake, again defeated Van Tromp and De Ruyter; (3) the fight of 31st of July off the Texel, in which Monk, Penn and Lawson beat Van Tromp in what was the decisive action of the war. The authorization for these awards will be found recorded in the Journals of the House of Commons (vii. 296, 297), under date Aug. 8, 1653. The medals, all oval, and in gold, were given in three sizes, as described below:—
A (2·2 by 2 in.). Only four of these medals were issued, to Admirals Blake and Monk, each with a gold chain of the value of £300, and to Vice-Admiral Penn and Rear-Admiral Lawson, each with a gold chain of the value of £100. On the obverse is an anchor, from the stock of which are suspended three shields, bearing respectively St George’s cross, the saltire of St Andrew, and the Irish harp, the whole encircled by the cable of the anchor. On the reverse is depicted a naval battle with, in the foreground, a sinking ship. Both obverse and reverse have broad, and very handsome, borders of naval trophies, and on the obverse side this border has imposed upon it the arms of Holland and Zeeland. Of these four medals three are known to be in existence. One, lent by the warden and fellows of Wadham College, Oxford (Blake, it may be noted, was a member of Wadham College) was exhibited at the Royal Naval Exhibition of 1891. A second is in the royal collection at Windsor Castle. The third, with its chain, is in the possession of the family of Stuart of Tempsford House, Bedfordshire. This latter medal is known to have been the one given to Vice-Admiral Penn, an ancestor of the Stuart family. The one at Windsor is presumably Blake’s, as Tancred states “the medal given to Blake was purchased for William IV. at the price of 150 guineas (Tancred, Historical Records of Medals, p. 30). The medal at Wadham was formerly in Captain Hamilton’s collection. He purchased it at a low figure, but secrecy was kept as to the owner, and the original chain that was with it went into the melting-pot: there is therefore nothing to show whether it was Monk’s or Lawson’s, as the chain would have done. It was sold at Sotheby’s in May 1882 for £305.
B (2 by 1·8 in.). Four of these medals were issued, each with a gold chain of the value of £40, to the “Flag Officers,” i.e. to the flag captains who commanded the four flag-ships. The obverse and reverse of this medal are, with the exception of the borders, precisely as in (A). The borders on both sides are a little narrower than those of (A), and of laurel instead of trophies. One of these medals—that given to Captain William Haddock, who was probably Monk’s flag-captain in the “Vanguard,” in the February fight, as he had been in that ship in the previous year, and who commanded the “Hannibal,” (44) in the June battle—is now (1909) in the possession of Mr C. D. Holworthy, who is maternally descended from Captain Haddock.
C (1·6 by 1·4 in.). This medal is precisely the same as (B). but has no border of any kind, and also was issued without the gold chains. It was in all probability one that was issued in some numbers to the captains and other senior officers of the fleet.
Some of these medals have in the plate of the reverse an inscription: FOR EMINENT SERVICE IN SAVING Y TRIUMPH FIERED IN FIGHT WH Y DVCH IN JULY 1653. The medal so inscribed was given only to those who served in the “Triumph,” and commemorates a special service. Blake, incapacitated by wounds received in the fight of February, took no part in this action, but his historic flag-ship, the “Triumph,” formed part of the fleet, and early in the battle was fired by the Dutch fire-ships. Many of the crew threw themselves overboard in a panic, but those who remained on board succeeded by the most indomitable and heroic efforts in subduing the flames, and so saving the vessel.
But undoubtedly the most interesting of all the medals of the Commonwealth period, is that known as the “Dunbar Medal,” authorized by parliament, Sept. 10, 1650, in a resolution of which the following is an extract:—
So came into being, what, in a degree, may be regarded as the prototype of the “war medal” as we know it to-day, for the “Dunbar Medal” is the very earliest that we know was issued to all ranks alike, to the humblest soldiers as well as to the commander-in-chief. It differed however in one very material point from the war medal of to-day—in that it was issued in two sizes, and in several different metals. There is no evidence to show what was the method that governed the issue of this medal; but the medal itself undoubtedly varied in size or metal, or both, according to the rank of the recipient. Of the two sizes in which the medal was issued the smaller, 1 by ·85 in. was apparently intended for seniors in the respective grades, for it was struck in gold, silver and copper. The larger, 1·35 by 1·15 in. was struck in silver, copper and lead (see Mayo. op. cit. i. 20–21)., On the obverse of both issues of the “Dunbar Medal” is a left profile bust of Oliver Cromwell, with, in the distance, a battle. The reverse of the larger medal has the parliament assembled in one House with the Speaker; and, on the left, a member standing addressing the chair. The reverse of the smaller medal is the same as that of the larger, except that the member addressing the House is omitted. Cromwell himself expressed a wish to the “Committee of the Army, at London,” in a letter dated the 4th of February 1650/51, that his likeness, to procure which accurately the committee had sent Mr Simon to Scotland, should not appear on the medal. He writes:—
“If my poor opinion may not be rejected by you, I have to offer to which I think the most noble end, to witt, The Commemoracon of that great Mercie att Dunbar, and the Gratuitie to the Army, which might be better expressed upon the Medall, by engraving, as on the one side the Parliament which I hear was intended and will do singularly well, so on the other side an Army, with this inscription over the head of it, The Lord of Hosts which was our Word that day. Wherefore, if I may beg it as a favour from you, I most earnestly beseech you, if I may do it without offence, that it may be soe. And if you think not fitt to have it as I offer, you may alter it as you see cause; only I doe think I may truly say, it will be very thankfully acknowledged by me, if you will spare the having my Effigies in it.”
In spite of this request Cromwell’s “Effigies” is made the prominent feature of the obverse of the medal, to which the representation of the “Army” is entirely subordinated. His wish that the “word” for the day should be commemorated is, however, observed in the legend on the obverse, as is also, on the reverse, his suggestion that on one side of the medal there should be a representation of the parliament.
During the reign of Charles II. the issue of medals was numerous, and though we have it on the authority of Evelyn that many of these were bestowed as “gratuities of respect,” yet many were given as naval awards; and, for the first time, there appears official authorization for the conferring of particular awards on those who had succeeded in the very hazardous service of destroying an enemy’s vessel by the use of fire-ships. In what are probably the earliest “Fighting Instructions” issued—those of Sir William Penn, in 1653, and again in an abridged form in 1655—no allusion to these awards is made, but that the custom of rewarding this special service prevailed, there is a piece of strong indirect evidence to show, in the shape of an amusing letter from a certain Captain Cranwill, of “ye Hare Pinke,” to the Admiralty Committee, dated Feb. 4, 1655:—
“As for ye Pay yor Honrs were please to order mee for my service in ye Hare Pinke, I return most humble thankes, and am ready to serve yor Honrs and my Country for ye future
. . . . . . . . . . .
For though ye Hare be mewsed in ye sand
yet Cranwell at your mercy still doth stand
A fire Ship now doth hee Crave,
And the Fox fain would he Have,
then has hee had both Fox and Hare,
then Spanish Admirall stand you cleare,
For Cranwell means ye Chaine of goold to ware;
Sett penn to paper it is done,
for Cranwell still will be your man,”
all of which goes to show that it had not been unusual to bestow gold chains, with or without medals, on the captains of fire-ships. By the “Fighting Instructions” issued 20th of April, 1665, by James, duke of York, lord high admiral, it was provided as follows. In the case of the destruction of an enemy’s vessel of forty guns or more, each person remaining on board the fire-ship till the service was performed was to receive £10, “on board ye Admirall imediately after ye service done,” and the captain a gold medal and “shuth other future encouragement by preferment and commande as shall be fitt both to reward him and induce others to perform ye like Service.” If it was a flag-ship that was fired “ye Recompense in money shall be doubled to each man performing itt, and ye medall to ye Commander shall be shuth as shall particularly ezpress ye Eminensye of ye Service, and his with ye other officers preferement shalbe suitable to ye meritt of itt.” This was followed by an “Oder of the King in Council” dated Whitehall 12th of January 1669–1670, in which the lord high admiral is authorized “to distribute a Medall and Chaine to such Captaines of Fire Shipps as in the last Dutch Warr have burnt any Man of Warr, as also to any of them that shall perform any such service in the present Warr with Algiers. Which Medalls and Chaines are to be of the price of Thirty Pounds each or thereabouts”
To complete the story of fire-ship awards, it may here be noted (though out of chronological order) that in 1703 revised “Fighting Instructions” were issued by Admiral Sir George Rooke, in which it was provided that the captain was to have his choice between a gratuity of £100, or a gold medal and chain of that value. Lastly an order of the king in council, dated, St James’s, 16th of December, 1742, ordered that all lieutenants of fire-ships (which originally carried no officers of this rank) should be entitled to a gratuity of £50 “in all cases where the Captain is entituled to the Reward of £100.” Though probably others were conferred, so thorough an investigator as the late John Horsley Mayo, for many years assistant military secretary at the India office, who had special opportunities of access to official records, traced but three authenticated fire-ship awards. Those were: (1) to Captain John Guy, who blew up his fire-ship the “Vesuvius” under the walls of St Malo in 1693; (2) to Captain Smith Callis who, with his fire-ship the “Duke,” in 1742, destroyed five Spanish galleys which had put into St Tropez, to the eastward of Marseilles; (3) to Captain James Wooldridge, who commanded the British fire-ships in Aix Roads on the 11th of April 1809, when four French sail of the line were burnt. This latter is believed to be the last award of the kind that was issued. Fire-ships awards are of special interest as affording a precedent, in future naval wars, for the award of special decorations for torpedo services.
It is in this reign also that we first find a case of medals being granted by the Honourable East India Company. The earliest of these would appear to have been a gold medal of the value of £20, conferred on Sir George Oxinden, president at Surat, 1622–1669, in 1668, for considerable civil and military services. Surat was then and until 1687, when Bombay took its place, the seat of government of the Western Presidency, and the most eminent of Sir George’s services was the defence of the Company’s treasures and possessions at that place against Sivajee and the Mahrattas in 1664. It is not known what has become of this medal, but there is indirect evidence to show that it was a circular medal, three inches in diameter. On the obverse the “Arms of the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading to the East Indies, with creast, supporters, and mottoes,” and around the legend NON MINOR EST VIRTVS QUAM QVAERERE PARTA TVERI. The reverse was probably blank to admit of an inscription. This award was the forerunner of many given by the H.E.I. Co., several of which were “general distributions” of the very highest interest, which will be dealt with together later on.
The awards made in the reigns of James II., William and Mary, William III., Anne, George I., George II., may be very briefly dealt with. Almost without an exception they were either naval or conferred by the Hon. East India Company, and with only perhaps one or two exceptions, they were “personal” as distinct from “general” awards. Of the very few medals awarded by James II., one was an undoubted military award, though curiously enough the recipient was a bishop. This was Peter Mew, who had been made bishop of Bath and Wells in 1672, was translated to Winchester 1684, “and next year was commanded by the king, in compliance with the request of the gentry of Somerset, to go against Monmouth, and did eminent service at the battle of Sedgmoor, where he managed the artillery; for which he was rewarded with a rich medal” (Hutchins’s History of Dorset, 3rd ed., vol. iv. p. 149).
The possible exceptions in the way of a “general” distribution of a medal during the reigns under review are the cases of the medals struck after the battles of La Hogue, 1692, and Culloden, 1746. By an act of parliament passed in 1692 (4 Gul. and Mar. c. 25), it was enacted that a tenth part of the prize money taken by the navy should be set apart “for Medalls and other Rewards for Officers, Mariners, and Seamen in their Majesties Service at Sea who shall be found to have done any signal or extraordinary service.” (Later a Royal Declaration of Queen Anne, the 1st of June 1702, provided that all medal and monetary awards “shall be also paid out of Her Majesties Shares of Prizes.”) This is the first case in naval records authorizing the issue of medals to men as well as to officers, and the conferring of the “La Hogue” medal was the first case in which the enactment was carried into effect, at any rate as far as admirals and officers are concerned. Seamen and soldiers had a more substantial reward, for the queen sent £30,000 to be distributed amongst them, whilst gold and silver medals were struck for the admirals and officers. The medal, which was circular, 1·95 in. in diameter, had on the obverse the busts conjoined of William and Mary, r., with around GVL ET MAR D G M B F ET H REX ET REGINA. On the reverse was a representation of the fight, showing the French flag-ship, “Le Soleil Royal,” in flames, with above the legend, NOX NVLLA SECVTA EST, and, in the exergue, PVGN NAV INT ANG ET FR 21 MAY 1692.
As regards the medal struck after Culloden, fought on the 16th of April 1746, and in which the adherents of the young Pretender were completely routed, there is nothing even to show that it was issued even by the authority of the government, though it was undoubtedly worn, and (if a contemporary portrait is to be relied upon, that of an ancestor of Mr W. Chandos-Pole of Radbourne Hall in Derbyshire) around the neck attached to a crimson ribbon with a green edge. There is no doubt it was struck in gold, silver and copper, but how it was awarded there is no proof, probably only to officers. The obverse had an r., bust of the duke of Cumberland, with above CUMBERLAND, below YEO f (Richard Yeo fecit), and, on the reverse, an Apollo, laureate, leaning upon his bow and pointing to a dragon wounded by his arrow. The reverse legend was ACTUM EST ILICET PERIIT, and, in the exergue PROEL COLOD AP XVI MDCCXLVI. The medal is a strikingly handsome one, with an ornamental border and ring for suspension, oval, 1·75 by 1·45 in., but very few specimens are known to exist. Those in gold were probably only given to officers commanding regiments and a very fine specimen of these, originally conferred on Brigadier-General Fleming (at one time in command of the 36th Foot) is now in the collection of Major-General Lord Cheylesmore. In his monograph, Naval and Military Medals, Lord Cheylesmore mentions another “Culloden” medal in his collection, “a slightly larger one in white metal, which leads one to suppose that it was given in inferior metal to the more junior branches, probably officers; but whether this was the case or no I am unable authoritatively to state.” However, one thing is fairly certain, that the issue of the “Culloden” medal was in no sense “general,” as we now understand the term, nor as were the issues for “Dunbar” or the issues of the Honourable East India Company, which will next be dealt with.
No medal awards were made to either the naval or military services for the Seven Years’ War, and the American War of Independence. In fact George III. had been more than thirty years on the throne when the first medal award by the Crown was given, in the shape of the navy gold medals, first issued in 1794. It will however be more convenient to deal later with these medals and the army gold medals and crosses given for services in the long and arduous struggle of 1793–1815, and to describe here in sequence those medals which were issued by the Honourable East India Company, the issue of which was, with certain limitations, “general,” thus reverting to the precedent first established in the “Dunbar” award, namely an issue to all ranks. They are nine in number, and are described below in the chronological order of the military operations for which they were awarded.
1. The “DECCAN” medal. Authorized, first in 1784, and again 1785. Obverse: Figure of Britannia seated on a military trophy, with her right hand holding a wreath of laurel and extended towards a fortress over which the British flag flies. Reverse: Persian inscriptions—In centre, “Presented by the Calcutta Government in memory of good service and intrepid valour, A.D. 1784, A.H. 1199;” around, “Like this coin may it endure in the world, and the exertions of those lion-hearted Englishmen of great name, victorious from Hindostan to the Deccan, become exalted.” This medal was issued in two sizes, diameters 1·6 and 1·25 in. The larger medal was struck both in gold and silver, the smaller in silver only, and both were worn round the neck suspended from a yellow cord. This medal was awarded to two large detachments of the Bengal army, denominated the “Bombay Detachment” (authorized 1784), and the “Carnatic Detachment” (authorized 1785), which respectively fought in the west of India and Guzerat, 1778–84, and in the south of India, 1780–84. The medal was not given to any Europeans, only to natives; the larger medal in gold to Subadars, and in silver to Jemadars; the smaller silver medal to non-commissioned officers and sepoys. By a minute of council, dated the 15th of July 1784, a further boon was granted to the “Bombay Detachment,” inasmuch as it exempted all Hindus of that detachment from payment of the duties levied by the authorities on pilgrims to Coya in Behar. As the large majority of the troops were high caste Hindus, and Coya was, and is the Mecca of Hinduism, this favour must have been much appreciated by the recipients of the medal. This is the earliest Anglo-Indian example of a medal issued alike to all ranks.
2. The “MYSORE” medal. Authorized, 1793. Obverse: A sepoy holding in his right hand the British colours, in his left an enemy’s standard reversed, whilst his left foot rests on a dismounted cannon. A fortified town is in the background. Reverse: Within a wreath; “For Services in Mysore, A.D. 1791–1792.” Between wreath and rim is an inscription in Persian: “A memorial of devoted services to the English government at the war of Mysore. Christian Era, 1791–1792, equivalent to the Mahomedan Era, 1205–1206.” Like the “Deccan” this medal was in two sizes, diameters 1·7 in. and 1·5 in., the larger being struck both in gold and silver, the smaller in silver only, and both were worn suspended from the neck by a yellow cord. The medal was awarded for the operations against Tippoo Sultan, and was bestowed on the “Native Officers and Sepoys of the Infantry and Cavalry, and on the Artillery Lascars, who either marched by land, or proceeded by sea to the Carnatic and returned to Bengal.” The large gold medals were given to Subadars, the large silver to “Jemadars and Serangs,” the small silver medals to “Havildars, Naicks, Tindals, Sepoys and Lascars.” The award therefore, followed precisely the precedent set in the “Deccan” medal. One of the very rare gold specimens of this medal is in the collection of Captain Whitaker, late 5th Fusiliers, whose collection, and that of Lord Cheylesmore, are probably the two finest that have as yet been brought together.
3. The “CEYLON” medal. Authorized, 1807. Obverse: An English inscription: “For Services on the Island of Ceylon, A.D. 1795–6.” Reverse: A Persian inscription: “This Medal was presented to commemorate good services in Ceylon during the years of the Hegira 1209–10.” This medal was issued in only one size, 2 in. diameter, and was awarded to a small force of Bengal native artillery which formed a fraction of a large body of British and native troops (the rest did not receive the medal) which captured Ceylon from the Dutch in 1795–96. It is the only instance of a war medal that has merely a verbal design on both obverse and reverse, and moreover it sets a precedent that was destined to be followed only too often in that it was only granted twelve years after the services that had earned it had been rendered. Only 123 medals were struck, two in gold for native officers, and 121 in silver for other ranks. Like the two preceding, it was worn from the neck suspended from a yellow cord.
4. The “SERINGAPATAM” medal. Authorized, 1799, for services in Lord Harris’s campaign of that year, and the storm of Seringapatam. Obverse: A representation of the storming of the breach at Seringapatam, with the meridian sun denoting the time of the storm. In the exergue is a Persian inscription: “The Fort of Seringapatam, the gift of God, the 4th May 1799.” Reverse: A British lion overcoming a tiger, the emblem of Tippoo Sultan. Above is a standard, with, in the innermost part of the hoist immediately contiguous to the staff, the Union badge, and, in the fly, an Arabic legend signifying “The Lion of God is the Conqueror.” In the exergue: IV. MAY, MDCCXCIX. (the date of the assault). It was in one size, 1·9 in. but of five different kinds. Although the medal was authorized in 1799, it was 1801 before orders for the preparation of 30 gold medals, 185 silver-gilt, 850 silver, 5000 copper bronzed, and 45,000 pure tin, were given, the artist being C. H. Kuchler, and the medals made by Matthew Boulton at the Soho Mint, Birmingham. It was 1808 before they came out to India for distribution, and it was not till 1815 that the Company’s European officers had the prince regent’s sanction to wearing them on public occasions. For the first time the issue was absolutely “general,” to Europeans as well as natives, to Crown troops as well as to those of the H.E.I. Co., but it was not till 1851, when the First India G.S. Medal was awarded, that official sanction was given to their being worn by Europeans in uniform. The medal was given in gold to general officers, in silver-gilt to field officers, in silver to captains and subalterns, in copper bronzed to non-commissioned officers, and in pure grain tin to privates and sepoys. With regard to this medal there is an incident that is worth recording. The bulk of the troops engaged at Seringapatam were Crown forces, or belonged to the Madras and Bombay presidencies; the only Bengal troops taking part being five battalions of infantry, and artillery detachments. On their return to Bengal no steps were taken with regard to medals till 1807, when medals copied from the Soho Mint one, but 1·8 in. only in diameter, were made at the Calcutta Mint. Following the Bengal precedents as set in the “Deccan,” “Mysore” and “Ceylon” medals, the medals were struck in gold for officers, and in silver for the other ranks. A Bengal native officer therefore wore just the same medal as a general officer of any of the other forces, and similarly a Bengal sepoy wore the same medal as a British captain or subaltern of the Crown. The Bengal medal can easily be distinguished from the others, for in the reverse the artist’s initials C.H.K. are rendered “C.ꓘ.H.” Some officers, amongst them Lord Harris himself and his second-in-command Sir David Baird, wore the medal with the red, blue-bordered ribbon, which is the same as that worn with the Army Gold Medal (see below) and was in fact the only authorized military ribbon then in use; but though no ribbon was issued with the medal, recipients were given to understand that the ribbon would be of a deep maize colour and watered, the shading on the ribbon symbolizing the stripes in the fur of the tiger, Tippoo Sultan’s favourite emblem. The duke of Wellington’s medal (silver gilt), has the maize (or yellow as it is often termed) ribbon, and the medal was undoubtedly more generally worn with this ribbon than with the red and blue one. There are also apparently occasional instances of it having been worn with a plain red ribbon.5. The “EGYPT” medal. Authorized, 1802. Obverse: A Sepoy holding the Union Flag in his right hand; in the background a camp. In exergue, in Persian: “This medal has been presented in commemoration of the defeat of the French Army in Egypt by the victorious and brave English Army.” Reverse: A British ship sailing towards the coast of Egypt. In the background, an obelisk and four pyramids. In the exergue, MDCCCI. This medal was only awarded to native officers and men of the small force of Bengal and Bombay troops which formed part of the expeditionary force from India, that co-operated in Sir Ralph Abercromby’s descent on Egypt in 1801 (see Baird, Sir David). This was another case of a belated issue (1811 for the Bengal troops and two years later for the Bombay troops). The medal was issued in only one size, 1·9 in. in diameter. For the Bengal troops 776 medals were struck, 16 in gold for commissioned officers, 760 in silver for other ranks. The Bombay government obtained the approval of the court of directors for the issue of the medal to their troops in 1803, but apparently did nothing till 1812, when they asked the Calcutta Mint for a copy of the medal to enable them to prepare similar ones. The Bombay Mint would not however appear to have been equal to the occasion, for the sample was returned to Calcutta with the request that 1439 medals might be struck there. This was accordingly done, but all of these medals were made of silver, and so the medal went to the Bombay troops in all ranks alike. As in the case of the “Deccan” medal, Hindu sepoys, who had volunteered for Egypt, were exempted from the duties levied on pilgrims. This medal was worn suspended from the neck by a yellow cord.
6. The “RODRIGUES, BOURBON AND MAURITIUS” medal. Authorized, 1811. Obverse: A sepoy, holding in his right hand the British flag, in his left a musket with bayonet fixed, stands with his left foot trampling a French eagle and standard; beside the figure a cannon, and, in the background the sea and ships. Reverse: Within a wreath, in Persian: “This medal was conferred in commemoration of the bravery and devotion exhibited by the Sepoys of the English Company in the capture of the Islands of Rodrigues, Bourbon, and Mauritius, in the year of the Hegira 1226.” In the circumference, in English: RODRIGUES VI. JULY MDCCCIX. BOURBON VIII. JULY AND ISLE OF FRANCE III. DEC. MDCCCX. This medal was awarded to the native troops of the Bengal Presidency that formed part of the combined naval and military forces that effected the reduction of these islands in 1809–10. The government of Bengal also suggested “for the consideration of the governments of Fort St George and Bombay, that corresponding Medals shall be conferred on the native troops from those Establishments;” but those governments do not appear to have complied with the suggestion, a distinct injustice to the Madras and Bombay troops employed. The medals, struck at the Calcutta Mint for the Bengal troops, were 1·9 in. in diameter, and in gold and silver, 45 gold for native officers, 2156 silver for all other ranks. They were worn as was customary in so many cases with yellow silk cord suspended from the neck.
7. The “JAVA” medal. Authorized, 1812. Obverse: A representation of the storming of Fort Cornelis. On a flag-staff the British flag is shown flying above a Dutch one, and over all is the word Cornelis. Reverse: In Persian: “This medal was conferred in commemoration of the bravery and courage exhibited by the Sepoys of the English Company in the capture of Java, 1228, Hegira.” In circumference, in English: “JAVA CONQUERED XXVI. AUGUST MDCCCXI.” This medal was awarded to the native troops of the Honourable East India Company (all Bengal), which took part in the expedition under Lieut.-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty which effected the capture of Java from the Dutch in 1811. The medal, 1·9 in. in diameter, was struck in gold and silver, 133 in the former metal for native officers, and 6519 in silver for other ranks, and was worn in the usual manner with a yellow silk cord.
8. The “NEPAL” medal. Authorized, 1816. Obverse: Hills crowned with stockades. In right foreground the colours and bayonets of an attacking force, to the left a cannon. Reverse: In Persian: “This Medal was conferred by the Nawab Governor-General Bahadur in testimony of the energy, good service, skill and intrepidity, which were displayed in the Hills in the years of the Hegira 1229 and 1230.” This was awarded to the native troops of the East India Company who took part in the arduous operations in Nepal in 1814–16. This medal, 2 in. in diameter, marks a very interesting new departure, for it was struck only in silver, and given to all ranks precisely alike, whether the recipient was commissioned or not. It was worn from the usual yellow silk cord.
9. The “BURMAH” medal. Authorized, 1826. Obverse: Representation of the storming of the great pagoda at Rangoon; on the left, a palm tree under which the general and staff, and the river with steamer and boats of the Irrawaddy flotilla joining in the attack. In exergue, in Persian: “The Standard of the victorious Army of England upon Ava.” Reverse: The White Elephant of Burma crouching in submission before the British Lion; behind the lion, the British flag flying broad, behind the elephant, the Burma flag drooping and between the two flags palm trees. In the exergue, in Persian: “The elephant of Ava submits to the lion of England, year 1826.” This, one of the most beautiful of all war medals, was designed by W. Daniell, R.A., and executed by W. Wyon; and was awarded to all the Company’s native troops, that participated in the First Burmese War, 1824–26. The medal, 1·5 in. diameter, was issued in gold to native officers, in silver to other ranks. In all there were struck; for Bengal troops, 308 gold, 13,108 silver; and for those of Madras, 450 gold and 20,025 silver. Of the Madras medals however nearly half were still unclaimed in 1840. It is with this medal that we first find, as regards Indian medals, definite instructions as to the use of a ribbon, and the manner in which medals should be worn. In 1831, it was officially ordered that the colour should be red with blue edges—it was in fact precisely similar to the Waterloo ribbon (for which see Plate I.)—and the instructions were that the medal “be worn perfectly square upon the centre of the left breast, the upper edge of the ribbon being even with the first button for ranks wearing Sword Belts only, and even with the second button for ranks wearing Cross Belts.” Like the Waterloo medal also, it was mounted on a steel clip and ring, and the medals were struck at the Royal Mint instead of, as heretofore, in India.
This closes the list of the Indian medals, which, with the exception of that for Seringapatam, were issued only to the native troops of the Honourable East India Company. All are now very rare and very highly valued by collectors.
As has already been stated, the first war medals awarded by the Crown in the reign of George III., were the navy gold medals, instituted on the occasion of Lord Howe’s great victory over the French fleet on the 1st of June 1794. On the 26th of that month the king and queen visited Portsmouth, and, on the deck of the “Queen Charlotte,” Lord Howe’s flag-ship, presented the victorious admiral with a diamond-hilted sword of the value of three thousand guineas. Gold chains, from which the medals were afterwards to be suspended, were also conferred on Admiral Lord Howe; Vice-Admirals Graves and Sir Alexander Hood; Rear-Admirals Gardner, Bowyer and Pasley; and Captain of the Fleet Sir Roger Curtis. At the same time the king announced his intention of conferring gold medals on each of the officers named, and similar, but smaller medals on the captains. The medals were delivered in 1796, the Admiralty ordering “The Admirals to wear the Medal suspended by a ribband round their necks. The Captains to wear the Medal suspended to a ribband, but fastened through the third or fourth button-hole on the left side. The colour of the ribband, blue and white.”
The ribbon, which is white with broad blue borders (see Plate I.), did not of course supersede the gold chain in the case of those officers on whom chains had been conferred. They wore their chain with the ribbon, and the medal of Admiral Bowyer (now in the collection of Lord Cheylesmore) is so suspended. The same splendid and intensely interesting medal was later conferred for various fleet and ship actions deemed worthy of special acknowledgment; and so came into being the first “regulation” medal for naval officers.
The two medals are, with but one slight distinction, identical in design, the larger being 2, and the smaller 1·3, in. in diameter. The design is:—
Obverse: The fore part of an antique galley, on the prow of which rests a figure of Victory who is placing a wreath on the head of Britannia who stands on the deck of the galley, her right foot resting upon a helmet, her left hand holding a spear. Behind Britannia is a “union” shield, charged with the Cross of St George and the Saltire of St Andrew. (Ireland had not then been added to the Union). Reverse: Within a wreath of oak and laurel, the name of the recipient, the event for which the medal was conferred, and the date. (In the smaller medal the wreath is omitted.)
In all, eighteen actions were recognized by this medal, the complete list of which is as follows:—
The “Glorious First of June” (7 large and 18 small medals); St Vincent (Feb. 14, 1787) (6 large and 15 small medals); Camperdown Oct. 11, 1797) (2 large, 15 small medals); The Nile (Aug. 1, 1798) (1 large and 14 small medals); Re-capture of the frigate “Hermione” from the Spaniards by the boats of H.M.S. “Surprise” at Porto Cavallo (Oct. 25, 1799) (1 small medal); Trafalgar (Oct. 21, 1805) (3 large and 27 small medals); Action off Ferrol (Nov. 4, 1805) (4 small medals); Action off St Domingo (Feb. 5, 1806) (3 large and 7 small medals); Capture of Curaçoa (Jan. 1, 1807) (4 small medals); Capture of the Turkish frigate “Badere Zaffer” by H.M.S. “Seahorse” (July 6, 1808) (1 small medal); Capture of the French frigate “Thetis” by H.M.S. “Amethyst” (Nov. 10, 1808) (1 small medal); Capture of the French frigate “Furieuse” by H.M. ship-sloop “Bonne Citoyenne” July 6, 1809 (1 small medal); Capture of the Island of Banda Neira (Aug. 9, 1810) (1 small medal); Captain W. Hoste’s action off Lissa (March 13, 1811) (4 small medals); Capture of the French 74-gun ship “Rivoli” by H.M.S. “Victorious” (Feb. 22, 1812) (1 small medal); The “Chesapeake” and “Shannon” (June 1, 1813) (1 small medal); Capture of the French frigate “Étoile” by H.M.S. “Hebrus” (March 27, 1814) (1 small medal); Capture of the American frigate “President” by H.M.S. “Endymion” (Jan. 15, 1815) (1 small medal).
In all 22 large medals, and 117 small, were awarded; but this does not say that all who were entitled to the medal received it. This is most notably the case with regard to the “Glorious First of June.” When the issue was made, in 1796, the medals were given only to those flag officers who had received gold chains, and to such captains as were specially mentioned in Lord Howe’s despatch of the 21st of June, despite the fact that the admiral specially put it on record that the selection therein made, “should not be construed to the disadvantage of the other commanders, who may have been equally deserving of the approbation of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, although I am not enabled to make a particular statement of their merits.” For this reason the medal was never awarded to Rear-Admiral B. Caldwell, fifth in command on the great day, to his flag-captain, Captain G. B. Westcott, and to seven other captains of line of battle ships engaged. One captain however, who was not mentioned in despatches, succeeded in gaining the medal, by a tour de force eminently characteristic of the superb breed of naval officers that the great wars had brought into being. This was Collingwood, who had been flag-captain to Bowyer in the “Barfleur.” When Collingwood was awarded the medal for St Vincent, where he commanded the “Excellent,” he flatly refused to receive it unless that for the First of June was also conferred upon him, which was done. For St Vincent, the Nile and Trafalgar, all flag officers and captains engaged received the medal. At the Nile, Troubridge’s ship, the “Culloden,” grounded in entering the bay, and so, strictly speaking, he was never engaged in the action; but the king specially included him in the award, “for his services both before and since, and for the great and wonderful exertions he made at the time of the action, in saving and getting off his ship.”
For Camperdown, one captain, afterwards found guilty by court-martial of failure in duty, did not receive the medal. Several posthumous awards of the smaller medals were made to the relatives of officers who were either killed in action or died of wounds. These were: on the first of June, Captains Hutt (“Queen”), Montagu (“Montagu”), Harvey (“Brunswick”); at Camperdown, Captain Burgess (“Ardent”); at the Nile, Captain Westcott (“Majestic”); at Trafalgar, Captains Duff (“Mars”) and Cooke (“Bellerophon”). Captain Westcott was doubly unfortunate, for he was one of the First of June captains who should have received the medal but did not. Captain Miller of the “Theseus” also did not receive his medal for the Nile, for, though not killed in the action, he perished at Acre in an accidental powder explosion the May following, the medal arriving after his death, and being returned to the Admiralty. In only two cases were large medals conferred on officers below flag rank, these being Sir R. Curtis, captain of the fleet to Lord Howe on the First of June, and Nelson, who only flew a commodore’s broad pendant at St Vincent. Following this latter precedent Sir R. Strachan should have had the large medal for the action of the 4th of November 1805, for he also was a commodore, but it was denied him for what seems quite an inadequate reason, namely that he was junior in rank to Captain Hervey of the “Temeraire,” who was the senior of the Trafalgar captains. Hervey was promoted to rear-admiral for Trafalgar on the 9th of November, and Strachan to the same rank on the following day.
The small medal too was conferred in only three cases on officers below the rank of post captain. These were Commander Mounsey of the “Bonne Citoyenne,” for the capture of the “Furieuse” and Lieuts. Pilfold and Stockham, who at Trafalgar commanded respectively the “Ajax” and the “Thunderer,” the captains of those two ships being at the time of the action in England giving evidence at the court-martial of Sir Robert Calder. In all, of the eighteen awards of the Navy Gold Medal, eight were for fleet actions (one of which was between squadrons of frigates), seven for single ship actions, one between line of battleships, six in which frigates were engaged, two for shore operations (in both cases the taking of islands from the Dutch), and lastly the re-capture of the “Hermione” by the “Surprise.” This last mentioned award is one particularly memorable, not only because it was the first time that the medal was awarded to a frigate captain, but also because it is the only case in which the medal was awarded for boat service pure and simple.
Nelson’s two great victories, the Nile and Trafalgar, also earned a medal for all ranks that participated in them, but these awards were not made by the Crown but by the generosity of two private individuals, though of course with the king’s approval and permission. The first of these is “Davison’s Nile Medal,” which Mr Alexander Davison, Nelson’s prize agent and a valued friend, caused to be struck at a cost of near £2000, and one of which was presented to every officer and man engaged at the Nile. The medal, 1·85 in. in diameter, was given in gold to Nelson and his captains, in silver to lieutenants and officers of corresponding rank, in copper gilt to warrant and petty officers, and in copper bronze to seamen and marines:—
Obverse: Hope, standing on a rock in the sea, holding in her right hand an olive branch, and supporting with her left side a shield on which is the bust of Nelson surrounded by the legend: “EUROPE’S HOPE AND BRITAIN’S GLORY.” Behind the figure and shield is an anchor, whilst around all is inscribed: “REAR-ADMIRAL LORD NELSON OF THE NILE.” Reverse: The French fleet at anchor in Aboukir Bay, the British fleet advancing to the attack: a setting sun denotes the time of the action. Around: “ALMIGHTY GOD HAS BLESSED HIS MAJESTY’S ARMS”; and, in exergue: “VICTORY OF THE NILE AUGUST 1 1798.” In the reverse the engraver when sinking the die forgot to transpose the position of the objects, and so the sun is made to set in the east instead of in the west, and the land which is shown on the right should properly be on the left.
Davison’s Nile medal was struck at the Soho Mint, Birmingham, by Boulton, and it was this that probably inspired the latter to present a medal to all who took part in the battle of Trafalgar. “Boulton’s Trafalgar Medal” was 1·9 in. in diameter, and given in gold to the three admirals, in silver to captains and first-lieutenants, and in pewter to other ranks. In a very considerable number of cases the pewter medals were either returned, or thrown overboard, the recipients being disgusted at what they deemed the paltriness of the reward. Obverse: A bust of Lord Nelson in uniform with around: HORATIO, VISCOUNT NELSON, K.B. DUKE OF BRONTE, &c. Reverse: A representation of the battle, with around on a scroll: ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY. In exergue: TRAFALGAR OCTr. 21 1805.
Both the Davison and the Boulton medals were worn suspended from a blue ribbon. These are the only two cases in which officers and men of the navy and army have accepted and worn medals presented by a private individual.
The Gold Medal given by George III. to the superior officers in command at the battle of Maida, in Sicily, on the 4th of July 1806, is an award of special interest, for not only was it the first military award made by the Crown during the reign, but it was moreover the prototype of the superb army gold medals and crosses which were so widely distributed during the years that followed. A general order of the duke of York, commander-in-chief, dated Horse Guards, 22nd of February 1808, awarded a gold medal for Maida to Sir John Stuart, K.B., his three brigadiers, and nine other officers. Subsequently four other officers received it, so in all seventeen officers received the award. It was prescribed that the medal “should be worn suspended by a Ribband of the colour of the Sash, with a blue edge, from a button of the coat on the left side.” It was in fact to be worn in the same way as the small Navy Gold Medal, and as this grant established blue and white as the specific navy ribbon, so did the Maida award establish red with a blue border as the regulation military ribbon. The Maida ribbon is in fact precisely the same as the Waterloo ribbon shown in Plate I. The Maida medal was 1·5 in. in diameter and struck in gold only. It was issued precisely alike, quite irrespective of rank, to each of its seventeen recipients.
Obverse: Head of George III., laureated and facing left, with below the legend: GEORGIUS TERTIUS REX. Reverse: Britannia casting a spear with her right hand, and on her left arm the Union shield, above, and approaching her is a Flying Victory holding out a wreath. In front of Britannia in four lines, is MAI/DA/IVL IV/MDCCCVI/; behind her the triquetra or trinacria, the symbol of the Island of Sicily. In the exergue are crossed spears.
Two and a half years after the Maida award the king authorized the “Army Gold Medal,” the first grant of which was notified by the commander-in-chief, in a Horse Guards general order dated the 9th of September 1810. This authorized the bestowal of the medal on 107 senior officers mentioned by name. The battles commemorated were Roleia, Vimiera (1808), the cavalry actions of Sahagun and Benevente (1808), Corunna and Talavera (1809). The Army Gold Medal so awarded was in two sizes, large, 2·1 in. in diameter, for general officers, small, 1·3 in. in diameter, for officers of lower rank: and the regulations provided that it should be worn from a red ribbon edged with blue, the larger round the neck, the smaller on the left breast from a button-hole of the uniform. The ribbon was the same width, 13 for both ribbons, and precisely the same later on for the Gold Cross. Both large and small medals were of identical design, in fact there was no difference, either in medals or in ribbons, except in size and the style in which they were worn:—
Obverse: Britannia seated on a globe, holding in her right hand a laurel wreath, and in her left, which rests upon a Union shield resting against the globe, a palm leaf; at her feet to her right, a lion. Reverse: A wreath of laurel, encircling the name of the battle or operations for which the medal was granted.
In the following years subsequent orders similar to the original grant extended the award of the Army Gold Medal, until eventually twenty-four distinct awards were made, commemorating twenty-six actions, or series of operations, which took place not only in the Peninsula, but also in North America, and both the East and the West Indies.
The Peninsula medals were for Roleia and Vimiera, Sahagun and Benevente, Corunna, Talavera, Busaco, Barrosa, Fuentes d’Onor, Albuera, Ciudad Rodrigo (1812), Badajoz (1812), Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, St Sebastian, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse. The West Indies medals were for Martinique (Feb. 1809) and Gaudaloupe (Jan.—Feb. 1810), the North American for Fort Detroit (Aug. 16, 1812), Chateauguay (Oct. 26, 1813) and Chrystler’s Farm (Nov. 11, 1813), and there was, lastly, a medal awarded for Java (Aug.—Sept. 1811).
From the above it will be seen that as time went on many officers became entitled to two, three and even more medals, and as this was found inconvenient, the method of granting the award was very materially amended as notified by the commander-in-chief, in a general order, dated Horse Guards, October 7, 1813. This order formulated regulations which were as follows:—
1. That one medal only was to be borne by each officer recommended for the distinction.
2. That for a second and a third action a gold clasp was to be attached to the ribbon from which the medal was suspended inscribed with the name of the action.
3. When a fourth distinction was earned, the medal and two clasps were to be replaced by a Gold Cross having the four actions for which it was awarded inscribed upon it, one upon each arm.
4. On every occasion the recipient was awarded the decoration after the fourth a Gold Clasp worn on the ribband was added to the Cross.
The regulations further laid down that only officers should be recommended who had been “personally and particularly engaged” on the occasion, and that officers were to be named by “special selection and report of the Commander of the Forces upon the spot, as having merited the distinction by conspicuous service.” Further, the Commander of the Forces was restricted in his selection to General Officers, C.Os. of Brigades, C.Os. of Artillery or Engineers, and certain staff officers holding field rank, and Commanding Officers of Units, and Officers succeeding to such command during an engagement. It was also ordered that awards earned by deceased officers should be transmitted “to their respective families.” The Gold Cross that was, under these regulations, instituted is as follows:—
A Maltese Cross, 11 inches square, with an ornamental border; in the centre, a lion, facing right; in each limb of the cross the name of one of the actions for which it was conferred. The back of the cross is the same as the front. The cross was precisely the same irrespective of whether it replaced a large or a small medal.
The clasps were all of the same pattern, whether worn with the cross, the large gold medal, or the small gold medal. They are 2 in. in length by 1 in. in width, and bear, within a border of laurel, the name of the action for which they were conferred. At the close of the war in the Peninsula the issue of this handsome and much coveted decoration was discontinued, the enlargement of the Order of the Bath (January 1815) affording another method of reward which the Crown deemed more appropriate. On the occasion of this extension all officers who had obtained the cross with one clasp, i.e. who had been decorated for five or more actions, were made Knights Commander of the Bath. In all 847 awards of this superb decoration were made. The medal alone went to 469 officers, whilst 143 received it with one clasp, and 72 with two clasps. The cross was issued singly in 61 cases, with one clasp in 46, with two in 18, with three in 17, with four in 8, and with five clasps in 7 cases. The cross with six clasps was gained by Sir Colin Campbell (Lord Clyde), Sir Alexander Dickson (d. 1840) and Sir George Murray (d. 1846). Two officers, Viscount Beresford and Sir Denis Pack (d. 1823) received it with seven clasps. The duke of Wellington’s had nine, the decoration thus commemorating fourteen out of the twenty-six battles, sieges or operations for which the Gold Medals, Cross and Clasps were awarded. On the limbs of this cross are, ROLEIA AND VIMIERA, TALAVERA, BUSACO, FUENTES DE ONOR. The clasps are for CIUDAD ROD-RIGO, BADAJOZ, SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, PYRENEES, NIVELLE, NIVE, ORTHES and TOULOUSE. Not until after the close of the Great War, however, do we meet with the real prototype of the war medal as we know it to-day, for the Waterloo Medal of 1815 is the first actual “general” medal that was ever issued, because it was issued precisely alike to all ranks. In the twelve cases in which we have seen that a medal was given to all ranks, the medals differed either in size or in metal, or in both, according to the rank of the recipient, and in eight out of the nine issued by the Hon. East India Company the award was withheld from the British officers and men employed. Again in none of the cases quoted were the awards made by the Crown. The “Dunbar” medal was awarded by the Commonwealth parliament. The men of the Nile and Trafalgar wore their medals through the generosity of private individuals. In the other nine cases the award was made by the directors of the Hon. East India Company. It was with the issue of the Waterloo Medal that all this was changed and for this well-merited and much prized boon the Services owe all gratitude to the duke of Wellington. Writing from Orville on June 28, 1815, to H.R.H. the duke of York, he says:—
“I would likewise beg leave to suggest to your Royal Highness (the then Commander-in-chief) the expediency of giving to the non-commissioned officers and soldiers engaged in the battle of Waterloo, a medal. I am convinced it would have the best effect in the army; and, if that battle should settle our concerns, they will well deserve it.”
Again, writing from Paris, Sept. 17, 1815, to Lord Bathurst, then war secretary:—
“I have long intended to write to you about the medal for Waterloo. I recommend that we should all have the same medal, hung to the same ribband as that now used with the medals.”
(i.e. the army gold medals and crosses). It is also fair to point out that in his place in the House of Commons, and on the day after the duke’s letter to the commander-in-chief had been penned, William Watkins Wynn urged that medals should be given to the survivors of Waterloo, and that they should be the same for both officers and men, “so that they who had been fellows in danger might bear the same badge of honour.” And so came into being that type of “general” medal, which beginning with Waterloo has continued down to the present.
The description of these later medals, and the points of interest about them, will now be given as fully as exigencies of space will allow.
1. Waterloo, 1815.—Awarded by the Prince Regent, 1816. Obverse: Bust of the Prince Regent. Leg. GEORGE P. REGENT. Reverse: Figure of Victory seated; in her right hand, a palm branch; in her left, an olive branch. Above, WELLINGTON; below, WATERLOO, JUNE 18, 1815. Ribbon: Crimson with blue borders (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The notification of this award was made in a memorandum by H.R.H. the commander-in-chief, dated Horse Guards, March 10, 1816, and it is worth noting that the prince regent commanded that the ribbon “shall never be worn but with the medal suspended to it.” The medal was conferred on all the British troops, including the King’s German Legion, present on the 16th June at Quatre Bras, on the 17th in the fighting that took place during the retirement through Genappe to Waterloo, and on the 18th at Waterloo. It was also given to four regiments, 2nd Batt. 35th, 1st Batt. 54th, 2nd Batt. 59th, and 1st Batt. 91st Regiments of Foot, which formed Sir Charles Colville’s Brigade, which was detached. The reverse of this medal would appear to have been copied from the Greek Coin of Elis, about 450 B.C., a specimen of which is in the British Museum. The medals most prized by collectors are those of the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Dragoons (the “Union Brigade”), and the 28th and 42nd Regiments of Foot, as those regiments suffered very severely and consequently fewer survivors received the medal than in other corps.
2. Ghuznee, 1839.—Awarded by the Government of India, 1842. Obverse: The Gateway of the Fortress. Below, GHUZNEE. Reverse: In centre a space for name of recipient; above, 23rd July; below, a mural crown with underneath it 1839; the whole within a wreath of laurel. Ribbon: Particoloured, crimson and green (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
This medal originated with Shah Soojah, whose part the Indian government took in the Afghan troubles of the time. His downfall and death having taken place before the medals were ready, the actual award was made by the Government of India. It was originally ordered (Bengal Military Proceedings, May 27, 1842; Nos. 151 and 152) that the ribbon should be green and yellow, and it was undoubtedly so worn by some recipients; but there is no official record to show why the colours were altered to green and crimson. The medal was awarded to all troops both of the Crown and of the Company that were actually present at the siege and capture of the fortress, July 21, 22, and 23, 1839.
3. Syria, 1840.—Awarded by the Sultan of Turkey, 1841. Obverse: A fortress on which the Turkish flag is flying, and above six stars; below, in Turkish, “The People of Syria; and the Citadel of Acre, A.H. 1258.” Reverse: Cypher of the Sultan, within a laurel wreath. Ribbon: Red with white edges. Clasps:Nil.
The St Jean d’Acre medal, as it is commonly called, was awarded to the officers and men of the British fleet that were engaged in the operations off the coast of Syria, against Mehemet Ali, which culminated in the bombardment and capture of St Jean d’Acre, Nov. 3, 1840. The medal, 11 in. in diameter, is purely a naval medal therefore, although a few artillery and engineer officers doing duty in the fleet received it. It was given in gold to officers of flag rank and captains (or field officers), in silver to quarter-deck and warrant officers, and in copper to other ranks. This is the only instance of there being a difference made according to the rank of the recipient since the “Burma” medal.
4. China, 1840–42 (1st Medal); China, 1857–60 (2nd Medal).—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1842, 1861. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria, diademed, l. Leg. VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse: Naval and military trophy, with behind a palm tree, and in front a shield of the Royal Arms. Above, ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACEM. In exergue, CHINA 1842. Ribbon: Red with yellow borders (Plate I.). Clasps: 1st medal, nil; 2nd medal, six—CHINA 1842; FATSHAN 1857; CANTON 1857; TAKU FORTS 1858; TAKU FORTS 1860; PEKIN 1860.
The first China medal was awarded to all the naval and military forces, both of the Crown and of the Hon. East India Company, that took part in the first China War, 1840–42. Another medal was struck, and is to be found in proof, but it was never issued as it was deemed it might give offence to China. Of this the obverse is the same as that described above; but the reverse had, under the same motto, the British lion trampling upon the Chinese dragon, and in the exergue, NANKING 1842. The second China medal was similarly awarded to both the naval and military forces, British and Indian, that took part in the second China war, 1857–60. To those, however, who were already in possession of the first China medal the second medal was not awarded, they receiving a clasp CHINA 1842 to go on their original medal, together of course with the clasps to which their services in the second war had entitled them. The second medal was in fact not a new decoration but a re-issue. The first China medal was the first to be issued with the effigy of Queen Victoria upon it. The first medal with clasps for the second China war is very rare, and in almost every case would probably be found to be a naval medal. Of the second medal only one was issued with all the five new clasps. This was to a Royal Marine Artilleryman, and it is now in the Cheylesmore collection. Medals specially valued by collectors are those given to the 1st Dragoon Guards with the two clasps TAKU FORTS 1860 and PEKIN 1860, as only two squadrons of the regiment were present. In a G.O. by Lord Ellenborough, governor-general of India, dated Simla, Oct. 14, 1842, it was intimated that the Government of India would present to the Indian Army a medal, the design of which was indicated in the order, but this idea was of course abandoned when the queen intimated her intention of making the award.
5. Jellalabad, 1842.—Awarded by the Government of India, 1842. First medal—Obverse: A mural crown; above, JELLALABAD. Reverse: VII April 1842. Second medal—Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in China medal, but legend, VICTORIA VINDEX. Reverse: Figure of Victory flying, in her right hand two wreaths, in her left the British flag. Beneath, the town of Jellalabad. Above, JELLALABAD VII APRIL: in exergue, MDCCCXLII. Ribbon (both medals): Military ribbon of India (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
In a G.O., dated Allahabad, April 30, 1842, Lord Ellenborough announced that the Government of India would present a medal to the Company’s troops, and with the consent of Her Majesty, to those of the Crown, that held Jellalabad, under Sir Robert Sale (Nov. 12, 1842–April 7, 1842). The queen’s consent to her troops (13th Foot, now Somersetshire Light Infantry) receiving the medal was granted in August. The governor-general being dissatisfied with the first medal, made at the Calcutta Mint, the second (generally known as the “Flying Victory”) was ordered in England, and it was notified that on their arrival the first medals, all of which had been distributed, could be exchanged for the second. The new issue was ready by March 13, 1845, but the recipients apparently preferred the original medals, for very few were exchanged. Both are very rare, for only 2596 medals were issued. The “military ribbon of India” is a tri-colour composed of the three primary colours shading into one another. It was designed by Lord Ellenborough, and is intended to symbolize an Oriental sunrise.
6. Afghanistan, 1842 (1st Afghan).—Awarded by Government of India. 1842. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on First China Medal. Reverse: No. 1. CANDAHAR 1842 within a laurel wreath; above, a crown. No. 2. GHUZNEE CABUL each within a laurel wreath; above, a crown; below, 1842. No. 3. CANDAHAR GHUZNEE CABUL 1842 all within a laurel wreath; above, a crown. No. 4. CABUL 1842 within a laurel wreath; above, a crown. Ribbon: Military ribbon of India (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The authority for this medal is a G.O. of the governor-general dated October 4, 1842. It was awarded to all troops, both of the Crown and the Hon. East India Company, who took part in the operations in Afghanistan in 1842, that is to say the second phase of the First Afghan War. The medal, with reverses 1, 2 and 3, was awarded to those troops that were with Major-General Sir William Nott in Candahar, and took part in the operations around that place, recaptured Ghuznee, and then joined hands with the column under Major-General Pollock at Cabul. The medal with reverse 4 was awarded to the column which advanced from Peshawur on Cabul, being joined en route by the victorious garrison at Jellalabad. This is the first of the four occasions on which the reverse of a medal has been used to denote the actual part taken in the operations by the recipient, in the manner that is now done by clasps. Of these medals the one with the No. 1 reverse is the rarest, as its issue was confined to the small portion of his army that Major-General Nott left behind him in Candahar. The medal with the No. 2 reverse is also rare, as its distribution was very limited.
7. Kelat-i-Ghilzie, 1842.—Awarded by Government of India, 1842. Obverse: A shield inscribed KELAT I GHILZIE encircled by a laurel wreath, and surmounted by a mural crown. Reverse: A military trophy, beneath, on a tablet, INVICTA MDCCCXLII. Ribbon: Military ribbon of India (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The authority for this medal is the same as that for the First Afghan Medal, and the medal itself was awarded to the troops of the Hon. East India Company, which defended this hill fortress for several months, and finally, before they were eventually relieved from Candahar utterly routed and drove off a force of four thousand men. As the medal was given only to 950 in all (forty being European artillerymen, the remainder native troops), it is naturally very scarce.
8. Sinde, 1843.—Awarded by Queen Victoria to the forces of the Crown, and by the Government of India to the troops of the Company. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on First China Medal. Reverse: 1. MEEANEE 1843. 2. HYDERABAD 1843. 3. MEEANEE HYDERABAD 1843. In each case the inscription is surrounded by a laurel wreath, and surmounted by a crown. Ribbon: Military ribbon of India (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The award of a medal for Sir Charles Napier’s conquest of Sinde was first notified, as far as the troops of the Crown were concerned, by a letter from Lord Stanley, then war secretary, to the president of the India Board, dated July 18, 1843, and it is worth noting that this is the only instance of any medals for Indian service being paid for by the Crown. The notification of a similar award by the Government of India to their own troops, followed in a G.O. by the governor-general, dated September 22, 1843. The award was confined to those who had been present at either Meeanee or Hyderabad, and the medals were issued according as to which actions the recipient had been present, no one of course receiving more than one medal for the campaign. In addition to the land forces of the Hon. East India Company, the medal was also given to the naval officers and crews of the Company’s flotilla on the Indus. The only Crown regiment that received this medal was the 22nd Foot.
9. Gwalior, 1843 (“Maharajpoor” and “Punniar” Stars).—Awarded by the Government of India, 1844. This decoration took the form of, a bronze star of six points, 2 in. in diameter. Obverse: In centre a silver star, 11 in. in diameter, around the centre of which is a circle in which is inscribed either MAHARAJPOOR 1843 or PUNNIAR 1843, and in centre of circle the date 29th DECR. Reverse: Plain for name and regiment, or corps, of recipient. Ribbon: Military ribbon of India (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The award of a medal to the troops of the Crown and the Hon. East India Company engaged in the Gwalior Campaign of 1843 was first notified in governor-general’s G.O., dated Camp, Gwalior Residency, January 4, 1844; and the queen’s permission for it to be worn by Crown troops given June 26, 1844. The force moved in two columns, the main and larger under Sir Hugh (Viscount) Gough, the smaller under Major-General Gray. Each force fought an action on the same day, December 29, 1843, the former at Maharajpoor, the latter at Punniar, and the star was inscribed according to which action the recipient was engaged. The stars were manufactured from the metal of the captured guns. The star given to Sir Hugh Gough had in the centre a silver elephant in lieu of a silver star, and it was originally intended that all should be the same, but the silver star was substituted for reasons of economy. As there were fewer troops at Punniar that star is of course the more uncommon.
10. Sutlej, 1845–46 (1st Sikh War).—Awarded by Government of India, 1845. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on First China Medal. Reverse: Figure of Victory, standing, with in right hand outstretched a wreath, in left a palm branch; at her feet a trophy of captured Sikh weapons and armour. In exergue, name and year of the first battle of the war in which recipient was engaged. These inscriptions are four, viz. MOODKEE 1845, FEROZESHUHUR 1845, ALIWAL 1846, SOBRAON 1846. Ribbon: Blue with crimson borders (Plate I.). Clasps: FEROZESHUHUR, ALIWAL, SOBRAON.
This award, given to all the troops, both Crown and Hon. East India Company engaged in the First Sikh War, was first notified in governor-general’s G.O., dated Camp, Ferozepore, December 25, 1845, the queen’s consent for Crown troops to receive the medal being given six months later. As there was a considerable number of troops engaged in this campaign, the medal is not a very rare one, but a very rare combination is the medal with Ferozeshuhur in the exergue and the clasp for Aliwal, as only half a company of native artillery was present in these two battles and in no other. This is a specially noticeable medal, for it is the first time that “clasps” were issued with a “general” medal, the precedent followed being that of the Army Gold Medal. For every action after his first battle, which was inscribed on the medal itself, the recipient received a clasp. Thus a medal with “Moodkee” in the exergue might carry one, two or three clasps; a “Sobraon” medal could have no clasps. This and the “Punjab” medal, to be described later, are generally considered to be the two finest pieces of medal work by W. Wyon, R.A.
11. Navy General Service, 1793–1840.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1847. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on First China Medal; under head, 1848. Reverse: Britannia seated on a sea horse; in her right hand, a trident; in her left, a laurel branch. Ribbon: White, with dark blue borders (Plate I.). Clasps: 231 clasps in all were granted, of which 55 were for “Boat Service.”
An Admiralty memorandum dated June 1, 1847, notified the grant of this award to commemorate the services of the fleet “during the wars commencing in 1793 and ending in 1815,” and this practically confined the award to those operations for which the Navy Gold Medal (see ante) had been conferred. Subsequently, however, a board of admirals was appointed to consider claims, and on their recommendation an Admiralty memorandum dated June 7, 1848, extended the grant. Clasps were to be given for: (1) All Gold Medal actions or operations. (2) All actions in which first lieutenants or commanders were promoted, as had been customary after important and meritorious engagements. (3) All “Boat Service” operations in which the officer conducting the operations was promoted. (4) For, in co-operation with the land forces, the siege and capture of Martinique, 1809, Guadaloupe, 1810, Java, 1811, and St Sebastian, 1813, for all of which operations the Army Gold Medal had been awarded; and (5) The Bombardment of Algiers, 1816; the Battle of Navarino, 1827; and operations on the coast of Syria, 1840.
Although the medal is purely a naval one, yet it was conferred on a few soldiers who had done duty in the fleet in actions or operations, for which the medal was granted. Forty military officers in all received the Navy G.S. medal, one, Captain Caleb Chute, 69th Foot, with two clasps, viz. “14th March, 1795” and “St Vincent.” It is very difficult to compile an absolutely accurate list of all the clasps issued, for in several cases more than one clasp was given for the same action, and there were moreover nine or ten clasps allowed for which no claims appear to have been made good. The combination of the clasps is endless, but it is curious to note that medals with more than one, or two clasps are rare; with four or five clasps, very rare; and the highest number of clasps issued with any one medal is six. Amongst very rare clasps the following may be mentioned. One survivor only, Lieut. Baugh, the officer in command, was alive to claim the clasp “Rapid, 24th April, 1808.” Only two claims were proved for “Surly, 24th April, 1810”; six for “Castor, 17th June, 1809”; seven for “Amazon, 13th January, 1797”; eight for “Confiance, 14th January, 1809”; and ten for “Acheron, 3rd February, 1805.” Of “Boat Service” clasps only three were claimed for “10th December, 1799”; four for “9th June, 1799”; and eight for “10th July, 1799.” (All “Boat Service” clasps are inscribed “Boat Service” with the day and month on the left, and the year on the right.) In all nearly thirty thousand claims were proved for the medal.
12. Army General Service, 1793–1814.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1847. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on First China Medal; under head, 1848. Reverse: Queen Victoria on a dais is placing a wreath on the head of the duke of Wellington, who kneels on his left knee before her, holding in his right hand the baton of a Field Marshal; at the side of the dais is a lion dormant. Legend: TO THE BRITISH ARMY. In exergue: 1793–1814. Ribbon: Crimson with blue borders (Plate I.). Clasps: EGYPT, MAIDA, ROLEIA, VIMIERA, SAHAGUN, BENEVENTE, SAHAGUN-BENEVENTE, CORUNNA, MARTINIQUE, TALAVERA, GUADALOUPE, BUSACO, BARROSA, FUENTES D’ONOR, ALBUHERA, JAVA, CIUDAD RODRIGO, BADAJOZ, SALAMANCA, FORT DETROIT, CHATEAUGUAY, CHRYSTLER’S FARM, VITTORIA, PYRENEES, ST SEBASTIAN, NIVELLE, NIVE, ORTHES, TOULOUSE.
This medal, frequently erroneously termed the “Peninsular War” medal, was awarded to the survivors of the military forces of the Crown that had taken part in the Peninsular War, and in contemporaneous operations in other parts of the world; it was also given with the clasp “Java” to the European troops of the Hon. East India Company; with the clasps “Martinique” and “Guadaloupe” to certain local West Indian Corps; and with the clasps “Fort Detroit,” “Chateauguay,” and “Chrystler’s Farm,” to some Canadian militia and local levies, as well as to some Indian auxiliaries. The award of the medal, and all the clasps except “Egypt,” bear date June 1, 1847, but the clasp “Egypt” was not granted till February 12, 1850. Although the medal is supposed to commemorate services “during the wars commencing in 1793, and ending in 1814,” the earliest operations for which the medal was awarded did not take place until 1801. No medal was issued without a clasp, and as will be seen the medal was awarded only for those actions or operations for which the Army Gold Medals (including that for Maida) had been awarded; and in addition for the operations in Egypt in 1801. The combination of clasps is endless but only two medals were issued with fifteen clasps, though several survivors proved their claim to fourteen clasps. In fact medals with seven, eight or nine clasps are not common, those with ten, or more, distinctly rare. For example, taking only medals issued to officers (including those of the King’s German Legion), three were issued with 14 clasps, three with 13, nine with 12, twelve with 11, thirty-six with 10, fifty-eight with 9, ninety with 8, and one hundred and fourteen with 7. By far the rarest of all clasps is “Benevente,” as according to the War Office lists only three would appear to have been issued, viz. to Captain Evelegh, R.H.A., Pte. G. Barrett, 10th Hussars, and Pte. M. Gilmour, 18th Hussars, although a medal with this clasp having every appearance of being genuine and issued to Pte. William Lyne, 7th Hussars, was in the collection of Colonel Murray of Polmaise. Sahagun also is a very rare clasp, as it was received only by fifteen men of the 15th Hussars and a few others. The three North American clasps are also very rare, especially Chateauguay. Leaving out awards to Indian warriors, the statistics regarding the issue of the North American clasps are approximately as follows. At Chateauguay some 300 men fought, and 132 survivors proved for the clasp, of which all except three of the Royal Artillery were Canadians. For Chrystler’s Farm, the next rarest clasp, out of about 800 engaged 176 claims were proved: viz. 79 of the 89th Foot, 59 Canadians, 44 of the 49th Foot, and 4 Royal Artillery. At Fort Detroit, 1330 men were engaged, and those who proved for the clasp included 210 Canadians, 52 of the 41st Foot, 5 Royal Artillery, and one man of the 41st Foot (who also got the clasp for Chrystler’s Farm). One man proved for all three clasps, another for “Fort Detroit” and “Chateauguay,” a third for “Chateauguay” and “Chrystler’s Farm.” The former medal is said to be in the cabinet of a New York collector. Two “regulars” also proved for the medal with clasps for “Fort Detroit” and “Chrystler’s Farm,” the one belonging to the Royal Artillery, the other to the 49th Foot. The medal of the former sold at the Greg sale, in 1887, for £25 10s.
13. Punjab, 1848–49 (2nd Sikh War).—Awarded by Government of India, 1849. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in First China Medal. Reverse: Sikh chiefs delivering up their arms to Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert, near Rawal Pindi, March 14, 1849. Above, TO THE ARMY OF THE PUNJAB. In exergue, MDCCCXLIX. Ribbon: Blue with yellow stripes at side (Plate I.). Clasps: MOOLTAN, CHILIANWALA, GOOJERAT.
The award of this medal was first notified by a G.O. of the governor-general, dated Camp, Ferozepore, April 2, 1849. The medal is one of special interest, for it establishes the principle that now rules, viz. that every one participating in a campaign (including for the first time civilians) was entitled to receive the medal, apart from those who received the medal together with a clasp for a specific action. The medal in fact was granted “to every officer and soldier who has been employed within the Punjab in this campaign to the date of the occupation of Peshawur.” In other words it was granted to all who had served “during this campaign within the territories of Maharajah Duleep Sing,” irrespective of whether they had qualified for any of the clasps. A very large number of medals was therefore issued without clasps. Another interesting point about this award is that after its grant it was laid down that in future no medals were to be issued by the Government of India without the consent of the Crown. As a matter of fact the Government of India was for the future only concerned in the grant of the two medals that followed, namely the First and Second India General Service Medals. No medals were issued with more than two of the three clasps, the combination being either “Mooltan” and “Goojerat” or “Chilianwala” and “Goojerat.” Very rare medals are those of the 24th Foot with the clasp for “Chilianwala,” as in that action they lost more than half their strength, their casualties amounting to 497, of whom 250 were killed or died of wounds. Another rare medal is that given without a clasp to the officers and men of the Indian Marine that manned the Indus Flotilla; and more rare still is the same medal with the “Mooltan” clasp which was given to a naval brigade landed from the same flotilla.
14. India, 1799–1826 (1st India G.S., officially styled “India, 1851”).—Awarded by the Government of India, 1851. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in First China Medal. Reverse: Victory seated, in her right hand a laurel branch, in her left a wreath; on the ground beside her a lotus flower, and in the left background a palm tree and trophy of Eastern arms. Above, TO THE ARMY OF INDIA. In exergue, 1799–1826. Ribbon: Sky blue (Plate I.). Clasps: ALLIGHUR, BATTLE OF DELHI, ASSYE, ASSEERGHUR, LASWARREE, ARGAUM, GAWILGHUR, DEFENCE OF DELHI, BATTLE OF DEIG, CAPTURE OF DEIG, NEPAUL, KIRKEE, POONA, KIRKEE-POONA, SEETABULDEE, NAGPORE, SEETABULDEE-NAGPORE, MAHEIDPOOR, CORYGAUM, AVA, BHURTPOOR.
This medal was awarded “to the surviving officers and soldiers of the Crown and of the East India Company” who took part in any one of seventeen specified actions and operations which occurred in India, Nepaul and Burma, during the first twenty-five years of the 19th century, “including the officers and seamen of the Royal Navy and the Company’s Marine who took part in the first Burmese War.” The queen’s consent to the grant of this medal was announced in the London Gazette by a Notice of the Court of Directors, dated March 21, 1851. It was subsequently notified to the British Army by a Horse Guards G.O., dated March 21, 1851; to the Royal Navy by an Admiralty memorandum of the same date; and to the Army in India by a governor-general’s G.O., dated April 14, 1851. In this medal again there is a discrepancy in dating, for though it is dated 1799–1826, the first action for which it was awarded, the storming of Allighur, took place on September 24, 1803. No medals were issued without clasps, the largest combination of clasps known being five. According to the India Office records there were apparently men entitled to as many as seven clasps, but whether any medal was issued with more than five is very doubtful. That awarded to the duke of Wellington had three clasps, “Assye,” “Argaum” and “Gawilghur.” With the exception of medals issued with the Ava and Bhurtpore clasps, this medal is a rare one, and with a large number of the clasps, all except perhaps those for Nepaul and Maheidpore, an extremely rare one. The rarest of all is “Seetabuldee,” as only two Europeans and two natives are known to have received it. “Defence of Delhi” is also a very rare clasp, as the garrison only comprised two weak battalions of native infantry; as is also “Corygaum,” which was issued to only two Europeans, “both officers,” and seventy-five natives. The only European troops present at Corygaum were an officer and twenty-six men of the Madras Artillery, of whom the officer and twelve men were killed and eight wounded. As the “Burma” medal had already been given to the Company’s native officers and soldiers for the First Burmese War, on y the European officers and men of the Company’s service received the medal with “Ava” clasp; but as the “Nepaul” medal had not been given to all the native troops who actually served “within the hills,” the medal with clasp ”Nepaul” was granted to those native troops who had not received the Nepaul medal, as well as to all the Company’s European officers and men.
15. India, 1852–95 (2nd India G.S., officially styled “India, 1854”).—Awarded by the Government of India as far as the first two issues with their clasps are concerned, all subsequent issues and clasps, with the exception of the last two, by Queen Victoria; the last two issues and clasps by King Edward VII. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in First China Medal. Reverse: Victory standing, crowning a naked warrior sitting. In exergue, a lotus flower and leaves, symbolizing the connexion of the medal with India. Ribbon: Red, with two blue stripes, forming five 1-inch stripes (Plate I.). Clasps: PEGU, PERSIA, NORTH-WEST FRONTIER, UMBEYLA, BHOOTAN, LOOSHAI, PERAK 1875–76, JOWAKI 1877–78, NAGA 1879–80, BURMA 1885–87, SIKKIM 1888, HAZARA 1888, BURMA 1887–89, CHIN-LOOSHAI 1889–90, SAMANA 1891, HAZARA 1891, N.E. FRONTIER 1891, HUNZA 1891, BURMA 1889–92, LUSHAI 1889–92, WAZIRISTAN 1894–95, CHIN HILLS 1892–93, KACHIN HILLS 1892–93.
The queen’s assent to this award, to those of H.M.’s Sea and Land Forces, as well as those belonging to the East India Company’s Establishment enga ed in the Second Burmese War, was first made known to the Government of India in a letter from the Court of Directors, April 6, 1853. In a Minute by Lord Dalhousie, the governor-general, December 9, 1852, it had been suggested “whether it would not be better for the future, instead of issuing a separate Medal for each campaign, to have one Medal, such as the ‘Indian Medal’ (i.e. the ‘India, 1851’ Medal), which should be issued once to each individual entitled: the particular service for which it is granted being recorded upon a Bar, and every subsequent service which may be thought to deserve distinction being recorded by an additional Bar. This plan would avoid the multiplication of Medals, which has accumulated of late years, which humbly think is undesirable.” In another letter from the Court of Directors to the Government of India, March 1, 1854, this suggestion is approved, and it was ordered that after “a suitable design” had been procured (L. C. Wyon designed the reverse), “the Medal to be now struck shall be of a general character, the particular service for which it is now granted, viz. ‘Pegu,’ being recorded on a Bar. In the event of the same soldiers being entitled hereafter to another similar distinction, the service will be recorded by an additional Bar to the same Medal.” Occasional mistakes have however been made, for, since the issue with the clasp for the Perak campaign, from which time it has become customary to date the clasp, many instances have occurred of men having received two medals with clasps for different campaigns. The issue to the Persian Expeditionary Force (1856–1857), with the clasp “Persia,” was awarded by the Court of Directors January 19, 1858, and sanctioned by the queen in the same month. The first issue of the medal by the Crown was authorized April 15, 1859, with the clasps “North-West Frontier” and “Umbeyla,” the former covering various expeditions between 1849 and 1863, the latter the hard-fought Umbeyla Campaign of the latter mentioned year. All subsequent issues of the award were made by Queen Victoria, with the exception of those that carried with them the clasps “Chin Hill 1892–93,” and “Kachin Hills 1892–93,” which were only awarded ten years afterwards by King Edward VII., and notified in Army Order 9 of January 1903; the medal, which had meantime been superseded by the Third India G.S. medal described below, being re-issued with these last two clasps. The combination of clasps with this medal is very numerous, but medals with more than two or three clasps are rare. Seven is probably the greatest number awarded with any one medal, and a medal with this number, viz. “Umbeyla,” “North-West Frontier,” “Jowaki 1877–78,” “Burma 1885–87,” “Hazara 1888,” “Samana 1891,” and “Hunza 1891,” was granted to Bhanga Singh, Sardar Bahadur, who retired as Subadar-Major of No. 4 (Derajat) Mountain Battery. Sir William Lockhart (q.v.) had the medal with six clasps. The rarest of all the clasps is probably “Hunza 1891,” as less than a thousand men were employed, and the majority of these were Cashmere Imperial Service Troops. No European troops received the clasps, “Looshai,” “Naga 1879–80,” or “Hunza 1891.” “Sikkim 1888” is also a rare clasp as only some 2000 troops were employed, the only Europeans being two companies of the 2nd Derbyshire Regiment. So also is “N.E. Frontier 1891,” for in the Manipur expedition for which this clasp was given about 3000 men were employed, the only Europeans being four companies of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. It was with the issue of this medal with the clasp “Burma 1885–87,” that the precedent was set of awarding the medal and clasp in bronze to “all authorized followers,” a precedent that was followed in all subsequent issues.
16. South Africa, 1834–35, 1846–47, 1850–53.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1854. (South Africa, 1877–79. Re-issue of first medal. Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1880.) Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in First China Medal. Reverse: A lion crouching behind a sugar bush (Protea mellifera). Above, SOUTH AFRICA. In exergue, 1853. In the exergue of the re-issued medal, the lace of the date is taken by a trophy of four assegais and a Zulu shield. Ribbon: Orange watered, with two broad and two narrow blue stripes (Plate II.). Clasps: 1877–78–79, 1878–79, 1877–78, 1878, 1877, 1879.
The command of the queen that a medal should be awarded to the survivors of the forces that had been engaged in the first, second and third Kaffir Wars (1834–35, 1846–47, and 1850–53) was notified by Viscount Hardinge, the commander-in-chief, in a G.O., dated Horse Guards, November 22, 1854. No clasps were issued with this medal. The medal was accorded only to the “regular forces” (including the Cape Mounted Rifles), so local levies did not receive it. In the third Kaffir War a small Naval Brigade and a detachment of Royal Marines took part in the operations, and the survivors received the medal. The award of the re-issue was notified in a G.O. by the duke of Cambridge, commander-in-chief, August 1, 1880. It was to “be granted to Her Majesty’s Imperial Forces, and to such of Her Majesty’s Colonial Forces, European or Native, as were regularly organized and disciplined as combatants, whether raised by the Colonial Government or by the General Officer Commanding.” The operations for which it was given were against the Galekas and Gaikas 1877–78, the Griquas 1878, Basutos 1879, Zulus 187, and Sekukuni 1878–79. In both the operations against the Galelgas and Gaikas, and in the Zulu War of 1879, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines took part and received the medal. The clasps issued with this medal were as noted above and record the year, or years, of service covering all the operations in which the recipient was engaged. No one received a medal with more than one clasp. The medal without a clasp was issued to such troops as were employed in Natal from January to September 1879, but never crossed the border into Zululand.
17. Crimea, 1854–56.—Awarded by Queen Victoria in 1854. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in First China Medal; below, 1854. Reverse: Victory crowning a Roman soldier, who holds a sword in his right hand, and bears on his left arm a shield on which is the figure of a lion. On the left, CRIMEA. Ribbon: Light blue, with narrow yellow borders (Plate I.). Clasps: ALMA, BALAKLAVA, INKERMANN, SEBASTOPOL, AZOFF.
This medal, awarded to both Services, was first notified by a commander-in-chief’s G.O., dated December 15, 1854. The grant was limited to all troops landing in the Crimea up to September 9, 1855—the day on which Sevastopol fell—“unless they shall have been engaged after that date in some expedition or operation against the enemy.” This latter proviso applied in the main to the naval clasp “AZOFF,” the period for which award was extended to the 22nd of November. The clasps for this medal are very ornamental, being in the shape of oak leaves, ornamented with acorns. The Royal Navy and Royal Marines, besides the “Azoff” clasp, received the clasps “Balaklava,” “Inkermann,” “Sebastopol.” The largest number of clasps to any one medal is four. Certain non-combatants received the medal without a clasp.
18. Baltic, 1854–55.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1856. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in First China Medal. Reverse: Britannia seated and holding a trident in her right hand. In the background forts. Above, BALTIC. In exergue, 1854–1855. Ribbon: Yellow, with pale blue borders (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
This award, notified by Admiralty Order, June 5, 1856, was granted “to the officers and crews of Her Majesty’s ships, as well as to such officers and Men of Her Majesty’s Army as were employed in the operations in the Baltic in the years 1854 and 1855.” The medal is, of course, practically a naval one, but two officers and ninety-nine men of the Royal Engineers were employed in the expedition, especially at Bomarsund, and received it.
19. Turkish Crimea Medal.—Awarded by the Sultan, 1856. Obverse: A trophy composed of a field piece, a mortar, and an anchor, the field piece standing on the Russian Imperial Standard, and having a map of the Crimea spread over the wheel and breech. Behind are the Turkish, British, French and Sardinian flags. The flag of the nation to which the recipient belonged is in the front with that of Turkey, the flags of the other two nationalities behind. In exergue, “Crimea 1855,” “La Crimée 1855,” or “La Crimea 1855,” according as to whether the medal was intended for British, French or Sardinian recipients. Reverse: The Sultan’s cypher, below, in Turkish, “Crimea,” and the year of the Hegira, 1271. Ribbon: Crimson watered, with bright green edges (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
This medal was distributed to all of the Allied Forces, both naval and military, which shared in the operations in the Black Sea and the Crimea. As the ship that conveyed a majority of the English medals was sunk, the remainder were issued indiscriminately, and a large number of the British received medals which were originally intended either for the French or Sardinians.
20. Arctic, 1818–1855 (First Arctic).—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1857. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria, wearing a tiara. Legend, VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse: A ship blocked in the ice, icebergs to right and left, and in foreground a sledging party. Above, FOR ARCTIC DISCOVERIES. In exergue, 1818–1855. Ribbon: White (Plate II.). Clasps: Nil.
This award was first notified in an Admiralty Notice dated, January 30, 1857. It was given to the crews of Her Majesty’s ships employed in Arctic exploration, and also “to the officers of the French Navy, and to such volunteers as accompanied those expeditions”; also to those engaged in expeditions “equipped by the government and citizens of the United States”: also to the “commanders and crews of the several expeditions which originated in the zeal and humanity of Her Majesty’s subjects”: and finally to those who served “in the several land expeditions, whether equipped by Her Majesty’s government, by the Hudson’s Bay Company, or from private resources.” The medal is worn on the left breast and takes rank as a war medal. It is octagonal in shape, 1·3 in., and has affixed to the upper edge a five-pointed star to which is attached a ring for suspension. The head of the queen, which is the work of L. C. Wyon, has never been reproduced on any other medal.
21. Indian Mutiny, 1857–58.—Awarded by the Government of India, 1858. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on First China Medal. Reverse: Britannia standing facing left with a lion on her right side; her right arm is extended holding out a wreath; on her left arm is the Union shield, and in her left hand a wreath. Above, INDIA. In exergue, 1857–1858. Ribbon: White, with two red stripes, forming five 1-inch stripes (Plate I.). Clasps: DELHI (May 30 to Sep. 14, 1857); DEFENCE OF LUCKNOW (June 29 to Sep. 25, 1857); RELIEF OF LUCKNOW (Nov., 1857); LUCKNOW (March 2 to 21, 1858); CENTRAL INDIA (Jan. to June 1858).
The grant of this award was first notified in a despatch from the Court of Directors to the Government which stated that “the Queen has been graciously pleased to command that a Medal shall be granted to the troops in the Service of Her Majesty, and of the East India Company, who have been, or may be, employed in the suppression of the Mutiny in India.” This is the last medal given by the Honourable East India Company. The medal without clasp was awarded to all, including civilians, who had taken part in operations against the mutineers or rebels, and with the clasps enumerated above to those who shared in the operations specified. Some two or three artillery men are known to have received the medal with the clasps “Delhi,” “Relief of Lucknow,” “Lucknow” and “Central India.” The medal with three clasps, viz. “Delhi,” “Relief of Lucknow” and “Lucknow” was given only to the 9th Lancers and the Bengal Horse Artillery, and of course various officers who served on the staff, as, for example, Field Marshals Earl Roberts and Sir Henry Norman. With regard to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the “Shannon’s” brigade, under Captain Peel, received the medal with one, or both, of the clasps “Relief of Lucknow,” “Lucknow,” the “Pearl’s” brigade, under Captain Sotheby received the medal without clasp. This is the last medal that had on it the beautiful head of Queen Victoria which was first used for the China Medal of 1842, and of which W. Wyon, R.A., was the artist.
22. Abyssinia, 1867–68.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1868. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria, with diadem and veil; around an indented border, between the nine points of which are the letters A.B.Y.S.S.I.N.I.A. Reverse: Within a beaded circle the name of recipient, his corps, regiment or ship, the whole surrounded with a wreath of laurel. Ribbon: Red, with broad white borders Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The sanction of this award is to be found in a letter from Sir J. S. Pakington, secretary of state for war, to H.R.H. the duke of Cambridge, field-marshal commanding-in-chief, which notifies the queen’s pleasure “that a medal be granted to all Her Majesty’s Forces and Indian Forces, Naval and Military, employed in the operations in Abyssinia, which resulted in the capture of Magdala.” In all 20,000 medals were struck. The medal is smaller than the usual, 11in. in diameter, and it is surmounted by an Imperial Crown, and a large silver ring for suspension. It is altogether an unusual type of medal, and in the use of an indented border it follows a very old precedent, that of a medal commemorating the victory of Valens over Procopius, A. D. 365. (See Les Médaillons de l’empire romain, by W. Froehner, Paris, 1878). The artists responsible for this medal are Joseph S. Wyon and Alfred B. Wyon, and this bust of the queen is reproduced on only one other medal, the New Zealand.
23. New Zealand, 1845–47, 1860–66.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1869. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria as on Abyssinia medal, but larger. Legend: VICTORIA D:G:BRITT: REG:F:D: Reverse: Dated, within a wreath of laurel, according to the period in which the recipient served. Above, NEW ZEALAND; below, VIRTUTIS HONOR. Ribbon: Blue, with a broad red stripe down centre (Plate I.). Clasps: Nil.
The grant of this award to the Army was notified in an Army Order, dated March 1, 1869, and its extension to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines by an Admiralty Order, dated June 3, 1869. Owing to incompleteness in the returns many medals were issued undated. The dates on the reverse, in those issued dated, varied considerably; for the First Maori War, the medal was issued to the Army with one, and to the Navy with five different dates; for the Second Maori War, the medal was issued to the Army with twenty-one, and to the Navy with five different dates. No medal was dated 1862, though many of the Army medals bore date of a period covering that year, although no naval medals did.
24. West Africa, 1873–1900.—Awarded (originally as the “Ashantee” medal) by Queen Victoria in 1874, with the exception of the last issue, with clasp “1900,” which was awarded by H.M. King Edward VII. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria, with diadem, and veil behind, by L. C. Wyon. Legend: VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse: British soldiers fighting savages in thick bush, by Sir E. J. Poynter. Ribbon: Yellow, with black borders, and two narrow black stripes (Plate II.). Clasps: COOMASSIE, 1887–8, 1891–2, 1892, 1893–94; WITU, 1890; LIWONDI, 1893; WITU, August 1893; JUBA RIVER, 1893; LAKE NYASSA, 1893; GAMBIA, 1894; BENIN RIVER, 1894; BRASS RIVER, 1895; MWELE, 1895;  NIGER, 1897; BENIN, 1897; SIERRA LEONE, 1898–99; 1896–98, 1897–98, 1898, 1899, 1900.
This medal was first awarded by Army Order 43, dated June 1, 1874, to “all of Her Majesty’s Forces who have been employed on the Gold Coast during the operations against the King of Ashantee,” and in addition a clasp, “Coomassie,” “in the case of those who were present at Amoaful and the actions between that place and Coomassie (including the capture of the capital), and of those who, during the five days of those actions, were engaged on the north of the Prah in maintaining and protecting the communications of the main army.” In all, with and without the clasp, 11,000 medals were issued for the Ashantee campaign to both Services. Over eighteen years later this same medal was re-issued as a “general service” medal, the award being for operations in Central Africa, and on the East and West Coasts, during the period 1887–92, which were covered by the dated clasps “1887–8,” “1891–2,” and “1892.” As such the issue was continued for operations down to the year 1900, although the official title “West Africa Medal” (see Army Order 253, of Dec. 1894) is somewhat of a misnomer, for very frequently the medal has been granted for services in Central Africa and in the Hinterland of the East Coast as for services on the West Coast. In all issues since the original “Ashantee” medal, the clasp only was given to those who already had the medal, so subsequent issues do not make it a new award. As will be seen later, the same medal was subsequently issued with a different ribbon, and so constituted as an entirely new decoration, that could be worn in conjunction with the older one. With the exception of those issued with “Mwele, 1895” engraved on the medal, none of these medals have been issued without a clasp since the original issue for the campaign of 1873–74; and the clasp “Coomassie” that accompanied the first issue is the only one that has been issued to regimental units of the British Army as apart from the West India Regiment and local troops. The duke of Edinburgh was married in January of the year in which this medal was first awarded, and it is said that yellow and black (the Imperial Russian colours) were chosen as the colours of the ribbon, in compliment to his consort the grand duchess Marie of Russia.
25. Arctic, 1876 (2nd Arctic Medal).—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1876. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria, crowned and with veil by G. G. Adams. Legend: VICTORIA REGINA; underneath bust, 1876. Reverse: A ship packed in floe ice; above, an Arctic sky with fleecy clouds in a clear horizon. Ribbon: White (Plate II.). Clasps: Nil.
The award of this grant was notified in an Admiralty Order, dated Nov. 28, 1876, and the award is specified “to all persons, of every rank and class, who were serving on board Her Majesty’s ships ‘Alert’ and ‘Discovery’ during the Arctic Expedition of 1875–1876, and on board the yacht ‘Pandora,’ in her voyage to the Arctic Regions in 1876.” The ‘Pandora’ was owned and sailed by Commander (Sir Allen) Young, R.N.R., whose officers and crew rendered valuable services to Her Majesty’s ships when in the Polar seas. Sixty-three medals were given on board the “Alert,” fifty-seven on board the “Discovery.” The bust on the obverse of this medal has not been reproduced on any other. The reverse (by L. C. Wyon) is copied from a photograph taken during the expedition of the “Alert” and “Discovery” under Sir George Nares, K.C.B.
26. Afghanistan, 1878–80 (2nd Afghan). Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1880. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria, crowned and with veil, by J. E. Boehm. This is the first war medal bearing the imperial title. Legend: VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX. Reverse: A column of troops emerging from a mountain-pass, headed by a heavy battery elephant carrying a gun; behind, mounted troops. Above, AFGHANISTAN. In exergue, 1878–79–80. Ribbon: Green, with crimson borders (Plate I.). Clasps: ALI MUSJID, PEIWAR KOTAL, CHARASIA, KABUL, AHMED KHEL, KANDAHAR.
At the conclusion of the first phase of the Second Afghan War, it was proposed that the (Second) India G.S. Medal should be issued for this campaign with clasps “Afghanistan,” “Ali Musjid,” “Peiwar Kotal,” but, after the massacre of Sir P. L. N. Cavagnari and the members and escort of the Embassy at Kabul, Sep. 3, 1879, and the consequent renewal of the war, it was decided to grant a separate medal. The first official intimation of the award is in a telegram from the secretary of state for India to the viceroy, dated Aug. 7, 1880. The award, with the regulations to govern the issue, was promulgated in a G.O. by the governor-general, Dec. 10, 1880, and subsequent G.O.’s. The medal without clasp was awarded to all who had served across the frontier between Nov. 22, 1878, and May 26, 1879 (first phase of the war), and between Sep. 1879, and Aug. 15, 1880 for the Khyber and Kurram Lines, and Sep. 20, 1880, for Southern Afghanistan (second phase of the war). The “Kabul” clasp was awarded to all who had shared in the operations “at and near that place from the 10th to the 23rd Dec., 1879, including the column under the command of Brigadier-General C. J. S. Gough, C.B., which joined Sir Frederick Roberts on the 24th Dec., 1879.” The clasp for “Kandahar” did not include the whole garrison of the beleaguered city, but only the troops that were actually “engaged in the action fought under Sir Frederick Roberts’ command against Sirdar Mahomed Ayub Khan on the 1st Sep., 1880.” The greatest number of clasps with which the medal was issued was four, and the units to which such medals were issued are the 72nd Highlanders, 5th Ghoorkas, 5th Punjab Infantry and 23rd Punjab Pioneers. The bust of the Queen by Sir Edgar Boehm, R.A., has not been reproduced on other war medals.
27. Kabul to Kandahar, 1880.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1880. This decoration took the form of a five-pointed star, 1·9 in. across from point to point, with a ball between the points; between the two topmost points of the star is an Imperial Crown and ring for suspension. Obverse: In the centre the imperial monogram V.R.I., surrounded by a band inscribed KABUL TO KANDAHAR, 1880. Reverse: Plain, with a hollow centre, round which the recipient’s name and regiment are indented in capital letters. The old rainbow-coloured military ribbon is worn with this star.
The grant of this award was first notified in a despatch from the secretary of state for India to the viceroy, dated Nov. 30, 1880. This awarded the decoration “to the force which marched from Kabul to Kandahar,” and later, Aug. 26, 1881, a G.O. by the Governor-General extended the grant “to the troops which then composed the garrison of Kelat-i-Ghilzai, and accompanied the force under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir F. S. Roberts, G.C.B., V.C., from that place to Kandahar.”
28. Egypt, 1882–1889.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1882. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as in the West African Medal. Legend: VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX. Reverse: A Sphinx; above, EGYPT; below, 1882. Ribbon: Blue, with two white stripes, forming five 1-inch stripes (Plate I.). Clasps: ALEXANDRIA, 11th JULY; TEL-EL-KEBIR, SUAKIN, 1884; EL-TEB, TAMAAI, EL-TEB-TAMAAI, THE NILE, 1884–85; ABU KLEA, KIRBEKAN, SUAKIN, 1885; TOFREK, GEMAIZAH, 1888; TOSKI, 1889. This medal was first awarded (Admiralty Circular, Oct. 1882; G.O. by the commander-in-chief, Oct. 17, 1882; and G.O. by governor-general of India, Oct. 27, 1882); to all the Forces, naval and military, present and serving in Egypt between July 16, and Sep. 14, 1882. The first two clasps were also given with this issue. One military officer (Major-General Sir A. B. Tulloch, then of the Welsh Regiment) received the clasp “Alexandria, 11th July,” as he was serving in the fleet as military adviser to Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour. A second issue was made in 1884, and with it the next four clasps were given; “Suakin, 1884,” for those who landed at Suakin or Trinkitat between Feb. 19 and March 26, 1884, was, however, only given to those with the 1882 medal, those not so possessed receiving the medal without a clasp. A third issue was made in 1885, the next five clasps accompanying it. “The Nile, 1884–85,” was given to those who served south of Assouan on or before March 7, 1885; “Suakin, 1885,” to those who were engaged in the operations at Suakin between March and May 14, 1885; but the former clasp was only to go to those already possessed of the medal, others received the medal only. The medal alone was also given to all on duty at Suakin between March 27, 1884, and May 14, 1885. No medals were issued with single clasps for “Tofrek,” recipients of which also got clasp “Suakin, 1885,” or “Abu Klea” and “Kirbekan,” recipients of which got also clasp “The Nile, 1884–85.” In 1886, the medal without was issued to those who had not previously received it and had served at, and south of Wady Halfa, between Nov. 30, 1885 and Jan. 11, 1886, but no clasps went with this issue, although the operations included the battle of Ginnis. The last issue was made in 1890. The medal with clasp “Gemaizah, 1888,” to all who were present at that action near Suakin, Dec. 20, 1888; the medal alone to all employed on the Nile at, and south of Korosko, on Aug. 3, 1889, and with clasp “Toski, 1889,” to all present at that action, Aug. 3, 1889. Besides those already enumerated who received the medal without clasp, it was given to officers of hired transports of the mercantile marine, to some civilians, native and European, to the Australian contingent that landed at Suakin, and to the Canadian boatmen employed on the Nile. In fact, not far short of fifty thousand of these medals have been struck, and the numbers issued have exceeded that of any other medal with the exception of that given for the South African War. Seven clasps: “Tel-el-Kebir,” “Suakin, 1884”; “El-Teb-Tamaai”; “The Nile, 1884–85”; “Abu Klea”; “Gemaizah, 1888”; and “Toski, 1889,” were awarded to one officer, Major Beech, late 20th Hussars, who also received the Bronze Star with the clasp “Tokar, 1890.” The medal with six clasps was earned by four men of the 19th Hussars who were Lord Wolseley’s orderlies, and who after having earned the first five clasps enumerated in Major Beech’s medal, went with Lord Wolseley to Suakin and so got the “Suakin, 1885” clasp.
29. Egypt Bronze Star, 1882–93.—Awarded by the Khedive 1883. This decoration is in the shape of a five-pointed star (1·9 in. diameter) connected by a small star and crescent to a laureated bar to which the ribbon is attached. Obverse: A front view of the Sphinx, with the desert and pyramids in the rear. Around a double band, upon which are, above, EGYPT, 1882, and below, in Arabic, “Khedive of Egypt, 1299” (the Hegira date). In the second and third issues the dates are respectively altered to 1884, 1301 and 1884–86 and 1301–4; the fourth and fifth issues are dateless. Reverse: A large raised circle inside which is the Khedivial monogram, T. M. (Tewfik Mahomed), surmounted by a Crown and Crescent and Star. Ribbon: Dark blue (Plate I.). Clasps: TOKAR, 1890.
This star was awarded for the same operations as was the British Egyptian medal above described, but, except for a few officers and men of the Royal Navy, the issue of the clasp TOKAR was confined to British and native officers and men of the Egyptian service. (H. L. S.)
30. Canada, 1885.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1885. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on the West African (“Ashantee”) Medal. Reverse: NORTH WEST CANADA and date, within a maple leaf. Ribbon: Blue-grey, with a crimson stripe on each side (Plate II.). Clasp: SASKATCHEWAN.
This medal, commemorative of services in the Riel Rebellion, was awarded to Canadian forces only.
31. Canada (General Service).—Awarded, 1899. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria, as in Third India G. S. Medal. Reverse: Within a maple wreath, the Dominion flag, above, CANADA. Ribbon: Red, with white centre (Plate II.). Clasps: FENIAN RAID, 1866; FENIAN RAID, 1870; RED RIVER, 1870. One battalion of the King’s Royal Rifles received this medal with the Red River Clasp. Otherwise issue confined to Canadian forces.
32. “Queen’s” Sudan, 1896–1898.—Awarded by Queen Victoria, 1899. Obverse: Half-length effigy of Queen Victoria holding sceptre, by De Saulles, as in “Uganda” medal described below. Reverse: A winged Victory, seated, with, on either hand, the Union Jack and the Egyptian flag. The left hand holds a laurel wreath, the right a palm branch. On a tablet below, SUDAN, and below this lotus leaves. Ribbon: Half black, half yellow, divided by a narrow red stripe (Plate I.). Clasps: none.
Given for the operations under the command of Sir Herbert (Lord) Kitchener, which led to the reconquest of the Sudan, 1898; issued in bronze to followers.
33. “Khedive’s” Sudan, 1896–1900.—Awarded by the khedive in 1897. Obverse: “Abbas Hilmi II.” and date, in Arabic. Reverse: A trophy of arms with a shield in the centre, on a tablet below “Recovery of the Sudan,” in Arabic. Ribbon: Yellow, with blue centre (Plate I.). Clasps: FIRKET, HAFIR, SUDAN, 1897; SUDAN, 1898; ABU HAMED, THE ATBARA, KHARTOUM GEDAREF, SUDAN, 1899; SUDAN, 1900; CEDID, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL, 1900–1902; TEROK, NYAM NYAM, TALODI.
This medal was awarded to officers and men of the British Navy and Army, to the Egyptian Army engaged in the reconquest of the Sudan and (in bronze without clasps) to followers.
34. Cape Colony General Service, 1900.—Awarded by the government of Cape Colony. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria as on the Volunteer Long Service Medal. Reverse: Arms of Cape Colony. Ribbon: Dark blue, with yellow centre (Plate II.) Clasps: BASUTOLAND, TRANSKEI, BECHUANALAND. Issued to Colonial troops only, for services in various minor campaigns.
35. Matabeleland, 1893 (called the Rhodesia Medal).—Awarded by the British South Africa Company, 1896. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria. Reverse: A fighting lion. Ribbon: Orange, with three dark blue stripes (Plate II.). Clasps: RHODESIA and MASHONALAND, with dates.
This is the first war medal issued by a chartered company since the close of the Company’s rule in India. It was awarded to British officers and men of the British service, to the Cape Mounted Rifles, Bechuanaland police, and the Chartered Company’s own forces, engaged in the Matabeleland and Mashonaland Campaigns 1893, 1896 and 1897.
36. East and Central Africa, 1891–98.—Awarded by Queen Victoria in 1895. Obverse and Reverse: as in West African (or original Ashantee) Medal described above. Ribbon: Terra-cotta, white and black stripes (Plate II.). Clasps: CENTRAL AFRICA, 1894–96; CENTRAL AFRICA, 1899.
This medal only differs from the West African in that it has a different ribbon. It is suspended by a ring. Practically only the local forces (and of course their British officers) received this medal. But a few officers and men of the Indian Army and of the Royal Navy have also received it.
37. East and Central Africa, 1899 (the “Uganda” Medal )—Awarded by Queen Victoria in 1899. Obverse: Half-length effigy of Queen Victoria, by De Saulles. Reverse: Britannia with lion, gazing over a desert towards a rising sun. Ribbon: Half red, half yellow (Plate II.). Clasps: LUBWA’S, UGANDA, 1897–98; UGANDA, 1899; UGANDA, 1900.
This medal was awarded to the local forces and also to officers and men of the Indian Army and Royal Navy.
38. Ashanti Star, 1896.—Awarded by Queen Victoria in 1896. Obverse: An imperial crown with “Ashanti, 1896” round it. Reverse: Inscribed “from the Queen.” The star is four-pointed, and is crossed by a saltire or St Andrew’s cross. Ribbon: Yellow with black stripes (Plate II.).
This medal was issued for the expedition against Prempeh in 1896. As there was no actual fighting, no medal was given, but sickness claimed many victims, amongst them Prince Henry of Battenberg. The decoration was issued to officers and men of the British Army, Royal Navy and local troops.
39. Ashanti Medal, 1900.—Awarded by King Edward VII. in 1901. Obverse: Head and bust of King Edward VII. in the uniform of a field-marshal, by De Saulles. Reverse: a lion standing on a cliff, in the background the rising sun. Ribbon: Green with black edges and black central stripe (Plate II.). Clasp: KUMASSI.
This medal was the first which was issued with an effigy of King Edward VII. It was given only to local forces, and the British officers employed on the staff or in commands.
40. Africa General Service, 1899–.—Awarded by King Edward VII. in 1902. Obverse: As in Ashanti Medal of 1900. Reverse: As in “Uganda” Medal above described. Ribbon: Yellow, with black edges and two narrow green stripes (Plate II.). Clasps: N. NIGERIA, with various dates; S. NIGERIA, with various dates; UGANDA, 1900; JUBALAND, GAMBIA, LANGO, 1901 and 1902; JIDBALLI, KISSI, 1905; SOMALILAND, 1901 and 1902–04; BRITISH CENTRAL AFRICA, 1899–1900; ARO, 1901–02.
This medal represents an almost incessant warfare of a minor, but exacting, nature. In the first eighteen months, eleven clasps were awarded, some awards being of course retrospective. The clasp “Jubaland” is chiefly a naval award, but all the rest are almost exclusively earned by the West African Frontier Force and the King’s African Rifles. It is worthy of remembrance, however, that a contingent of Boer mounted riflemen took art in the Somaliland Campaign, within one year of the peace of, and received the medal and clasp. The “Somaliland, 1902–1904” clasp represents indeed a considerable campaign in which contingents from Great Britain and India took part.
41. “Queen’s” South African, 1899–1902.—Awarded by King Edward VII. in 1901 shortly after Queen Victoria’s death. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria, by De Saulles. Reverse: Britannia holding an outstretched laurel wreath towards a body of troops, in the background a coast line, the sea and war-ships. Ribbon: Centre orange bordered with blue, outside edges red (Plate II.). Clasps; see below.
The “Queen’s” medal for troops engaged in the South African War was authorized, shortly after Queen Victoria’s death, by Army Order 94 of 1901. It was given “to all officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men, of the British, Indian and Colonial forces, and to all Nurses and Nursing Sisters, who actually served in South Africa between 11th of October 1899, and a date to be fixed hereafter” (the war not being concluded) “to all troops stationed in Cape Colony and Natal at the outbreak of hostilities, and to troops stationed at St Helena between the 14th of April 1900, and a date to be fixed hereafter.” The last provision shows a widening of the signification hitherto attaching to “war service,” for the troops at St Helena were employed in guarding Boer prisoners. The A.O. referred to was supplemented by others in 1901 and 1902. Clasps were authorized as follows: BELMONT (Nov. 23, 1899); MODDER RIVER (Nov. 28, 1899); PAARDEBERG (Feb. 17–26, 1900); DREIFONTEIN (March 10, 1900); WEPENER (April 9–25, 1900); JOHANNESBURG (May 29, 1900); DIAMOND HILL (June 11–12, 1900); BELFAST (Aug. 26–27, 1900); WITTEBERGEN (July 1–29, 1900); DEFENCE OF KIMBERLEY (Oct. 14, 1899, Feb. 15, 1900); RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY (Feb. 15, 1900); DEFENCE OF MAFEKING (Oct. 13, 1899—May 17, 1900); RELIEF OF MAFEKING (May 17, 1900); TALANA (Oct. 20, 1899); ELANDSLAAGTE (Oct. 21, 1899); DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH (Nov. 3, 1899—Feb. 28, 1900); TUGELA HEIGHTS (Feb. 14–27, 1900); RELIEF OF LADYSMITH (Dec. 15, 1899—Feb. 28, 1900); LAING’S NEK (June 2–9, 1900). Clasps: for CAPE COLONY, NATAL, ORANGE FREE STATE and RHODESIA, were given to troops who served within the limits of the respective colonies and states named during the war, without being present at any action, fought inside those limits, for which a clasp was awarded. Non-enlisted men, of whatever nationality, who drew military pay, were awarded the medal in bronze instead of silver and without clasps. Militia units which volunteered and were sent to Mediterranean stations to release the regulars for field service were awarded (Feb. 1902) the medal without clasp, “Mediterranean” being substituted for “South Africa” on the reverse. This was not, of course, issued to any one entitled to the Queen’s Medal for South Africa.
43. The “King’s” South African Medal was awarded by King Edward VII. in 1902, to be worn in addition to the “Queen’s” by those who completed eighteen months’ service in South Africa during the war. On the obverse of the medal is the effigy of King Edward, by De Saulles (as on the “Ashanti, 1900,” Medal); the reverse is the same as that of the “Queen’s” Medal. Ribbon: Green, white and orange (Plate II.). The two clasps awarded were, in accordance with the terms of the award, general in character, to wit, SOUTH AFRICA, 1901 and SOUTH AFRICA, 1902.
44. China, 1900.—Awarded by King Edward VII., 1902. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria as on “Queen’s” South African Medal. Reverse: As on first China Medal, but with date altered. Ribbon: As in first China Medal (Plate I.). Clasps: DEFENCE OF LEGATIONS, RELIEF OF PEKIN, TAKU FORTS.
This medal was issued to the Royal Navy (including some Naval volunteers), British and Indian Armies, and the (Wei-hai-Wei) Chinese Regiment, for operations during the Boxer rebellion. This was the last war medal, as the “First China” was the first to bear Queen Victoria’s effigy. Sir E. H. Seymour, the commander of the Tientsin relieving column, who had taken part in the former China War, received the new medal as well as the old.
45. India, 1895 (Third India General Service).—Awarded by Queen Victoria in 1896. Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria, by T. Brock, R.A. Reverse: A British and Indian soldier supporting a standard; below, INDIA, 1895. Ribbon: Three red and two green stripes of equal width (Plate I.). Clasps: DEFENCE OF CHITRAL, 1895; RELIEF OF CHITRAL, 1895; MALAKAND, 1898; PUNJAB FRONTIER, 1898; TIRAH, 1897; TIRAH, 1898; WAZIRISTAN, 1901–02.
The ribbon of this medal is perhaps more frequently seen than that of any other British war medal except those for South Africa. In 1903 the medal was re-issued with the military effigy of King Edward VII. (as on the Ashanti, 1900, medal) on the obverse, and the date was omitted from the reverse. The medal is issued in bronze, without clasps, to followers.
46. Tibet, 1903–04.—Awarded by King Edward VII in 1905. Obverse: Military effigy of the king as on Ashanti, 1900, medal. Reverse: a representation of the Potala at Lhasa. Ribbon: Purple-red, edged with green and white stripes (Plate II.). Clasp: GYANTSE.
47. India, 1908.—A new India General Service Medal was authorized in 1908, to take the place of the medal granted by A.O. 43 of 1903. This was to be issued in silver to officers and men, and in bronze to non-enlisted men of all sorts. This medal with clasp bearing the name and date was given to the troops which took part in the North Western Frontier Expedition of 1908. The ribbon is dark blue edged with green.
48. Transport Medal.—Awarded by King Edward VII. in 1902. Obverse: Head and bust of the king in naval uniform, by De Saulles. Reverse; A steamer at sea, and the live continents. Ribbon: red, with two thin stripes near the edge (Plate II.). Clasps: SOUTH AFRICA, 1899–1902; CHINA, 1900. This medal is restricted to officers of the mercantile marine serving in chartered troop-ships. It is a sort of general service medal, clasps being added as earned. Up to 1910 only the above clasps had been authorized.
49. Polar Medal (or Antarctic Medal).—Awarded by King Edward VII., 1904. Obverse: Naval effigy of the king as on Transport Medal. Reverse: In the foreground a Sledge and travellers, in the background the steamer “Discovery” (Capt. R. F. Scott’s Expedition, 1904). Ribbon: As for 1st and 2nd Arctic Medals, white (Plate I.). The medal, like the 1st Arctic Medal, is octagonal. First awarded to officers and men of the “Discovery,” whether belonging to the Royal Navy or not. It is given with a dated clasp for Antarctic exploration service.
Other Medals and Decorations.—The above forty-nine medals are given as rewards for participating in the operations they commemorate, and issued generally to all concerned, irrespective of individual distinction or bravery. There are other classes of medals and decorations, civil as well as military, which must be grouped with them, as being allied in character. These are either (i.) awards personal to the recipient, being an acknowledgment of or reward for special individual services or good conduct (these are civil as well as military in respect of awards for bravery), or (ii.) awards that are simply of a commemorative kind, though worn as war medals and for the most part given to officers and soldiers. The more important of these two classes will be named. Orders given for service are dealt with, for the most part in the article Knighthood; but particulars are given here of certain distinctively military orders that have no knighthood rights and duties, and indeed little meaning apart from the deeds or services which led to the award-being so to speak, records of the past, rather than badges of a present membership. Individual decorations for services may be classed as (i.) for gallantry, (ii.) for special merit, and (iii.) for long service and good conduct.
1. Indian Order of Merit.—Awarded by H.E.I. Company and notified by G.O. of governor-general, April 17, 1837. Obverse: 1st Class—A Gold Star, 11 in. diameter; in the centre, in gold on a ground of dark blue enamel, crossed swords within a circle around which is the legend, REWARD OF VALOUR, the whole encircled by a gold laurel wreath. 2nd Class—Star similar to that of 1st Class, but in silver. Wreath and centre as in 1st Class. 3rd Class—Star exactly similar to that of 2nd Class, but the wreath and centre in silver, and dark blue enamel and silver, respectively. Reverse: Engraved 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Order of Merit, respectively, but the name of the recipient is not engraved on the decoration when issued. Ribbon: Dark blue, with red edges. This decoration is to be obtained only by a “conspicuous act of individual gallantry” in the field or in the attack or defence of fortified places. It is open to all native officers or soldiers of the Indian Army, “without distinction of rank or grade.” The 3rd Class is bestowed for the first act of gallantry for which the recipient is recommended. The 2nd Class is given only to those who possess the third, and for a second act of conspicuous gallantry. The 1st Class is given only to those who hold the 2nd, and for a third act of bravery. A recipient of the decoration receives an additional allowance equivalent in the 3rd Class to one-third, in the 2nd to two-thirds, and in the 1st to the whole of the ordinary pay of his rank, over and above that pay or his pension. The widow (in the case of plurality of wives, the first married) receives the pension of the Order for three years after her husband’s death.
2. Victoria Cross.—Instituted by Royal Warrant, January 29, 1856. A bronze Maltese Cross, 11 in. diameter, with, in the centre, the Royal Crest (lion and crown), and below it a scroll inscribed “FOR VALOUR.” There is a bronze laureated bar for suspension, connected with the cross by a V. The reverse is plain, but the name, rank and corps of the recipient are engraved on the back of the laureated bar. Ribbon: Red for the army; blue for the navy. Clasp: For every additional act of bravery a clasp, bearing the date of such act, may be awarded.
Nothing save “the merit of conspicuous bravery” gives claim for the decoration, and it must be evinced by “some signal act of valour or devotion to their country” performed “in the presence of the enemy.” (The regulation italicized was for a short time abrogated, but soon restored to force.) The original Royal Warrant has been supplemented by various Royal Warrants (Oct. 1857, Aug. and Dec. 1858, Jan, 1867, April and Aug. 1881), and now every grade and rank of all ranks of all branches of His Majesty’s Forces, British and Colonial, are eligible, with the single exception of native ranks of the Indian army, who have an equivalent decoration in their own Order of Merit. In the case of, recipients who are not of commissioned rank, the Cross carries with it a pension of £10 a year, and an additional £5 a year for each clasp. A larger grant is sometimes given to holders of the V.C. who are in need of monetary help. In all, up to 1904, the Cross was awarded to 521 recipients (including 15 posthumous awards).
3. Distinguished Conduct in the Field (Army).—Instituted by Royal Warrant, September 30, 1862. Obverse: A military trophy, with, in the centre, the Royal Arms (as in the Long Service and Good Conduct Medals). Reverse: inscribed “FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT IN THE FIELD.” Ribbon: Three stripes equal width, outside red, centre blue (Plate II.). Clasp: Royal Warrant, 7th of February 1881, authorized award of clasps for subsequent acts of gallantry.
“Individual acts of distinguished conduct in the field in any part of the world” entitle to this medal, and only non-commissioned officers and men of the British forces are eligible for the award. Prior to its institution, distinguished gallantry was rewarded by the “Meritorious Service” medal. Single clasps have been constantly conferred, and there is more than one case of a recipient having earned two clasps to his medal.
4. Albert Medal (for saving life at sea).—Instituted by Royal Warrant, 7th of March 1866. Gold oval badge, enamelled in dark blue, with a monogram composed of the letters V and A, interlaced with an anchor erect, all in gold, surrounded with a garter in bronze, inscribed in raised letters of gold “FOR GALLANTRY IN SAVING LIFE AT SEA,” and surmounted by a representation of the crown of the prince consort, the whole edged with gold. Ribbon: dark blue, with two white stripes. Clasps are awarded for any subsequent acts of bravery. By a subsequent Royal Warrant of the 12th of April 1867, the decoration was re-constituted in two classes, as follows. 1st Class—Badge precisely as already described. Ribbon: Dark blue, with four white stripes (13 in. wide). Clasps: As authorized in original warrant. 2nd Class—Badge exactly similar to that of the 1st Class, except that it is entirely worked in bronze, instead of gold and bronze. Ribbon: Dark blue, with two white stripes. Clasps: As authorized for 1st Class.
The decoration is awarded only to those who “have, in saving or endeavouring to save the lives of others from shipwreck or other peril of the sea, endangered their own lives.” The 1st Class is confined “to cases of extreme and heroic daring”; the 2nd for acts which, though great courage may be shown, “are not sufficiently distinguished to deserve” the 1st Class of the decoration.
5. New Zealand Cross.—Instituted by an Order of the governor of New Zealand in council, 10th of March, 1869. Silver Maltese Cross with gold Star on each of the four limbs and in the centre, in a circle within a gold laurel wreath, NEW ZEALAND. Above the Cross a crown in gold, and connected at the top by a V, to a silver bar ornamented with laurel in gold. The name of recipient is engraved on reverse. Width of Cross, 11 in. Ribbon: Crimson. Clasps: Authorized for subsequent acts of valour. In authorizing this decoration Sir G. F. Bowen, the then governor, went outside his authority, but the queen ratified the colonial order in council, and intimated “Her gracious desire that the arrangements made by it may be considered as established from that date by her direct authority.” It was, however, stipulated that the occasion was in no way to form a precedent. The award was to be for those “who may particularly distinguish themselves by their bravery in action, or devotion to their duty while on service,” and only local “Militia, Volunteers or Armed Constabulary” were to be eligible. In all only nineteen of these decorations were awarded. No clasps were awarded.
6. Conspicuous Gallantry (Navy).—Instituted by an Order of the queen in Council, 7th of July, 1874. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria, by W. Wyon, R.A. (as on China Medal). Reverse: A laurel wreath, and within FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY. Above, a crown. Ribbon: Three stripes of equal width, outside blue, centre white (Plate II.). Clasps: none authorized.
To reward “acts of pre-eminent bravery in Action with the Enemy.” Only petty officers and seamen of the Royal Navy, and non-commissioned officers and privates of the Royal Marines, are eligible for this decoration. Prior to the institution of this decoration, acts of gallantry by sailors and marines were rewarded by the same medal as that given to the army before the “medal for distinguished conduct in the field” was instituted, viz. the “Meritorious Service” medal. If the holder be a Chief or First Class Petty Officer, or a Sergeant of Marines, the award carries with it an annuity of £20 per annum; and if a recipient’s service ends before his reaching one of those ranks, he may receive a gratuity of £20 on discharge.
7. Albert Medal (for saving life on land).—Instituted by Royal Warrant, 30th of April 1877. 1st Class—Similar to that of the 1st Class for saving life at sea, but the enamelling is in red instead of blue, and there is no anchor interlaced with the monogram V.A. Ribbon: Crimson, with four white stripes. Clasps: for subsequent acts of same character. 2nd Class—Badge similar to that of the 2nd Class for saving life at sea, but the enamelling is in red instead of blue, and there is no anchor interlaced with the monogram V.A. Ribbon: Crimson, with two white stripes. Clasps: As authorized for 1st Class.
The conditions governing the award of this decoration are the same that govern the award for saving life at sea. Originally the award was restricted to acts of gallantry performed within British dominions, but this restriction was removed by Royal Warrant, 5th of June 1905.
8. Distinguished Conduct in the Field (Colonial ).—Instituted by a Royal Warrant, 24th of May 1894, which was later cancelled and superseded by Royal Warrant, 31st of May 1895. Obverse: same as “Distinguished Conduct in the Field” (Army). Reverse: same as “Army” medal, but with the name of the colony inscribed above the words “For Distinguished Conduct in the Field.” Ribbon: Crimson, with a line of the colonial colour in the centre. Clasps: Authorized for subsequent acts of valour. Every colony or protectorate, having permanently embodied forces, draws up regulations to govern the issue of these medals as suit its own particular requirements, but in all essentials these regulations are modelled on those that govern the award of the Distinguished Conduct in the Field (Army).
9. Conspicuous Service Cross.—Instituted by an Order in Council, 15th of June 1901. Silver cross, with the reverse side plain; on the obverse, in the centre, the Imperial and Royal Cypher, E.R.I., surmounted by the imperial crown. Ribbon: Three stripes equal width, outside white, centre blue. Clasps: none authorized.
This award is to recognize “Distinguished Service before the Enemy.” Its grant is confined to “Warrant Officers or Subordinate Officers” of the Royal Navy. Such, not being of “lower-deck rating,” are not eligible for the “Conspicuous Gallantry” medal; also, they, “by reason of not holding a commission in the Royal Navy, are not eligible to any existing Order or Decoration.”
10. Edward Medal.—Founded in 1907 to reward acts of courage in saving life in mines, this medal was extended in 1909 (R.W. Dec. 3) so as to be awarded “to those who in course of industrial employment endanger their own lives in saving or endeavouring to save the lives of others from perils incurred in connexion with such industrial employment.”
Certain important medals and decorations for saving life are not the gift of the Crown. These are allowed to be worn in uniform on the right breast. They are the medals of the Royal Humane Society, those given by the Board of Trade for gallantry in saving life at sea, the medals of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, those of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society, Lloyd’s Honorary Silver Medal, Liverpool Shipwrecked and Humane Society’s Medals, and the Stanhope Gold Medal.
All these are suspended from a dark blue ribbon with the exception of the medals of the S.F. and M. Royal Benevolent Society, which has a light blue ribbon, and the Stanhope Gold Medal which has a broad dark blue centre, edged with yellow, and black borders. These medals are usually struck in silver or bronze, but occasionally gold medals are awarded. The Stanhope Gold Medal is annually awarded for the most gallant of all the acts of rescue for which the society have awarded medals during the year. This award has been frequently earned by officers or men of the Royal Navy. It is, in fact, the “Victoria Cross” of awards of this character.
The following are decorations for special merit:—
1. Order of British India.—Instituted by General Order of Governor-General of India, 17th of April 1837. 1st Class—A gold star of eight points radiated, 15 in. in diameter, between the two top points the crown of England. In the centre, on a ground of light blue enamel, a gold lion statant, within a band of dark blue enamel, containing in gold letters ORDER OF BRITISH INDIA, the whole encircled by a gold laurel wreath. The whole hangs from the ribbon by a gold loop attached by a ring to the top of the crown, and is worn round the neck, outside the uniform. Ribbon: originally sky-blue, changed to crimson 1838. 2nd Class—Gold star similar to that of the 1st Class, but smaller, 11 in. diameter, and without the crown. The centre also is similar to that of the 1st Class star, but the enamelling is all dark blue. Suspended and worn as in the 1st Class. Ribbon: As in 1st Class.
This, the highest military distinction to which in the ordinary course native officers of the Indian Army can attain, and confined to them, is a reward for long, honourable and specially meritorious service. The 1st Class is composed exclusively of officers of and above the rank of Subadar in the artillery and infantry, or of a corresponding rank in the other branches of the service. The 2nd Class is open to all native commissioned officers, irrespective of their rank. Originally the order was limited to 100 in the 1st Class and the same number in the 2nd, but it now comprises 215 in the 1st Class and 324 in the 2nd Class. Officers in the 1st Class are entitled to the title of “Sirdar Bahadur,” and receive a daily allowance of two rupees in addition to the pay, allowances or pension of their rank, while those of the 2nd Class are styled “Bahadur,” and receive an extra one rupee per diem.
2. Ability and Good Conduct.—Instituted in 1842. Obverse: A paddle-wheel steamship. Reverse: Crown and anchor, and inscribed, FOR ABILITY AND GOOD CONDUCT. Ribbon: None authorized.
No official documents as regards the institution of this decoration are now to be found at the Admiralty, but only engineers were eligible for the award, and it carried no gratuity or annuity. Only six were ever awarded. When, in 1847, engineers were raised to the rank of warrant officers, the issue of this decoration was discontinued. It had a ring for suspension, and was probably worn with the narrow navy blue ribbon of the “Long Service and Good Conduct” medal of the period.
3. Meritorious Service (Army and Royal Marines).—Instituted by Royal Warrant, 19th December 1845, for army only; grant extended to Royal Marines by Order in Council, 15th January 1849. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria as on China medal. Reverse: FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE, within a laurel wreath. Ribbon: Crimson for army (Plate II.); navy blue for Royal Marines. Only non-commissioned officers of or above the rank of sergeant are eligible for this decoration. It carries with it an annuity not exceeding £20 per annum; but, as the total sum available is strictly limited, the number of these medals that is issued is small, and a non-commissioned officer who is recommended may have to wait many years before his turn comes and he receives the award. The qualification for recommendation is long, efficient and meritorious service, and need not necessarily, although in many cases it does, include any special display of personal gallantry in action. For many years the “meritorious service” medal was considered to cancel the “long service and good conduct” medal, but by A.O. 250 of 1902 both medals can be worn together.
4. The Distinguished Service Order (see Knighthood) is given only to officers (and naval and military officials of officer rank, not including Indian native officers) for services in war. Often it is the reward of actual conspicuous gallantry under fire, but its purpose, as defined in the Royal Warrant instituting the order, is to reward “individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war;” and the same document declares that only those shall be eligible who have been mentioned “in despatches for meritorious or distinguished service in the field, or before the enemy.” In the main, therefore, it is awarded for special services in war, and not necessarily under fire; and although the services rewarded are as a fact generally rendered in action, the order is in no sense a sort of second class of the Victoria Cross. Like the latter, the Distinguished Service Order is generally referred to by its initials.
5. The Royal Red Cross is also an Order. Membership is restricted to women (not necessarily British subjects), and is given as a reward for naval or military nursing service. Instituted 1883.
6. The Kaisar-i-Hind Medal is given for public services in India.
7. The Volunteer Officers’ Decoration.—Instituted in 1892. An oval of silver, crossed at intervals with gold, in the centre the monogram V.R. and crown in gold. Worn from a ring. Ribbon: Dark green.
This decoration was instituted in 1892, and is the reward of twenty years’ service in the commissioned ranks of the volunteer force. It is generally called the “V.D.” Since the conversion of the Volunteer into the Territorial Force (1908) it has been replaced by THE TERRITORIAL OFFICERS’ DECORATION. Officers of the Royal Naval Reserve and of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve are eligible for a similar decoration (1910).
8. The Long Service and Good Conduct (Army) Medal was instituted in 1833. Obverse: A trophy of arms. Reverse: FOR LONG SERVICE AND GOOD CONDUCT. Ribbon: Crimson, as for “Meritorious Service” medal (Plate II.).
This is a reward for “long service with irreproachable character and conduct,” the qualifying period of service being 18 years.
9. The Long Service and Good Conduct (Navy) Medal was instituted in 1831. Ribbon: Blue, with white edges (Plate II.).
10. The Volunteer Long Service Medal.—Instituted in 1894 Has a green ribbon. Obverse: Effigy of Queen Victoria. Reverse: A scroll within a wreath, inscribed FOR LONG SERVICE IN THE VOLUNTEER FORCE. Replaced by the Territorial Long Service Medal (1908), of which the ribbon is green with a yellow centre; and the obverse a bust of the king. The Militia Long Service Medal (1904) has a light blue ribbon, the Imperial Yeomanry Long Service Medal a yellow ribbon, the Honourable Artillery Company’s Medal a black, red and yellow ribbon. All these are shown on Plate II.
11. The Medal for the Best Shot in the Army was instituted in 1869 Obverse: Bust of Queen Victoria (now effigy of King Edward VII.). Reverse: A winged Victory crowning a warrior. Ribbon: Red, with two narrow black stripes on each edge, the two black stripes being divided by a narrow white one. There is also a “Best Shot” Medal for the Indian Native Army, which has an orange ribbon.
12. The Medal for Naval Gunnery was instituted in 1903. Ribbon: Red centre, flanked by two narrow white stripes, two broad blue stripes at edges (Plate II.).
Amongst medals of the last class may be mentioned the Jubilee Medals of 1887 and 1897, the Coronation Medal of 1902, the Royal Victorian Medal (this, however, is a sort of sixth class of the Royal Victorian Order, for which see Knighthood) and the medals awarded for Durbars.
United States.—The war medals and decorations of the United States, although few in number, are interesting, as they follow a peculiar system in the colours of the ribbons.
The principal military decoration of the United States is the “Medal of Honor,” which was founded for the reward of unusual bravery or special good conduct during the Civil War. In its present form it is a five-pointed star, with a medallion in the centre bearing a head of Minerva and round it UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in relief. On each ray of the star is an oak-leaf, and the points themselves are trefoil shaped. A laurel wreath, in green enamel, encircles the whole, and this wreath is surmounted by VALOR, which in turn is surmounted by an eagle that attaches the decoration to its ribbon. This last is blue, with thirteen white stars worked on it in silk. Accompanying this decoration there is a badge or lapel button, hexagonal, and made of blue silk with the thirteen stars in white.
The original form of the decoration had no encircling wreath; on the rays, instead of the oak-leaves, were small wreaths of laurel and oak, and the design in the central medallion was a figure of Minerva standing, with her left hand resting upon a consul’s fasces and her right warding off with a shield the figure of Discord. The background was formed by thirty-four stars. The decoration was surmounted by a trophy of crossed guns, swords, &c., with eagle above, and the ribbon was designed of the national colours, as follows: thirteen alternate red and white stripes, and across the ribbon at the top a broad band of blue (palewise gules and argent and a chief azure). The ribbon was attached to the coat by a clasp badge bearing two cornucopias and the arms of the U.S. The present decoration does not have this badge, but is suspended from a concealed bar brooch.
Another special decoration is the “Merit” Medal. This bears on the obverse an eagle, surrounded by the inscription VIRTVTIS ET AVDACIAE MONVMENTVM ET PRAEMIVM, and on the reverse the inscription FOR MERIT, surrounded by an oak-leaf wreath; in the upper part of the exergue is UNITED STATES ARMY, in the lower thirteen stars. The ribbon is red, white and blue, in six stripes, two red stripes divided by a line white line in the centre, two white on either side of the red and two blue forming the two outer edges.
We come now to the war medals proper, issued generally to all those who took part in the events commemorated.
The Civil War Medal bears on the obverse the portrait of Lincoln, surrounded by an inscription taken from his famous Second Inaugural—WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE, WITH CHARITY FOR ALL. On the reverse is the inscription THE CIVIL WAR, 1861–1865 surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves and olive branches. The ribbon is somewhat similar to that last described; the blue stripe, however, is in the centre, divided as before by a white line, and the red stripes form the outer edges.
The “Indian Wars” Medal is interesting from the fact that its reverse was copied on other medals, this making it, in a sense, a “general service” medal. On the obverse is a mounted Indian in war costume bearing a spear, in the upper part of the exergue INDIAN WARS, in the lower a buffalo’s skull with arrow-heads on either side. What we have called the “general service” design on the reverse is composed of (a) an eagle perched on a cannon, supported by five standards (typifying the five great wars of the United States), rifles, Indian shield, spear and arrows, Filipino dagger and Cuban machete; (b) below this trophy the words FOR SERVICE; (c) in exergue, above, UNITED STATES ARMY, below, thirteen stars.
Ribbon of the Indian Medal, Vermilion, with deep red edges.
The “War with Spain” Medal bears on the obverse a castle with two flanking towers; in exergue, above, WAR WITH SPAIN, below, the date 1898, with, on one side of it, a branch of the tobacco plant, and on the other a sugar-cane. Reverse: As for “Indian Wars” Medal. Ribbon: Centre golden-yellow, with two red stripes close to the edges, the edges themselves being narrow stripes of blue.
The “Philippine Insurrection” Medal bears on the obverse a coco-nut palm tree, with, on the left of it, a lamp (typifying Enlightenment), and on the right a balance (representing Justice). This is encircled by the inscription PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION 1899. The ribbon is blue, with two red stripes near the edges. Reverse: As in “Indian Wars” Medal.
Another medal connected with the Filipino insurrection is the so-called “Congressional” Medal, which was designed to commemorate the participation in the war of regulars and volunteers, Northerners and Southerners, side by side. On the obverse is a colour party of infantry with the national flag, the fly of the flag extending almost to the edge of the medal. Below is the date, 1899, and above, in a semicircle, PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION. The reverse has the inscription FOR PATRIOTISM, FORTITUDE AND LOYALTY, surrounded by a wreath of oak-leaves (typifying the North) and palm branches (typifying the South). The ribbon is blue, edged by narrow stripes of the national colours, the blue being nearest the edge and the red nearest the centre.
The “China Relief” Medal bears on the obverse a Chinese dragon, surrounded by the inscription CHINA RELIEF EXPEDITION, and at bottom, the date 1900–1. Reverse: As for “Indian Wars” medal. Ribbon: Lemon-yellow, with narrow blue edges.
It is interesting to note that in the case of two of these medals the national colours of the enemy (Spain and China) furnish those of the ribbon. The national colours adopted by the Filipinos were red and blue, and these also figure, in spite of their similarity to the U.S. national colours, on the ribbons of the “Filipino” and “Congressional” Medals. The Indian ribbon is, similarly, of the colour of the enemy’s war paint—Vermilion. See, for illustrations and further details of all these medals and decorations, Journal of the [U.S.] Military Service Institution, May- June 1909. Some of the badges of membership of associations of veterans, such as the Loyal Legion, are allowed to be worn as war medals in uniform. The “Rescue” Medal, in gold or silver, is awarded for bravery in saving life by land or sea.
Other Countries.—As has been mentioned above, foreign decorations for military service usually take the form of Orders in many classes. There are, however, numerous long service decorations, which need not be specified. The most famous of the European war and service decorations are the Prussian Iron Cross, the French Médaille Militaire, and the Russian St George’s Cross; all these are individual decorations.
The Iron Cross is given to officers and soldiers for distinguished service in War. It was founded, in the enthusiasm of the War of Liberation movement, on the 10th of March 1813, and revived at the outbreak of the “War for Unity” against France, 19th of July 1870. The cross is a Maltese cross of cast iron edged with silver. The 1813–15 crosses have the initials F. W. (Friedrich Wilhelm) in the centre, a crown in the upper limb of the cross, and the date in the lower. Those of 1870 have W. (Wilhelm) in the centre, crown on the upper and date on the lower limb of the cross. There are certain distinctions between the Grand Cross, which is worn at the neck, the 1st Class Cross which is worn as an Order suspended from a ribbon, and the 2nd Class Cross, which is worn on the breast. In 1870 war medals were given, bearing on the obverse a Maltese cross superposed on a many-pointed star, and having in its centre 1870–1871 within a wreath. The reverse has W. and a crown, within, for combatants the inscription Dem siegreichen Heere, and for non-combatants Für Pflichttreue im Kriege, in each case surrounded by the words Gott war mit uns Ihm sei die Ehre. The award of the Iron Cross to the rank and file carries with it an allowance of 3–6 marks monthly. (H. L. S.; C. F. A.)
- The method of preparing the dies, &c., is the same for medals as for coins, save that for larger and heavier work more strokes are required, as in the case of L. Coudray’s popular “Orphée”—rather a sculpture-relief than a medal. The dies are capable of a great yield before becoming quite worn-out; it is said that no fewer than three million copies were struck of Professor J. Tautenhayn’s Austrian jubilee medal of the Emperor Francis Joseph. In France, Thonelier’s perfected machine, substituting the lever for the screw, has been in use for coins since 1844; but for the striking of medals the same old fashioned screw-press is retained which had till then been employed both for coins and medals since the time of Louis XIV. In its present form the machine consists of an iron or bronze frame, of which the upper part is fitted with a hollow screw wherein works an inner screw. This screw, moved by steam or electricity, drives the dies, set in iron collars, so that they strike the blank placed between them. This machine can deliver a strong blow to produce a high relief, or a delicate touch to add the finest finish. In the Paris Mint large medals can be struck with comparative ease and rapidity. A hydraulic press of nearly two million pounds pressure is utilized for testing the dies
- Thomas Simon, master and chief graver of the mint. Most of the medals of this period were his work, and they are considered to be amongst the best specimens of the medallic art that have been produced in the country.
- An excellent reproduction of this medal, both obverse and reverse, is given in Plate 8, figs. 4 and 5, of the same work, and on Plate 9 will be found equally well reproduced facsimiles of the three medals for “Victories over the Dutch, 1653,” figs. 1, 2 and 3 and of the “Medal of the Parliament, for Sea Service, 1649,” fig. 1.
- Most of the authorities on medals, including Mr Thomas Carter and Captain Tancred, style as the reverse of the medal what above is styled the obverse and vice versa. We, however, prefer to agree with the description of the medal as given by Mayo and for this reason. The side of the medal which is described above as the obverse depicts a chief incident of the war; the allegorical representation on the other side is after all but the pictorial equivalent of a verbal inscription, and so is properly the reverse of the medal.
- Captain Sayers of the royal navy, who commanded the “Leda” 36, and landed in command of the 500 seamen who erected and manned the batteries for the attack of Fort Cornelis, received the small medal for Java. This is the only case of the Army Gold Medal having been conferred on a naval officer.
- The second medal has no date.
- Royal Navy and Royal Marines only.
- Whether in one or both actions, only one clasp awarded.
- A similar clasp was given with the Navy G.S. medal.
- Whether in one or both actions, only one clasp awarded.
- The Royal Navy or Indian Marine, or both, received the medal with these clasps.
- Royal Navy and Royal Marines
- In addition to this award the French emperor sent five hundred of the French “Military Medal,” to be distributed amongst specially selected non-commissioned officers and men of the army and Royal Marines, and petty officers and seamen of the Royal Navy. Only two of these medals were given to officers, viz. the duke of Cambridge and Sir William Codrington, the latter being presented by Pélissier with his own medal. The king of Sardinia also distributed 450 medals to the British forces, of which 50 were given to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and 243 to officers and 157 to non-commissioned officers and privates of the army.
- Were awarded by the Admiralty to certain local forces which co-operated with the Naval Brigades.
- These clasps were all naval awards, but two companies of the West India Regiment took part in the operations for which the clasp “Gambia, 1894,” was awarded.
- “Mwele, 1895,” is not strictly speaking a clasp, as it is engraved on the edge of the medal. Recipients already in possession of the medal were entitled to have the action and date engraved thereon. It corresponds, however, to a clasp in that it commemorates a particular service, and so has been included.
- Issued to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines only.
- For combatants present at both actions.
- Only clasp not issued to Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
- Awarded to Egyptian Army only.
- Now naval effigy of King Edward VII., as on Transport Service medal.
- Now naval effigy of King Edward VII., as on Transport Service medal.
- Other “Meritorious” or “Long Service” medals worn with a crimson ribbon are the former Long Service medal of the H.E.I. Company’s European troops and the Meritorious and Long Service medals of the Indian Native Army.
- Now replaced by military effigy of King Edward VII.
- By Royal Warrant of 31st of May 1895, medals both for distinguished conduct in the field and for long service were authorized to be awarded by the various colonies possessing regular or volunteer troops, “under regulations similar, as far as circumstances permit, to those now ranking for Our Regular and Auxiliary Forces.”