Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

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Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 06 Aug 2017 14:19

Hi! I'm posting this in this board (instead of the Crimean board) since it's a question about medals . . . but if anyone thinks it would be better somewhere else, just let me know. :)

I have been researching Captain Granville Eliot of the Coldstream Guards. He was one of the eight Coldstream officers to die in battle at Inkerman. The family still has his 4-clasp Crimean medal. (Actually, it was stolen, appeared up for auction and was finally returned!) You can see the picture of it here:
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19939/lot/21/

In the last few years, while I've been trying to uncover more about this officer, I had only heard of this medal. However, I just came across two written memories by friends of Granville. They went and visited his brother (decades later) at the family estate and saw Granville's "medals" displayed in a case. Would he have had more than this medal? If so, I'd appreciate any info regarding what they would have been. If you need more info about Granville himself, just let me know. He only ever served with the Coldstream Guards, and he was only 26 years old at the time of his death.

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Sarah
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby Frogsmile » 07 Aug 2017 00:01

I sense that you already recognise that what you have outlined does not make sense Sarah, and your instincts are quite right I feel. At that time the Foot and Horse Guards regiments of the sovereign's household did not deploy out of Britain unless it was a major conflict such as the Napoleonic Wars, or Crimea, that involved a major National effort, usually incorporating both, naval and military forces. At the age of just 26, it is unlikely that Granville had served in action before the Crimea and therefore other medals outside that conflict are implausible.
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby crimea1854 » 07 Aug 2017 07:28

Sarah

I suspect the other medal was the Turkish Crimea medal. Unfortunately, unlike the navy, there is no surviving roll of those who in the army received this medal, but they were widely issued throughout the British and allied armies.

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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby Frogsmile » 07 Aug 2017 09:28

One other aspect that occurred to me as a possibility is medals for skill-at-arms. Medals in general became more popular as visible recognition of achievement as well as service and it might be that he had some medals for fencing or shooting, perhaps awarded at school or, more likely, the Royal Military College. They were also beginning to be awarded for sport.
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 07 Aug 2017 13:09

Hi, Frogsmile and Martin!

You guys never disappoint, and I have to say that I was hoping you both would answer this.
First, I do absolutely know that Granville never saw action before the Crimean War. The Coldstreams left England in June of 1854, and he died in November. Before that time, he had only served as ADC to his father who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Second: The Turkish Crimea medal is a good thought. Would that have been issued at the same time as the British one? Which brings me to one other question . . . Granville's Crimea medal has all four clasps on it. Obviously, it was awarded posthumously and sent to his family. The fact that two of those bars were not even made until a year or so after the war, how would his family have received that medal?

Third: Skill-at-Arms medals are a good thought! I do know that Granville was really keen on shooting, guns and swords since his Eton days. I searched the Sandhurst archives, but I can find nothing to imply that Granville ever went to Military College. Any thoughts on that? I do know that his father purchased the commission in the Coldstreams for him . . . but that's not a surprise, since one of Granville's brothers was in the Horse Guards and another in the Grenadiers.

Thanks a lot!
Sarah
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 07 Aug 2017 13:15

Oops! One more thought here . . .
What about the Order of the Medjidie? Would he have qualified for that one, perhaps?

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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby crimea1854 » 07 Aug 2017 15:43

I'll answer you last point first: I checked the notice in the London Gazette dated 1858 and found no evidence that the Order of Medjidie was issued to him, had he survived I suspect he would have got one.

The Turkish Medal was issued late to all recipients. The ship carrying the British issue medals sank off Malta, and men then received theirs rather randomly, some getting the British, others the Sardinian, or more rarely the French issue; each was slightly different on it's obverse face. In a number of cases officers had their medals privately made.

Members of the British Medal Forum, myself amongst them, have over the last few years contributed to a study of named Crimea Medals. This found that in most instances men killed in action received their medals officially engraved from a firm called Hunt and Roskell. In many instances the medal roll confirms the source, with the initial 'H&R' appearing on the roll, but not in your man's case, although the initials 'W.O.' are shown on one roll suggesting that the medal or clasp came from the War Office.

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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby Frogsmile » 07 Aug 2017 17:53

Your query about attendance at the RMC makes for a good point, Sarah and had I considered Granville's illustrious family status I should have realised that he was unlikely to have attended there. Until 1870 there was no formal educational requirement for an officer's commission outside of the RA or RE, beyond having attended a decent school, although for less elevated and wealthy families there were some small advantages to be gained from graduating there. Nevertheless, it seems that few of his status in society saw it as beneficial and I sense that there was, at that time, some degree of snobbery over those who did go.

One other thought occurred to me regarding his prior position as ADC to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This latter was a highly prestigious position at that time as we have discussed before and carried the status of a Viceroy. As such it might be that if young Granville did a good job (and any nepotism might have helped) he could have received a courtly decoration commensurate with that, albeit tempered by his junior rank. If he did then it will have been recorded.
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 07 Aug 2017 21:10

I've read through both of your responses twice now and hope it's all sinking in. :)
Thanks for checking about the Order of Medjidie. I would think that, should the family have had one, that it would have been preserved with Granville's Crimea medal.

Interesting about the Turkish medals, and that raises a point. How would Granville's family have gotten his Crimea (and possibly Turkish) medal? Were they automatically issued to veterans of the campaign, or did the veteran or his family have to apply for and pick up the medal/s? Being how connected Granville's father was to so many people, that may be why the reference to issuing from the War Office. They did a lot of things through "the old boy" system and would have had plenty of friends.

One other thought occurred to me regarding his prior position as ADC to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This latter was a highly prestigious position at that time as we have discussed before and carried the status of a Viceroy. As such it might be that if young Granville did a good job (and any nepotism might have helped) he could have received a courtly decoration commensurate with that, albeit tempered by his junior rank. If he did then it will have been recorded.


That's an interesting thought! Obviously there was plenty of nepotism involved . . . not to mention that Granville's father was a very, very personal friend to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Appointments and favors weren't hard to come by in this circle. Would something like that have been recorded in newspapers or somewhere else? What term would I be looking for to try and find if Granville did receive anything like that?

Thanks!
Sarah
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 11:32

Looking at the dates concerned it seems to me now that he would have been too junior in rank to have received an honour in the way that I thought he might, Sarah. At that time most general honours within the British Empire were bestowed by the sovereign on the advice of her ministers, who sometimes forwarded advice from ministers of the Crown in the Dominions and Colonies. More junior Orders under the now famous mantle of 'British Empire' were not introduced until the end of WW1.

Appointments to the then most senior orders of chivalry—the Most Noble Order of the Garter and the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle—had been made on ministerial advice since the 18th century and were not restored to the personal gift of the sovereign until the late 1940s.

It wasn't until 1896 that Queen Victoria (perhaps a bit miffed by the situation above) instituted her own Order in which politicians could not interfere. This was the Royal Victorian Order, which was a junior and personal order of knighthood that allowed her to bestow directly to an empire-wide community honours for personal services (i.e. services to her).

In sum then, I think that in the case of Granville we are confined to the decorations relating to the Crimean War alone.
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby crimea1854 » 08 Aug 2017 16:15

Sarah

To be honest I don’t know how the medals were distributed. I would hazard a guess that those men still serving with their respective regiments would have theirs sent and perhaps presented by the Colonel at a parade. Again, I’m assuming officers would have an agent to deal with the purchase or sale of their commission, so perhaps these would act and forward any medal on. As to the rankers who had been discharged the postal service did exist so it is possible these were sent, but all the above is speculation on my part, and if someone does know the answer I would be interested to hear.

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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 08 Aug 2017 19:30

Thanks, again!

You're right, Frogsmile. I know that Granville was never awarded any of those honours. He was much too young.

About the Crimea medal distribution . . . well, I decided to have a look in some old newspapers for info on that and turned up quite a bit. It was lengthy enough and so specific that I decided to post it in a separate post, just in case others would be interested in it who do not care to plow through this thread. You can see it here:
http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=11991

Something did show in one of the articles that I wonder if it may apply to Granville. In a list of medals given out by the government in 1855, they mention one called "distinguished conduct in the field" medal. Could that, perhaps, have applied to him?

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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 19:51

I think that you are probably referring to the Distinguished Conduct Medal for 'other ranks' (US enlisted man equivalent), Sarah. You can learn about it here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disting ... duct_Medal
The DCM, was for soldiers, second only to the Victoria Cross.
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 08 Aug 2017 20:43

Frogsmile wrote:I think that you are probably referring to the Distinguished Conduct Medal for 'other ranks' (US enlisted man equivalent), Sarah. You can learn about it here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disting ... duct_Medal
The DCM, was for soldiers, second only to the Victoria Cross.


That is probably it, and I guess that wouldn't apply to my gent. :D Pretty medal, though. Very striking.
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Re: Crimean War Coldstream Guard: What Medals?

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 20:59

BingandNelsonFan wrote:
Frogsmile wrote:I think that you are probably referring to the Distinguished Conduct Medal for 'other ranks' (US enlisted man equivalent), Sarah. You can learn about it here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disting ... duct_Medal
The DCM, was for soldiers, second only to the Victoria Cross.


That is probably it, and I guess that wouldn't apply to my gent. :D Pretty medal, though. Very striking.


Yes, it was attractive wasn't it, effort was invariably put into the appearance. As a general point it is also always best to keep at the back of your mind the British cultural obsession with social 'class' in a distinctive contrast to US attitudes, where it was felt such attitudes had been ended at the revolution. In the British military it is not an exaggeration to say that the authorities really did differentiate between 'officers and their ladies', 'sergeants and their wives', and 'rank and file and their women'. Similarly, medals too, were divided by rank, regardless of the degree of gallantry shown, with the sole exception of the Victoria Cross. It is alleged that the Queen insisted on that equality between heroes, but I do not know if that is true, or wishful thinking.
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