A VWF Guide to Campaign Medals of the Victorian era

For all discussions relating to military uniforms, insignia, equipment and medals of the Victorian period.

Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:24

1854 – Crimea Medal

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Clasps:

Alma
Inkerman
Azoff
Balaklava
Sebastopol

Overview:

The Crimea Medal was a campaign medal approved in 1854, for issue to officers and men of British units (land and naval) which fought in the Crimean War of 1854-56 against Russia.

The medal is notable for its extremely ornate clasps, being in the form of an oak leaf with an acorn at each extremity, a style never again used on a British medal. The suspension is an ornate floriated swivelling suspender, again unique to the Crimea Medal.

Five bars were authorised, the maximum awarded to one man was four. The medal was issued without a clasp to those who were present in the Crimea, but not present at any of the qualifying actions. A five bar specimen is held in the Royal Collection.

This medal was also presented to certain members of allied French forces. These medals, in addition to the five British clasps, were often issued with unauthorised French bars; Traktir, Tchernaia, Mer d'Azoff, and Malakof.

The medal was awarded with the British version of the Turkish Crimean War medal, but when a consignment of these was lost at sea some troops were issued with the Sardinian version instead.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 18:56, edited 2 times in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:24

1856 – Baltic Medal

Clasps: NONE

Overview:

The Baltic Medal was a campaign medal approved in 1856, for issue to officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Royal Sappers and Miners who served in Baltic Sea operations against Russia. The medal primarily covered naval actions but it was also awarded to 100 men or the Royal Sappers and Miners for their work in the demolition of Russian fortifications at Bomarsund and Svealborg.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:25

1858 – Indian Mutiny Medal

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Clasps:

Delhi:
30 May - 14 September 1857. Awarded to troops participating in the recapture of Delhi.

Defence of Lucknow:
29 June - 22 November 1857. Awarded to original defenders and to the relief force commanded by Sir Henry Havelock.

Relief of Lucknow:
November 1857. Awarded to the relief force under the command of Sir Colin Campbell.

Lucknow:
November 1857 - March 1858. Awarded to troops under command of Sir Colin Campbell who were engaged in final operations leading to the surrender of Lucknow and the clearing of the surrounding areas.

Central India:

January - June 1858. Awarded to all those who served under Major-General Sir Hugh Rose in actions against Jhansi, Kalpi, and Gwalior. Also awarded to those who served with Major-General Roberts in the Rajputana Field Force and Major-General Whitlock of the Madras Column, between January and June 1858.

Overview:
The Indian Mutiny Medal was a campaign medal approved in 1858, for issue to officers and men of British and Indian units who served in operations in suppression of the Indian Mutiny.

The medal was initially sanctioned for award to those troops who had been engaged in action against the mutineers. However in 1868 the award was extended to all those who had borne arms or who had been under fire, including such people as members of the Indian judiciary and the Indian civil service, who were caught up in the fighting. Some 290,000 medals were awarded.

The obverse of the medal depicts the head of a young Queen Victoria and bears the inscription Victoria Regina. The reverse shows a helmeted Britannia holding a wreath in her right hand and a union shield on her left arm. She is standing in front of a lion. The words "India 1857-1858" are inscribed on the reverse of the medal. The ribbon is white with two scarlet stripes.

Five clasps were authorised, though the maximum awarded to any one man was four. The medal was issued without a clasp to those who served but were not eligible for a clasp. The vast majority of these awards were made to those who became entitled to the medal as a result of the 1868 extensions of eligibility.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 18:57, edited 2 times in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:25

1861 – Second China War Medal

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Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 18:57, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:26

1869 – New Zealand War Medal/s

Date Instituted: 1869.

Campaign: First and Second Maori Wars 1845-47 and 1860-66.

Description: The obverse depicts Queen Victoria’s diademed head with a veil at the rear and the legend ‘VICTORIA D: G: BRITT: REG: F: D:’. The reverse has a laurel wreath with the appropriate dates for one of the many campaigns in New Zealand and the words ‘NEW ZEALAND’ above and ‘VIRTUTIS HONOR’ below. The swivelling suspender is unique to this medal being of an unusual foliated design

Metal: Silver.

Size: 36mm.

Clasps: None authorised for this medal.

Naming: Naming is usually done in impressed Roman capitals to both the army and navy while engraving is seen on those awarded to local militia units.

Comments: Only surviving veterens of the Maori Wars were issued with this medal making it a little more scarce than other campaign medals. Collectors find medals awarded to those who fought in the battle of Gate Pah as highly collectable.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:52, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:26

1869 – Abysinnian War Medal

Image

Date Instituted: 1869.

Campaign: Abyssinia War 1867-68.

Description: This is an unusual medal bearing the small head of Queen Victoria on the obverse within a 9 pointed star with the letters making up the word ‘ABYSSINIA’ appearing between the points. The reverse has the embossed name of the recipient often including his number and regiment or ship within a laurel wreath. The suspender takes the shape of a ring attached to a crown which is sweated to the medal.

Metal: Silver.

Size: 33mm.

Naming: Embossed naming appears on the reverse of this medal in small capital letters, however some issued to native troops were engraved.

Comments: This medal was costly to make due to the embossed nature of the naming requiring a die to be cut for each individual medal’s reverse. Although the medals were struck at the Royal Mint (with a blank reverse) the naming was carried out by the firm of G. Austin who used an unrecorded method of punching mild steel cylinders with the name which was then used to hammer the reverse of the medal. This resulted in flattening of the obverse which is evident on most examples encountered today.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:53, edited 2 times in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:26

1874 – Ashantee Medal

Date Instituted: 1874.

Campaign: Gold Coast 1873-74.

Description: The obverse bears the head of Queen Victoria and the legend ‘VICTORIA REGINA’. The reverse depicts British troops in combat with the native enemy within the jungle type terrain that characterised the war. The suspender is straight with a claw mount riveted to the medal.

Metal: Silver.

Size: 36mm.

Clasps: 'COOMASSIE'.

Naming: Indented squat and heavy Roman capital letters filled in black with the dates ‘1873-4’ or ’73-74’ at the end.

Comments: Those who also qualified for the East & West Africa Medal 1887-1900 were supposed to be only awarded the later clasps for this medal and attach them to the Ashantee Medal but many received both medals. The collector should verify any Ashantee medal with these later clasps for the East & West Africa medal which are rare.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:53, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:27

1879 – South Africa Medal

Date Instituted: 1879.

Campaign: South Africa 1877-79.

Description: The obverse of this medal bears the head of Queen Victoria with the inscription 'VICTORIA REGINA' while the reverse depicts a crouching lion drinking from a waterhole in front of a protea bush with the words 'SOUTH AFRICA' above and a native shield and spears below. The swivelling suspender is of the ornate scroll type.

Metal: Silver.

Size: 36mm.

Clasps: '1877', '1877-8', '1877-9', '1877-8-9', '1878', '1878-9' and '1879'.

Naming: Impressed Roman capital letters or engraved.

Comments: Awarded for various campaigns in South Africa between 1877 and 1879 the most important of which was the Zulu War in 1879. The most sought after medals of this type are those awarded to members of the 24th Regiment who were either annihilated at the Battle of Isandhlwana or defended Rorke's Drift in January 1879. Eleven VC's were awarded for the Rorke's Drift action.

Only one clasp was allowed per medal but at least two examples exist with two clasps both being genuinely awarded including that to Assistant Commissary J. L. Dalton VC of Rorke’s Drift fame. Both the ‘1877-8’ and ‘1878-9’ clasps are considered scarce while the ‘1877’ clasp is very rare and highly collectable. The most common clasp is that of ‘1879’ for the Zulu War. An unofficial bar ‘ULUNDI’ exists with the 1879 date being erased and ULUNDI then engraved on medals awarded to members of the 17th Lancers.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:54, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:27

1881 – Afghanistan Medal

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BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:27

1881- Kabul to Kandahar Star

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Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 18:58, edited 2 times in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:28

1882 – Egypt Medal

Date Instituted: 1882.

Campaign: Egypt 1882-89.

Description: The obverse has the head of Queen Victoria and the legend ‘VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX’. The reverse depicts a sphinx facing left with the word ‘EGYPT’ above and ‘1882’ in the exergue below. Post 1882 awards were identical but with the 1882 date being omitted. The suspender is straight with a claw mount sweated to the medal.

Metal: Silver.

Size: 36mm.

Clasps: ‘ALEXANDRIA’, ‘TEL-EL-KEBIR’, ‘TAMAAI’, ‘EL-TEB-TAMAAI’, ‘SUAKIN 1884’, ‘THE NILE 1884-5’, ‘ABU KLEA’, ‘KIRBERKAN’, ‘SUAKIN 1885’, ‘TOFREK’, ‘GEMAIZAH’ and ‘TOSKI’.

Naming: Those with the 1882 date usually have engraved sloping capitals while undated examples have impressed sloping capitals or large upright capitals for those issued to the Royal Marines. Indian troops had their medals engraved in running script and those to Egyptian troops were named in Arabic.

Comments: The maximum number of clasps awarded to anyone person is seven but only one such example exists while six medals were issued with six clasps. Medals with five clasps are rare but those with four or less are more common. Medals with the clasps ‘ABU KLEA’ or ‘KIRBEKAN’ should always be accompanied with ‘THE NILE 1884-5’ and those with ‘TOFREK’ must always be accompanied by ‘SUAKIN 1885’
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:58, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:28

1882 – Khedives Star

Date Instituted: 1882.

Campaign: Egypt 1882-91.

Description: Five pointed star with a central raised circle bearing an image of the Sphinx with the Pyramids behind, the word ‘EGYPT’ above followed by a year (for the first three issues and undated for the fourth) with the same written in Arabic below. The reverse has the monogram of the Khedive under a crown within a raised circle. The suspender is straight with a crescent and five pointed star in the centre which is attached to the star with a small metal loop passing through a small ring between the two top points of the star.

Metal: Bronze.

Size: 60mm high and 45mm wide.

Clasps: 'TOKAR'.

Naming: These stars were issued unnamed or with some form of regimental stampings on the reverse which usually took some abbreviated form while others have full names.

Comments: Four issues of this star are encountered including those dated ‘1882’, ‘1884’, ‘1884-6’ and an undated version. This star is normally encountered with the Egypt Medal 1882-89 with the 1882 dated issue with the 1882 dated Queen’s medal. The undated version was awarded to troops who did not qualify for the Queen’s medal. The ‘TOKAR 1308’ clasp was awarded to those who had fought at the battle of Tokar in 1891 (1308 being the Arabic date) but had already received a previous star.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:58, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:28

1885 – North West Canada Medal

Date Instituted: 1885.

Campaign: Riel's Rebellion 1885.

Description: The obverse depicts the diademed head of Queen Victoria and the legend ‘VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX’. The reverse has the words ‘NORTH WEST CANADA’ and the date ‘1885’ within a wreath of maple leaves. The suspender is straight with a claw mounted sweated to the medal.

Metal: Silver.

Size: 36mm.

Clasps: ‘SASKATCHEWAN’.

Naming: Issued unnamed but often encountered with private engravings.

Comments: Some 1,760 of these medals were awarded with only sixteen to British troops the rest being issued to members of the local forces. Two un-official clasps of ‘FISH CREEK’ and ‘BATOCHE’ exist but have no value to collectors.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:59, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:29

1891 – Hunza Nagar Badge
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Medals of the Victorian Period - A Basic Intro'

Postby Unknownsoldier » 16 Jul 2008 20:29

1892 – East and West Africa Medal

Date Instituted: 1892.

Campaign: East and West Africa 1887-1900.

Description: This medal is virtually identical to the Ashantee Medal with the obverse bearing the head of Queen Victoria and the legend ‘VICTORIA REGINA’. The reverse depicts the troops in combat with the native enemy against a jungle backdrop. The suspender is straight and attached to the medal by a claw mount sweated to it.

Metal: Silver.

Size: 36mm.

Clasps: ‘1887-8’, ‘WITU 1890’, ‘1891-2’, ‘1892’, ‘WITU AUGUST 1893’, ‘LIWONDI 1893’, ‘JUBA RIVER 1893’, ‘LAKE NYASSA 1893’, ‘1893-94’, ‘GAMBIA 1894’, ‘BENIN RIVER 1894’, ‘BRASS RIVER 1895’, ‘1896-98’, ‘NIGER 1897’, ‘BENIN 1897’, ‘DAWKITA 1897’, ‘1897-98’, ‘1898’, ‘SIERRA LEONE 1898-99’, ‘1899’ and ‘1900’.

Naming: Naming varies with examples encountered with impressed tall serifed capitals while later awards have narrow or square capitals. Medals to some officers appear with engraved sloping capitals. Those awarded to native troops are usually in engraved running script.

Comments: Although this medal is identical to the Ashantee Medal it is somewhat thinner and also appears in bronze for native troops. Those who took part in the ‘MWELE’ operations in 1895 do not have a clasp to commemorate this but often have ‘MWELE 1895’ engraved on the rim of the medal as well as the ‘BRASS RIVER 1895’ or ‘BENIN 1897’ clasps.
Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:57, edited 1 time in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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