Skip to main content

Third China War Medal: CM.1179-2009

An image of Third China War Medal

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: London
Artist: Saulles, George W. de
Artist: Wyon, William
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Ruler: Victoria regina et imperatrix (With the title of)




The extent to which foreign powers appeared to be able to intervene in nineteenth-century China without effective opposition from the Imperial dynasty led to considerable resentment among the population. In 1897 Germany, Russia, Britain and France seized four Chinese ports on various pretexts and this, with more local situations providing flashpoints, sparked off a military uprising by a resistance group called the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, known in the West as Boxers. Starting in 1898 foreigners and Christian Chinese were subjected to increasingly brutal persecution by the Boxers, whom the Imperial Government, in the hands of the Dowager Empress Cixi, were now supporting as useful tools to remove foreign powers from China. It took the Western powers some time to assemble a coalition force strong enough (mostly Japanese, but with contingents from Russia, Britain, France, the USA, Germany, Italy and Austro-Hungary as well as some Chinese) to relieve the foreign population of Beijing and finally suppress the rebellion.
Until coalition forces could reach Beijing, such foreigners in the city as were able found refuge in the compound set aside by the Imperial government for the legations of Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States, Russia and Japan. These were strong buildings, intended to keep the legations on a tight rein; they also proved to be admirably defensible, and a highly international scratch force of 18 officers and 389 men held the Legations complex against the Boxer siege for nearly two months. Among them was Private G. T. Jones, of the Royal Marines Light Infantry. His medal is one of only 82 issued with this bar, and Jones was one of 16 of them who received it direct from King Edward VII, as the Naval and Military Record reported:
"The Royal Naval Barracks, Keyham, was the scene of a very interesting and imposing ceremony on Saturday, at noon, when his Majesty King Edward VII presented 280 China and 60 South African medals, and other decorations, to officers, petty officers and men of the Royal Navy....
"The distribution of medals by the King was at once proceeded with, Capt. Fortescue, equerry, handing the medals to his Majesty, and Lieut. Preston, R. N., reading out the list of recipients as they approached in single file. The medals were handed to them in cardboard boxes, each recipient saluting his Majesty with his left hand and receiving his medal in his right."
From King Edward's hand to Private Jones's and eventually to Lester Watson's, who purchased the medal at some point before 1928.
The Museum is grateful for the assistance of Mr G. M. Stein in ascertaining the details of the award of this medal.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.2 mm
Weight: 38.47 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


Production date: AD 1902

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Collection of war trophies including a royal shield below palm tree

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1179-2009
Primary reference Number: 141273
Watson Catalogue: 65
Ordering: M-0062
Previous object number: LW.0062
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 15 January 2024 Last processed: Monday 15 January 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Third China War Medal" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-02-20 23:53:17

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Third China War Medal |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-02-20 23:53:17|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Third China War Medal"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Third China War Medal</figcaption>

More objects and works of art you might like

Third China War Medal

Accession Number: CM.7252-2007

Third Afghan War Medal

Accession Number: CM.QC.5097-R

Third Afghan War Medal

Accession Number: CM.QC.5096-R

Third Afghan War Medal

Accession Number: CM.QC.5098-R

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...