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East and West Africa Medal (1887-1900): CM.1204-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: London
Artist: Wyon, Leonard Charles
Artist: Poynter, Edward John
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Ruler: Victoria regina (With the title of)




Peace-keeping operations in the British possessions in Africa, as anywhere else, required a large number of small campaigns, several of which, from 1892 until 1900, were considered to merit this medal, which in terms of design is a continuation of the Ashantee War Medal. Recipients who held that medal already were therefore awarded only extra clasps.
The Brass River, or Benue River as it is now known, is a tributary of the Niger River, and in the 1890s the tribes local to it, whose ruler King Koko had his capital at Nimbe in modern Nigeria, were increasingly concerned about European inroads into the palm-oil trade, which threatened their livelihoods. In January 1895 the Royal Niger Company's station at Akassa was attacked and more than forty people killed. Reprisal was carried out by four ships of the Royal Navy within a month and Nimbe partially destroyed. For this expedition the Brass River bar was awarded. The Benin 1897 bar was given for involvement in the 1897 conquest of the previously independent Kingdom of Benin, which had existed since the 14th century. This campaign was occasioned by the slaying of eight British representatives there in 1896, in a time of increasing tension over the palm-oil trade, which Benin protected fiercely. The resultant Punitive Expedition captured and looted Benin City, which is now in Nigeria. The bar was awarded to personnel of the Navy not for this attack, however, but for the capture of the seaboard towns of Gwato (Ughoton) and Sapobo.
This medal was awarded to Able Bodied Seaman S. G. Monk, who served in both these campaigns aboard the 3rd-class cruiser HMS Barossa. Lester Watson purchased the medal at some point from the London dealer Spink before 1928.


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

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.2 mm
Weight: 42.11 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

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


1892 - 1900

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left with veil

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Scene of bush fighting around tree with fallen African to fore

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1204-2009
Primary reference Number: 141298
Watson Catalogue: 97
Ordering: M-0087
Previous object number: LW.0087
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Sunday 23 January 2022

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "East and West Africa Medal (1887-1900)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-01-27 09:32:49

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