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Naval General Service Medal (1793-1840): CM.1372-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage

Maker(s)

Mint: London
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Artist: Wyon, William
Ruler: Victoria regina (With the title of)

Entities

Categories

Description

Just as in 1848 the extensive land campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars and the other conflicts of the pre-Victorian era were recognised by the issue of the Military General Service Medal, those serving in the Navy at the time were recognised with the Naval General Service Medal. As with the Army equivalent and the East India Company's related award, many of the battles for which the medal was awarded had been fought so long ago that few if any claimants survived.
In addition, bars were awarded for many actions whose significance and size were, despite the heroism displayed by those involved, relatively minor. The result was that many of the bars were issued in tiny numbers, with some combinations all but unique, and the medals command a very high price among collectors because of this rarity and individuality. This in turn, along with the manufacture in most cases of more bars than were eventually issued, has led to the `improvement' of many common awards where recipients' names are shared with those present at `rarer' battles. The medal also shares with the Military General Service and Army of India Medals the oddity that Queen Victoria, whose portrait they bear, was not the ruler under whom the battles for which it was awarded were fought.
The island of Martinique, home of Emperor Napoleon I's wife the empress Josephine, was colonised by the French in 1660, and by the 1790s was infamous in Britain not just as a rich colony, but also as a remaining home of slavery. Britain took the island in 1794, ending slavery but it was reinstated on the return of the island to France by a treaty of 1802. In 1809 the British invaded again, and held the island until the definitive return to France in 1815. Bars were awarded to both the NGSM and the Military General Service Medal for participation in the invasion.
This example was awarded to Orderly William Frost, who served aboard the 74-gun 3rd-rate battleship HMS York. His presence on the ship at this time has been verified, and the General Honours Roll confirms the award of the medal to him. Lester Watson purchased this medal at some point before 1928.

Notes

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: 36.1 mm
Weight: 36.31 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

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

Dating

1849 - 1851

Materials used in production

Silver

Techniques used in production

Struck

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left

  • Text: VICTORIA REGINA
  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Britannia with trident seated sideways on seahorse

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1372-2009
Primary reference Number: 141466
Watson Catalogue: 279
Ordering: M-0255
Previous object number: LW.0255
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

Citation for print

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

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Naval General Service Medal (1793-1840)" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141466 Accessed: 2022-12-10 09:16:33

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141466 |title=Naval General Service Medal (1793-1840) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-12-10 09:16:33|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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