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Naval General Service Medal (1793-1840): CM.1390-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage

Maker(s)

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

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 Miltary 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.
Some of the smallest actions for which the NGSM was awarded were fought not from ships, but from ships' boats, combats which could on occasions be no less dangerous or destructive than ship-to-ship battles. Thus, on 1 November 1809, boats from 8 British warships were sent against a French convoy of five warships and seven merchant vessels in Rosas Bay, off the north-east coast of Spain, and achieved the destruction or capture of eleven of its number. This action earnt the first bar that this medal carries; the second was awarded for an assault by the Royal Marines on the French harbour of Morgiou, near Toulon, where they destroyed a battery while another party took over some laden merchant ships and sailed them out of the now-undefended harbour.
The medal was awarded to one of these Marines, Simon Davies. He fought in the first action from a boat of HMS Cumberland, and in the latter from one of HMS Voluntaire. His presence aboard the vessels at these times is verified, and the Medals Roll confirms the award of the piece to him, although it gives his name as `Davis'. Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealers Spink in 1926.

Notes

History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt Spink 1926

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.2 mm
Weight: 36.06 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.1390-2009
Primary reference Number: 141484
Watson Catalogue: 298
Ordering: M-0273
Previous object number: LW.0273
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/141484 Accessed: 2022-08-15 22:48:57

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141484 |title=Naval General Service Medal (1793-1840) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-08-15 22:48:57|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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