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Queen's South Africa Medal (second striking): CM.1421-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage

Maker(s)

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

Entities

Categories

Description

During the 1830s and 1840s several Dutch republics had been established outside the British Cape Colony in South Africa, among which were Transvaal and the Orange Free State, all now in modern South Africa. Transvaal was annexed briefly by the British but its independence re-established in the First Boer War.
In the 1880s however the discovery of vast gold reserves in Transvaal brought large numbers of foreign settlers, largely British, across the border, and an attempted coup at the instigation of Cecil Rhodes in 1895. Military escalation followed, negotiations failed and the two Boer republics, convinced that the British intended annexation, declared war in the Cape Colony in October 1899.
The immediate result was the siege of British troops in Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley, while field forces attempting to come to their relief were defeated in several open battles by Boer contingents. Kimberley, the first town to be relieved, could open its gates only in mid-February; Mafeking, famously, had to hold out until May. The Boers moved to cut off the British garrisons from potential help, and a force blocking the railway line at Elandslaagte was defeated by British forces on October 21, but long supply lines and unknown opposition convinced the British commander to withdraw despite his victory.
A relief force sent to Ladysmith was roundly defeated by Louis Botha in January 1900 while attempting to cross the Tugela River at Colenso, and again at Val Krantz on 5 February. After a portion of the Boer forces were penned up in a siege at Paardeberg by General Lord Horatio Kitchener and captured, Ladysmith was finally relieved on 15 February, by which time a fuller British offensive was driving the Boers back. Their resistance in the field was more or less quelled by May 1900, but Louis Botha fought one last set-piece battle at Bergendal, also known as the Battle of Belfast after the larger town nearby, where, outnumbered four-to-one, the Boers were driven out, thereafter to abandon conventional engagements. Their forces maintained a bitter and obdurate guerilla campaign in several areas of the two Republics until mid-1902, when a surrender was finally agreed.
This medal was awarded to Private P. Green of the Manchester Regiment, who appears, unlike most of those who fought at Elandslaagte, to have later got through to Ladysmith and joined the defenders there, and finally to have fought against Botha's 5,000 at Bergendal. Lester Watson acquired his medal at some point before 1928.

Notes

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

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.4 mm
Weight: 45.4 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

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

Dating

Production date: AD 1902

Materials used in production

Silver

Techniques used in production

Struck

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left with veil

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

Inscription present: Britannia in foreground facing right holding standard and waving wreath over army marching along shore, with ships offshore in background

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1421-2009
Primary reference Number: 141515
Watson Catalogue: 333
Ordering: M-0304
Previous object number: LW.0304
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) "Queen's South Africa Medal (second striking)" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141515 Accessed: 2022-10-05 03:35:52

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141515 |title=Queen's South Africa Medal (second striking) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-10-05 03:35:52|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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