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Sea Gallantry Medal: CM.6241-2007

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Object information

Current Location: In storage

Maker(s)

Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901) (Struck in the name of)
Ruler: V. R. (With the title of)
Artist: Wyon, Benjamin
Issuer: Board of Trade
Mint: London

Entities

Categories

Description

The Sea Gallantry Medal was the first official medal rewarding civilian gallantry at sea. Designed by William Wyon, it was instituted by the Board of Trade in 1855, and is awarded by the sovereign of Great Britain on the Board's President's recommendation. It is awarded in silver and bronze, and in its initial size as seen here was not intended to be worn, although this piece bears the remains of a suspension at the top indicating that the recipient did attempt to wear it. In 1903 the medal was reduced in size so that it could be worn in uniform. This example of the medal was awarded to Henry (or "Harry") Meader, one of the crew of the Ramsgate lifeboat who set out to rescue the crew of the wrecked Indian Chief off Clacton Sands on the night of 5th/6th January 1881. This justly famous rescue became the subject of a poem by William McGonagal, but the reader may think Meader's medal a more ageless tribute to his bravery.

Notes

History note: From a collection bequeathed by Mr McKee to the Art Fund, which has allowed various museums to make selections from it

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (2005-05-21) by McKee, John

Dating

Production date: AD 1881

Note

Inscribed around edge HENRY MEADER WRECK OF THE "INDIAN CHIEF" ON THE 5th - 6th JANUARY 1881

Components of the work

Object composed of bronze Diameter 57.0 mm Die Axis 0 degrees Weight 98.14 g

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Head of Victoria, wreathed, left, with inscriptions around

  • Text: AWARDED BY THE BOARD OF TRADE FOR GALLANTRY IN SAVING LIFE
  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Man kneeling left on raft supporting recumbent seaman lying head left, with woman and child left also on raft behind to right, behind raft a man seated left on broken spar waving signal with right hand to distant lifeboat sailing right through heavy seas

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.6241-2007
Primary reference Number: 156624
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 26 July 2019 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

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) "Sea Gallantry Medal" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/156624 Accessed: 2022-09-29 22:52:51

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/156624 |title=Sea Gallantry Medal |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-09-29 22:52:51|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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