Skip to main content

Sea Gallantry Medal: CM.6241-2007

An image of Sea Gallantry Medal

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage


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




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.


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


Production date: AD 1881


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

  • 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 (2023) "Sea Gallantry Medal" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-02 04:11:47

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Sea Gallantry Medal |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-02 04:11:47|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Sea Gallantry Medal"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Sea Gallantry Medal</figcaption>

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Baltic Medal

Accession Number: CM.1149-2009

Medal for Bravery at Sea

Accession Number: CM.28-2005

Distinguished Service Medal

Accession Number: CM.1199-2009

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...