20 September 2009

Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal

Authorised by the Cape of Good Hope Government on 4th December 1900, with the approval of Queen Victoria.

Awarded to men who took part in the suppression of uprisings in Transkei, Basutoland and Bechuanland.

Silver, 36mm diameter, with a swivelling straight suspender. The obverse portrays the bust of Queen Victoria wearing a veil and a small crown, with the legend VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX. The reverse depicts the arms of Cape Colony and the legend, CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.

The medal was designed by George William de Saulles (1862-1903) who, as Chief Engraver, was responsible for official medals between 1894 and 1902.

Dark blue with a yellow stripe running down the centre.

Those engraved in the UK were done so in thin, faint block capitals. Later issues engraved in Cape Town were impressed in square capitals.

Three clasps were awarded and these are listed below.

1. Transkei
Awarded for operations in Tembuland and Giqualand East between 13th September 1880 and 15th May 1881

2. Basutoland
Awarded for operations between 13th September 1880 and 27th April 1881 at Mafetang, Maseru, Kalabani and elsewhere.

3. Bechuanaland
Awarded for operations in Bechuanaland between 24th December 1886 and 30th July 1897.

A total of 5252 medals were issued and only ten were issued without a clasp. The breakdown - courtesy of British Battles and Medals - is as follows:

Transkei: 562
Basutoland: 1589
Bechuanaland: 2483
Transkei and Basutoland: 490
Transkei and Bechuanaland: 18
Basutoland and Bechaunaland: 77
Transkie, Basutoland and Bechaunaland: 23
No clasps: 10

The photograph is taken from Spink's's July 2009 auction catalogue whilst British Battles and Medals has been invaluable in putting together the information.

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