26 March 2010
Deep pockets will be the order of the day next April. On the 22nd of the month, Spink Auction House will be offering for sale the first ever VC awarded to a soldier of the British Army.
Major John Simpson Knox was a sergeant with the Scots Fusilier Guards during the Crimean War and was present with his regiment in all of the Crimean engagements. His Crimea Medal, sold as part of the group, bears the clasps Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann and Sebastopol. The other two medals in the group are (from left to right, above), the French Legion of Honour and the Turkish Crimean Medal.
It was principally for his gallantry and leadership at the Alma on 20th September 1854 that Sergeant John Knox (pictured above, wearing his medals) was recommended for the Victoria Cross. The entry in The London Gazette of 24th February 1857 reads:
River Alma, Crimea, 20 September 1854, Sergeant John Knox, Scots ( Fusilier ) Guards.
When serving as a Serjeant in the Scots Fusilier Guards. Lieutenant Knox was conspicuous for his exertions in reforming the ranks of the Guards at the Battle of the Alma. Subsequently, when in the Rifle Brigade, he volunteered for the ladder party in the attack on the Redan, on the 18th of June, and ( in the words of Captain Blackett, under whose command he was ) behaved admirably, remaining on the field until twice wounded.
The medals are to be sold with the cannonball (above) which took off Knox's left arm at Sebastopol. He was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Hyde Park on the 26th June 1857.
John Knox's entry for the Crimea Medal with Alma and Inkerman clasps, above. The group is expected to sell for upwards of £120,000.
The Daily Telegraph for the medal group; Spink for the cannonball, The National Archives for the medal roll entry,
John Simpson Knox VC
Lord Ashcroft's VC collection
Victoria Crosses at Dix Noonan Webb
15 March 2010
An Army Order of 1st April 1896 authorised the India Medal and two clasps for the Defence of Chitral 1895 and the Relief of Chitral 1895.
Awarded to all those who took part in North-West Frontier operations between 1895 and 1902.
There were two issues of this medal, one depicting the head of Queen Victoria, and the other depicting the bust of King Edward VII. Both medals were silver, 36mm diameter, although the Edward version has a thinner gauge.
1. Queen Victoria (first issue)
The obverse depicts the crowned and veiled head of Queen Victoria and the legend, VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX. The reverse portrays a British soldier on the left and a Punjabi warrior on the right, both men supporting the same standard. The word INDIA appears on the left, and the date 1895 on the right. Thomas Brock (1847-1922) designed the obverse and George William de Saulles (1862-1903), the reverse.
2. King Edward VII (second issue)
The obverse depicts the bust of King Edward VII in Field Marshall's uniform and the legend, EDWARDVS VII REX IMPERATOR. The reverse is the same as above but with the date omitted. Both the obverse and reverse of the second issue were designed by George William de Saulles.
The medal could be issued in silver or bronze.
A floreated swivelling suspension.
32mm wide; crimson with two dark green stripes down the centre.
Generally in running script. However, medals with the Punjab Frontier clasp or Tirah clasp awarded to the Highland Light Infantry are named in block capitals.
Seven clasps were issued for this medal, as follows:
1. Defence of Chitral 1895
Awarded for the Defence of the Indian state of Chitral on the North West Frontier between 3rd March and 19th April 1895 (above).
2. Relief of Chitral 1895
Awarded for the Relief of Chitral on between 7th March and 15th August 1895.
3. Punjab Frontier 1897-98
Awarded for actions between 10th June 1897 and 6th April 1898. The clasp was authorised in June 1898.
4. Malakand 1897
Awarded for to those who took part in the defence and relief of Chakdara and Malakand between 26th July and 2nd August 1897.
5. Samana 1897
Awarded to the garrisons beyond Kohat for the part they played between 2nd August and 2nd October 1897. This clasp, authorised in June 1898, is always paired with at least one other clasp.
6. Tirah 1897-98
This clasp, authorised in June 1898, was awarded to the Tirah Expeditionary Force for the role it played between 2nd October 1897 and 6th April 1898. Like the Samana 1897 clasp, the Tirah clasp was never awarded singly.
7. Waziristan 1901-2
This bar was awarded to those who were engaged in the Mahsud and Waziri districts between 23rd November 1801 and 10th March 1902. It was authorised in March 1903. All single clasp Waziristan 1901-2 medals were issued with the Edward VII medal version (above).
The photographs are courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb, whilst British Battles and Medals has, as always, proven invaluable in compiling the information.
11 March 2010
The medal was authorised on 22nd September 1843.
Awarded to all those who accompanied Sir Charles Napier in his campaigns against the Amirs of Scinde (India) between 6th January and 24th March 1843.
Silver, 36mm diameter. The obverse portrays the diademed head of Queen Victoria with the legend, VICTORIA REGINA. There were three different strikings of this medal, each with a different reverse as follows:
1. Meeannee - 17th February 1843
MEEANEE above the date 1843; surmounted by a crown and surrounded by a wreath.
2. Hyderabad - 24th March 1843
HYDERABAD above the date 1843; surmounted by a crown and surrounded by a wreath.
3. Meeannee and Hyderabad - 1843
MEEANEE above HYDERABAD above the date 1843; surmounted by a crown and surrounded by a wreath.
The medal was designed by William Wyon RA.
Straight suspender or a large ring passing through a silver clip attached to the medal. Medals to the 22nd Foot have the steel suspenders replaced by silver ones. The cost of this was borne by the then Lieutenant Colonel John Lysaght Pennefather (1800-1872) of the 22nd Foot who was wounded at Meeanee. He is pictured seated, below centre in 1855. For his services during the campaign, Lieutenant Colonel Pennefather was awarded the CB
45mm wide; rainbow pattern: red, white, yellow, white and blue.
Impressed or engraved block letters.
The photograph of the obverse comes from the Spink's July 2009 catalogue whilst the three reverse images are courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb. British Battles and Medals has, as usual, been invaluable in putting the information together.
6 March 2010
Awarded to all those who had taken part in the following actions: "In the Canton River, in the operations at Chusan in 1841 and 1842. At Amoy, Ningpo, at Chinpae, at Tsekee, Chapoo, in the River Woosung, in the Yangtse Kiang, and at the assualt of Chiang-Kiang Foo" [from a letter by Lord Stanley to the Duke of Wellington on 5th January 1843].
Silver, 36mm diameter. The obverse portrays the diademed head of Queen Victoria with the legend, VICTORIA REGINA. The reverse depicts the Royal Arms surrounded by a collection of war trophies under a palm tree. The inscription ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACEM [Trans: They demanded peace by force of arms] appears above, whilst in the exergue is the word CHINA and underneath that, the date 1842. The medal was designed by William Wyon RA.
A straight nickel silver suspension.
32mm wide; crimson with two 6mm yellow edges.
Impressed in roman capitals.
The reverse of the original design of this medal, also designed by William Wyon, showed the British lion trampling the fallen Chinese dragon. ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACIM appeared above, whilst NANKING, and underneath that, 1842, appeared in the exergue. This version of the medal was never issued however, as it was considered to be offensive to the Chinese. Despite this, specimens of this medal are known to exist.
The photograph comes from the Spink and Son July 2009 catalogue whilst British Battles and Medals has, as usual, been invaluable in putting the information together.