6 March 2010

China War Medal


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. Bold

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.

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