2 June 2011

Military General Service Medal


Instituted:
Authorised by a General Order dated 1st June 1847 and issued in 1848.

Qualification:
Issued to officers and men who took part in military campaigns between 1793 and 1814.

Description:
Silver, 36mm diameter. The obverse portrays the diademed head of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA REGINA with the date 1848. The reverse (see below) depicts Queen Victoria standing on a dais, placing a laurel wreath on the head of a kneeling Duke of Wellington. The inscription, TO THE BRITISH ARMY adorns the top half of the circumference whilst in the exergue are the dates 1793-1814. The designer was W Wyon, Royal Academy.


Ribbon:
32mm wide, crimson with 6mm wide dark blue borders.

Suspension:
Plain, straight, swivelling.

Naming:
In indented large roman capitals.

Clasps:
Twenty-nine, listed below:

1. EGYPT
Awarded for the actions between 2nd March and 2nd September 1801.

2. MAIDA
Awarded for the Battle of Maida which was fought on the 4th July 1806.

3. ROLEIA
Awarded for the Battle of Roleia (or Rolica; the correct spelling) which was fought on the 17th August 1808.

4. VIMIERA
Awarded for the Battle of Vimiera which was fought on the 12th August 1808.

5. SAHAGUN
Awarded for the cavalry action at Sahagun, Spain on the 21st December 1808. Only twenty single bars were issued, all to officers and men of the 15th Hussars.

6. BENEVENTE
Awarded for a further cavalry action at Benevente on the 29th December 1808.

7. SAHAGUN AND BENEVENTE
Awarded to officers and men who were present at both battles.

8. CORUNNA
Awarded to the exhausted officers and men who, having retreated from Sahagun under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, fought a battle against the French Army on 16th January 1809.


9. MARTINIQUE
Awarded for the actions on the French-held island of Martinique between 30th January and 24th February 1809.

10. TALAVERA
Awarded to officers and men who took part in the Battle of Talavera on the 27th and 28th July 1809.

11. GUADALOUPE
Awarded to officers and men who took part in the invasion and capture of the French-held West Indian island of Guadaloupe between 30th January and 4th February 1810.

12. BUSACO
Awarded for the Battle of Busaco which took place on the 27th September 1810.

13. BARROSA
Awarded for the Battle of Barrosa which was fought on the 5th March 1811.

14. FUENTES D'ONOR
Awarded for the Battle of Fuentes D'Onor which was fought on the 5th May 1811.

15. ALBUHERA
Awarded for the Battle of Albuhera which was fought on the 16th May 1811.

16. JAVA
Awarded to officers and men who took part in the capture of Java between the 14th and 26th August 1811.

17. CIUDAD RODRIGO
Awarded for the actions at Ciudad Rodrigo between the 8th and 19th January 1812.

18. BADAJOZ
Awarded for the desperate actions at Badajoz on the 17th and 18th March 1812.


19. SALAMANCA
Awarded to those who took part in the Battle of Salamanca on the 22nd July 1812.

20. FORT DETROIT
Awarded to officers and men who took part in the capture of Fort Detroit on Lake Erie on the 16th August 1812.

21. VITTORIA
Awarded for the Battle of Vittoria which was fought on the 21st June 1813.


22. PYRENEES
Awarded for the battles of the Pyrenees which took place between 25th July and 2nd August 1813.

23. ST SEBASTIAN
Awarded to those officers and men who took part in the capture of the fortress of St Sebastian between 17th July and 8th September 1813.

24. CHATEAUGUAY
Awarded for the Battle of Chateauguay in North America which took place on the 26th October 1813.

25. NIVELLE
Awarded to officers and men who took part in the Battle of Nivelle on the 10th November 1813.

26. CHRYSTLER'S FARM
Awarded for the Battle of Chrystler's Farm in North America which took place on the 11th November 1813.

27. NIVE
Awarded to officers and men who took part in the Battle of Nive between 9th and 13th December 1813.

28. ORTHES
Awarded for the Battle of Orthes which took place on the 27th February 1814.

29. TOULOUSE
The last clasp granted for this medal was for the Battle of Toulouse which took place on the 10th April 1814.

Other:

1. The Military General Service Medal was issued 34 years after the last action which its clasps commemorate. By this time, many of the participants of those battles had been long dead, although medals could be awarded to the next-of-kin.

2. There were over 25,000 applications for medals, fifteen clasps being the most awarded to a single man. Two men received 15 clasps and eleven men received 14.

3. Although the dates inscribed in the medal exergue read 1793-1814, the earliest action commemorated by a clasp is that in Egypt which took place eight years later in 1801.

4. British Battles and Medals gives a full listing of awards by regiment and is an invaluable source.

Acknowledgements:
Multi-clasp image and Badajoz etc courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb. Corunna courtesy of Spink. Talavera reverse and Vittoria and Pyrenees are source unknown. The Medal Yearbook (Token Publishing Ltd) and British Battles & Medals have been essential in putting together the information.

2 comments:

Keir said...

The Queen on the reverse is certainly tiny...
Your profile pic looks familiar; is it by chance from the monument at Vimy Ridge?

Paul Nixon said...

Keir

Not Vimy Ridge, no. It is a bas relief from a WW1 memorial but I'll need to check which one.

Paul