28 August 2011

Candahar, Cabul and Ghuznee Medals

There are four official strikings of this medal and two versions, according to British Battles and Medals, which appear to be mistakes (see 'Other' below). On all strikings, there is a common obverse.

Authorised by a General Order issued in Simla, India on the 4th October 1842.

Awarded to European and Native troops who took part in operations in Candahar, Cabul and Ghuznee between October 1841 and October 1842.

Silver, 36mm diameter. Designed by William Wyon RA, the obverse depicts the diademed head of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA VINDEX. The four separate versions of the reverse are: dealt with below:

i) Candahar
A laurel wreath and crown with the word CANDAHAR and the date 1842 beneath. Of the four versions, this version is the second most rare.

ii) Cabul
A laurel wreath and crown with the word CABUL and the date 1842 beneath. This is the most common of the four versions (but see 'Other' below).

iii) Ghuznee and Cabul
Two laurel wreaths with the word GHUZNEE within one, and the word CABUL within the other. A crown surmounts both wreaths and the date 1842 appears beneath them. This version is the rarest of the four with approximately 360 issued to European troops and 1163 to natives.

iv) Candahar, Ghuznee and Cabul
A laurel wreath and crown with the words CANDAHAR, GHUZNEE and CABUL on separate lines and the date 1842 beneath. This is the second most common of the four versions.

A straight steel suspender fastened by a pin to a steel clip and then fixed to the disc. Other replacement suspensions, such as ring suspenders (see the Cabul image above, for instance) are also commonly seen.

41mm wide; watered rainbow pattern of red, white, yellow, white and blue.

Varied with some in script, some indented capitals and some un-named. British Battles and Medals notes that medals to the 40th Foot and the Artillery are generally found engraved in script, with those to the 41st Foot named in engraved roman capitals.

None, although unofficial clasps for MARZENIA 1842 and TAZEANE 1842 have been found attached to the Cabul Medal.

As well as the four official strikings, there is one striking which has the legend VICTORIA REGINA on the obverse instead of VICTORIA VINDEX. The second 'mistake' refers to the Cabul medal only where CABUL is spelt CABVL. Fifteen of these medals are known to have been issued, making this the rarest of all the versions of this medal.

The photograph of the obverse is courtesy of Spink whilst the four reverse images are courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb. Links on the individual images take you to these companies' websites. British Battles and Medals has, as always, been an invaluable resource in compiling the information.

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