9 November 2010

UK Military Campaign Medal & Award Rolls 1793-1949

I've just been alerted to this collection which is new on Ancestry:

"This database contains lists of more than 2.3 million officers, enlisted personnel and other individuals entitled to medals and awards commemorating their service in campaigns and battles for the British Army between 1793 and 1949. The original medal rolls were compiled by the War Office and are housed at the National Archives of the UK in Kew, Surrey. The rolls include medals awarded for British campaigns in Europe, India, Egypt, Sudan, South Africa, West and Central Africa, China, the Middle East, and elsewhere during the height of the British Empire. The collection does not include WWI or WWII medal and award rolls.

While medal rolls do not provide very detailed information, the records can include the name, date, and location of a campaign or service, the soldier’s name, and the regiment or unit name and regimental number. Most rolls were arranged by campaign (or battle), then regiment, rank and surname.

The records in this collection can be searched by name, campaign, service location and date, and regimental number. Volumes may also be browsed by region, campaign, and regiment or unit."

This is a very nice addition to Ancestry's offering, and of particular benefit to medal researchers. It is however, not available on the basic subscription package.

6 November 2010

The Hong Kong Plague Medal

Not technically a British Army medal because it was given by the Hong Kong Community to those who assisted during the 1894 plague in Hong Kong. However, as the majority of recipients were soldiers, and as the medal is included in British Battles and Medals, it gets a mention here.


The silver medal was awarded to around three hundred members of the Shropshire Light Infantry and fifty members of the Royal Navy and Royal Engineers as well as to members of the local police. Around 40 medals were struck in gold and awarded to civilians and nursing sisters (nine).

36mm diameter medal issued in silver and gold (see above). The obverse portrays a soldier warding off the angel of death whilst a female figure tends to the plague-stricken patient. The words HONG KONG appear in Chinese characters to the left of the soldier, and in the exergue, on a scroll, is the date 1894. The medal was designed by Frank Boucher and this is also indicated to the left of the exergue. The reverse of the medal carries the central text, FOR SERVICES RENDERED DURING THE PLAGUE OF 1894, and around the edge within a beaded border: PRESENTED BY THE HONG KONG COMMUNITY.

32mm wide; Red with yellow edges, and with two thin yellow stripes running down the centre.

Suspended by a 11mm diameter ring which runs through a loop soldered onto the top of the medal

In thin indented capitals which give rank, name and regiment but not number.

None issued.

Image courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb. British Battles and Medals has been invaluable in putting together the information.