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The Naval Gold Medal
Following the first major
naval action of the war with Revolutionary France, "the Glorious First of June",
King George III signified his intention of instituting a Naval Gold Medal to
reward the admirals and captains who were conspicuous for courage in that
action, as well as those who might distinguish themselves on future occasions.
The Naval Gold Medal was to be the only campaign award for naval engagements
during the years 1794-1815 and the medals issue was restricted to Flag Officers
and Captains for services in specific actions:
Gold Medals (to Flag
Officers and Captains) were issued by the Admiralty for Actions under mentioned:
Lord Howe's action of
the 1st of June, 1794
Seymour, H.M.'s ship Amethyst, capture of Thetis, 10th November, 1808.
Lord St. Vincent's
action, off Cape St. Vincent, 14th February, 1797
Captain Stewart, H.M.'s
ship Seahorse, capture of Badere Zaffer, 6th July, 1808.
Lord Duncan's Battle
off Camperdown, 11th October, 1797
Captain Mounsey, H.M.'s Sloop Bonne Citroyenne, capture of Furieuse, 6th
Lord Nelson's Battle of
the Nile, 1st August, 1798
Captain William Hoste,
H.M.'s ship Amphion, with H.M.'s ships Cerebus, Active, and Volage, action
off Lissa, 13th March, 1811.
Captain Sir Edward
Hamilton, H.M.'s ship Surprise, recapture of the Hermione, 25th October,
Cole, H.M.'s ship Caroline, capture of Banda Neira, 9th August, 1810.
Lord Nelson's Battle of
Trafalgar, 21st October, 1805.
Captain Talbot, H.M.'s
ship Victorious, capture of Rivoli, 22nd April, 1812.
Sir Richard Strachan's
action, 4th November, 1805
Captain Broke, H.M.'s
ship Shannon, capture of Chespeake, 1st June, 1813.
Sir John Duckworth's
action, off St. Domingo, 6th February, 1806.
Captain E. Palmer,
H.M.'s ship Hebrus, capture of L'Etoile, 27th March, 1814.
Captain Brisbane, H.
M.'s ship Arethusa, with H.M.'s ships Anson, Fisgard and Latona, capture
of the Island of Caraçoa, 1st January, 1807.
Captain H. Hope, H.M.'s
ship Endymion, action with President, 15th January, 1815.
Two different sizes of medal
were struck. The larger medal was given only to flag officers, commodores and
captains-of-the-fleet; the smaller medal went to captains of ships of the line.
The large medal which is 2.125 in. in diameter has on the obverse a figure of
Victory, standing on the prow of an antique galley and placing a wreath of
laurel to Britannia, who wears a helmet and stands on the galley, having at her
side an oval shield charged with the crosses of the Union Flag. Britannia's her
right foot resting on a helmet and holding a spear in her left hand. The reverse
bears a wreath of oak and laurel, within which are engraved the name and rank of
the officer, the event for which the medal was conferred and the date. Some
recipients of the first medals also received a gold chain, but thereafter the
medal was worn suspended from a white ribbon, with dark blue edges, 44mm. wide,
round the neck.
large medals were ever awarded and only one person received three, Lord Nelson,
for St. Vincent, the Nile, and posthumously for Trafalgar. The latter
contradicted the previous ruling that medals would not be given to the
next-of-kin of officers who had been killed in action.