Re: Your "CHRYSTLER'S FARM" medal
Thank you for the kind words. Yes, though Gordon was for years THE source on British medals, both his book and the original rolls are rife with errors, especially when he refers to such second class soldiers as the Indian Army and the various colonial corps of the empire. And the fact that the rolls for the MGS simply lump all the Canadian local units together as "Canadian Militia" suggests a similar attitude among the powers that were at the time the awards were made.
Prior to the Napoleonic wars there were virtually no medals awarded by the British government, and those which were often went only to officers of some rank, though occasionally individual commanders paid themselves for awards to their troops. There were, however, private groups and individuals who paid for and presented medals, most notable a Scot named Davidson who gave medals to all ranks on board Lord Nelson's fleets at The Nile and Trafalgar. I also believe that it is largely after Waterloo, for which the government DID strike a medal for all ranks, that the British public began its long love affair with 'our gallant soldiers and sailors'. So perhaps the government was embarrassed into official recognition of the men who won the Empire. Or perhaps, as you say, it was a reflection of Whitehall's expanding imperial urges. There's probably a PHd thesis in that for someone!
- Peter Thanks for a GREAT job setting up the camp and putting up with us.
From: petemonahan <petemonahan@...>
Sent: Monday, July 15, 2013 2:42:37 PM
Subject: 1812 Your "CHRYSTLER'S FARM" medal
Well done all! The medals were well earned and, as someone who saw the Sunday battle from the spectators' side, you give great battle!
IN another life I collected medals and thought some people might be interested in some background on the medals.
The Military General Service Medal [MGS] was authorized in 1847 and struck in 1848 - hence Queen Victoria's head - and was meant to commemorate battles which took place between 1793 and 1814. Those included many Peninsular actions, but also Egypt, Martinique, "FORT DETROIT", "CHATEAUGUAY" and "CHRYSTLER'S FARM". Yes, that is the 'correct' spelling, as originally issued, not a mistake by a Chines engraver with a poor command of English spelling!
The MGS was only awarded to those who both qualified for one or more bars AND applied for it. Given the fact that some battles were fought 60 years before the medal was authorized, the numbers issued are often far fewer than the soldiers present at a given action. There are 29 official bars to the MGS and a number of unoffical, often self-awarded bars. Unofficial bars exist for Stoney Creek, Fort George and Queenston. There are examples of the MGS with 14 & 15 bars for the Peninsular campaigns and a single award to a member of the "Canadian Militia" with the three bars for Fort Detroit,Chateauguay and Chrysler's Farm.
The Naval General Service Medal, also issued in 1848, commemorated actions between 1793 and 1840 and had 231 bars. However, as some of these marked single ship and small boat actions, there were no claimants at all for some bars and a number were awarded to single claimants, usually officers, who read the London Gazette, heard of the medal and applied. Lieutenant Andrew Bulger, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, was the sole recipient of the NGS bar "3rd and 6th September,1814' for his part in the capture of the American schooners Tigress and Scorpion.
Here are the numbers of MGS bar "CHRYSTLER'S FARM" as listed in Major L.L. Gordon's book "British Battles and Medals" [4th edition, 1971]. Remember that these represent bars only to claimants, not the number of men who fought.
"25th Regt" - 1 [a transcription error for the 27th Regt]
49th Regt - 61
"88th Reg't" - 80 [Clearly, this is in error for the 89th]
Chaplains - 1
Medical Staff -1
Newfoundland Regt - none recorded
"Canadian Militia" - 76
Royal Artillery - 6
[Gordon lists them as John Boyle, Thomas Gosling, Dennis Martin,
Samuel Nuttal, Joseph Sterling and Joseph Wells, presumably all
with the rank of Gunner.]
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- Thanks, Andre.
You're correct that the MGS medals had the recipient's name, rank and unit on the rim, though at times the unit names can be confusing or, in the case of 'Canadian Militia', less than completely helpful.
If you could send me a PM at petemonahan@..., I'd appreciate it. Thanks.