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British Military General Service Medal 1793 - 1814

Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum Online Book
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About The Medals Next

Date added: 31 Mar 2017

Military General Service Medal (MGSM) 1793-1814

This was a campaign medal approved in 1847, for issue to officers and men of the British Army, including officers and men of the King's German Legion[1], Brunswick Oels(2) and Chasseurs Britannique, but not other foreign troops in British service.

The MGSM was approved on 1 June 1847 as a retrospective award for various military actions from 1793–1814; a period encompassing the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Anglo-American War of 1812. Each battle or action covered by the medal was represented by a clasp on the ribbon. Twenty-nine were sanctioned; two men were awarded medals with fifteen clasps, twelve men qualified for fourteen clasps and forty-four for thirteen clasps. The medal was never issued without a clasp. The ribbon was crimson with dark blue borders (slightly wider than those of the Waterloo Medal).

The 5th Duke of Richmond, who had fought at Waterloo, was chiefly responsible for the belated institution of the Military General Service Medal for all survivors of the campaigns between 1793 and 1814. (There had only hitherto been a Waterloo Medal). He campaigned in Parliament and also enlisted the interest of Queen Victoria, who persuaded a curiously reluctant Duke of Wellington that junior and non-commissioned officers and private soldiers deserved this recognition. Senior officers had received the Army Gold Medal thirty years before.

A point to note is that the medal was only awarded to surviving claimants; one had both to have survived until 1847 and then to actively apply for it. A combination of factors, from general illiteracy to limited publicity for the new medal meant that many did not. There are substantially fewer medals issued compared with the number of men who served during this period. The medals were stamped along the edge with the rank (above Private), name and unit of the recipient. There were some 25,650 applications in total.

The following were awarded to the RGJ antecedent regiments :                    15 clasps   14     13

43rd Regiment         491

52nd Regiment        454                     1      8

60th Regiment           74        1          1       1

95th Regiment          695                   2       3

The museum holds these numbers in its collection:
43rd Regiment          34
52nd Regiment         74
including the one with 14 clasps and three with 13 clasps

60th Regiment           5
95th Regiment         44
including one with 14 clasps and one with 13 clasps

An earlier Army Gold Medal had been awarded to field officers for their successful commands; they were not eligible to claim identical claps on the MGSM. To distinguish between the two medals, the MGSM was referred to as the "silver medal".

Twenty nine bars were issued :
Egypt                                   Mar-Sept 1801
Maida                                   July 1806 Italy
West Indies
Martinique                           Feb 1809
Guadalope                           Jan-Feb 1809
East Indies
Java                                     Aug- Sept 1811

War of 1812
Fort Detroit                         Aug 1812
Chateauguay                      Oct 1813
Chrystler’s Farm               Nov 1813
Peninsular War
Roleia                                 Aug 1808
Vimiera                               Aug 1808
Sahagun                             Dec 1808
Benevente                          Dec 1808
Sahagun and Benevente    Dec 1808
Corunna                              Jan 1809
Talavera                              July 1809
Busaco                                Sept 1810
Barrosa                               Mar 1811
Fuentes D’Onor                  May 1811
Albuhera                             May 1811  
Ciudad Rodrigo                   Jan 1812
Badajoz                               Mar-Apr 1812
Salamanca                          July 1812
Vittoria                                June 1813
Pyrenees                             July-Aug 1813
St Sebastian                       July-Sept 1813
Nivelle                                 Nov1813
Nive                                     Dec 1813
Orthes                                 Feb 1814
Toulouse                              Apr 1814

One of the 2 awarded fifteen clasps was Daniel Loochstadt, also of the 60th Foot :
ROL VIM TAL BUS FD ALB CR BAD SAL VIT PYR NVL NIVE ORT TL
Unusually, he was at both Fuentes d’Onor and Albuhera.

James Holmes Schoëdde from Lowenstein’s Regiment and then the 60th Foot was awarded 14 clasps :
EGYPT ROL VIM TAL BUS FD CR BAD SAL VIT PYR NIVE ORT TL
He was awarded a Gold Medal for Nivelle

A fellow officer from Lowenstein’s Regiment and then the 60th Foot was Alexander J Wolfe who was awarded 13 clasps : EGYPT ROL VIM TAL BUS FD CR BAD SAL VIT PYR ORT TL
He missed Nivelle and Nive.

The medal of Patrick Haggerty of the 52nd Foot with 14 clasps is in the collection :
VIM TAL BUS FD CR BAD SAL VIT PYR SS NVL NIVE ORT TL

Sergeant Joseph Hindle of the 95th Foot was also awarded 14 clasps :
ROL VIM COR BUS BAR CR BAD SAL VIT SS NVL NIVE ORT TL The medal Peter Marsh of the 95th Foot with 14 clasps is in the collection :
ROL VIM COR TAL BUS CR BAD SAL VIT PYR NVL NIVE ORT TL
It is worth noting that, by comparison, the Duke of Wellington could also have been awarded just 14 clasps :ROL VIM TAL BUS FD CR BAD SAL VIT PYR NVL NIVE ORT TL
He was not present at Barrosa, Albuhera nor throughout the Siege of San Sebastian. (There were two attempts to storm SS; Wellington was present for the first, failed, attempt on 25 July, but not the second on 31 August.)


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 [1] 1,230 MGSM’s were awarded to survivors of the King's German Legion - of which 216 had 6 bars.
[2] Refer to Major Henry von Brandenstein of 2nd Brunswick Light Battn

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