East and West Africa Medal, with bar for Benin River 1894, awarded to Boy W. Humpherson, 1894

Image["East and West Africa Medal, 1894"]

Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria with crown and veil

Image["East and West Africa Medal, 1894"]

Reverse, a scene of bush fighting around a tree with a fallen African to the fore

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East and West Africa Medal, 1894

Peace-keeping operations in the British possessions in Africa, as anywhere else, required a large number of small campaigns, several of which, from 1892 until 1900, were considered to merit this medal, which in terms of design is a continuation of the Ashantee War Medal. Recipients who held that medal already were therefore awarded only extra clasps.
Even before the conquest of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, British forces were occasionally committed against the more independently-minded chiefs of the territory. One of these, Chief Nanna Oloma of the Jekiris, was pursued and ousted by the small expedition of 1894 for participation in which this bar was awarded. Its bombardment of Nanna's capital of Brohimi was pictured in watercolour by Admiral Bedford, who led the naval forces.
This example of the medal was awarded to Boy 1st Class W. Humpherson, serving aboard HMS Phoebe (to the far right in Admiral Bedford's watercolour). Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealers Spink at some point before 1928.

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