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Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, awarded to Pvt. John Lea 1848

Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, 1848

Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria

Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, 1848

Reverse, A full-rigged ship at sea in a circle of rope

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Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, 1848

A Naval Long Service Medal was instituted by King William IV in 1831, the year after that for the Army; when Queen Victoria succeeded that issue was for a while continued, but the medal was updated, with new designs by William Wyon, in 1848. To earn it a sailor had to have twenty years' service to his credit, although some had amassed rather more by the time of their discharge.
This medal was not in the earliest batch struck in 1848, which bore that date in the exergue. It does however have the broad suspender of the early issues, which was later replaced.
This medal was awarded to Private John Lea of the Plymouth Division of the Royal Marines, for 21 years' service. He received a gratuity of 5 pounds from the Queen. Lester Watson acquired his medal at some point before 1928.