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Naval General Service Medal, with bars for Anse la Barque Decr. 1809, Martinique & Guadaloupe, awarded to AB Edward Rose 1848

Naval General Service Medal, 1848

Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria

Naval General Service Medal, 1848

Reverse, Britannia with a trident seated sideways on a seahorse

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Naval General Service Medal, 1848 (Napoleonic Wars)

Just as in 1848 the extensive land campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars and the other conflicts of the pre-Victorian era were recognised by the issue of the Military General Service Medal, those serving in the Navy at the time were recognised with the Naval General Service Medal. As with the Army equivalent and the East India Company's related award, many of the battles for which the medal was awarded had been fought so long ago that few if any claimants survived.
In addition, bars were awarded for many actions whose significance and size were, despite the heroism displayed by those involved, relatively minor. The result was that many of the bars were issued in tiny numbers, with some combinations all but unique, and the medals command a very high price among collectors because of this rarity and individuality. This in turn, along with the manufacture in most cases of more bars than were eventually issued, has led to the `improvement' of many common awards where recipients' names are shared with those present at `rarer' battles. The medal also shares with the Military General Service and Army of India Medals the oddity that Queen Victoria, whose portrait they bear, was not the ruler under whom the battles for which it was awarded were fought.
This medal was awarded to Able Bodied Seaman Edward Rose, who served aboard HMS Ringdove in an extremely busy period in which that vessel participated in two major campaigns and a lesser battle. The campaigns, which were the invasion and capture of the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe, are more fully described on other pages; the battle of Anse la Barque fell between the two campaigns, before the fall of Guadaloupe, while French traffic was still passing to the island. The Royal Navy was doing its best to harass such traffic of course, and so it was that on 18 December 1809 a squadron, including Ringdove, under Captain S. Ballard in HMS Sceptre, fell in with a French convoy escorted by 2 frigates, which therefore took refuge under the guns of the fortress of Anse la Barque. The 9 ships of the British squadron managed however to capture both the frigates and the battery. 43 bars were awarded for this encounter in 1848.
Rose's presence on the ship at this time has been verified, and the Medals Roll confirms the award of the medal to him. Lester Watson purchased this medal from the London dealers Baldwin 1927.