Naval General Service Medal, with bar for St Sebastian 1813, awarded to Cpt. of Foc'sle Joshua Carson 1848
Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria
Reverse, Britannia with a trident seated sideways on a seahorse
Naval General Service Medal, 1848 (Peninsular War)
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.
Although until the closing years of the Napoleonic Wars British troops were usually unable to meet Napoleon's armies on equal terms, they made sufficient landings in Europe that the Navy and Army were frequently in cooperation. When action came close enough to the shore, naval vessels were often called upon to lend supporting fire and blockade, and frequently their crews and Marines were involved in fighting on land. It was in recognition of such involvement that a bar was awarded to the NGSM for participation in the siege of St Sebastian in 1813 following the British victory at Vittoria.
This medal was awarded to Captain of Forecastle Joshua Carson, of HMS Reindeer. His presence on the ship at this time has been verified, but the ship itself is not listed as part of the supporting force at the battle. The Medals Roll appears however to confirm the award of this medal to a man of this name. Lester Watson purchased this medal from the London dealers Baldwin in 1927.