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King's South Africa Medal, with bars for South Africa 1901 & South Africa 1902, awarded to E. H. Middleton, 1902

King's South Africa Medal, 1902

Obverse, a bust of King Edward VII facing left

King's South Africa Medal, 1902

Reverse, Britannia in the foreground facing right, holding a standard and waving a wreath over an army marching along the shore, with ships offshore in the background

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King's South Africa Medal, 1902 (Second Boer War)

The Boer War was, as several of the Queens South Africa Medals in the Watson Collection demonstrate, not expected in Britain to last as long as it did. Medals were already being issued for having taken part in 1901, and these naturally bore the portrait of Queen Victoria. By the end of 1901, however, with endemic guerilla warfare only slowly subsiding in the annexed Boer Republics, the newly-succeeded King Edward VII issued a partner King's South Africa Medal, which was awarded to any who would have amassed eighteen months service in the theatre by 1 June 1902, and who were in theatre on or after 1 January of that year. Those serving in the theatre during 1901 who could not receive this medal were given bars to the Queen's South Africa Medal. It was quite possible to be awarded both medals.
This example was awarded to E. H. Middleton; it has been renamed, which probably explains the lack of recorded rank or unit, although the Watson Collection also includes an earlier medal of Middleton's that also omits these details. Lester Watson acquired it, probably with the other, at some point before 1928.