Tibet Medal, with bar for Gyantse, awarded to Gunner T. McDonagh 1905
Obverse, a bust of King Edward VII
Reverse, the fortress of Potala Lhassa atop a mountain ridge
Tibet Medal, 1905
Tibet, on the frontier between the British possessions in India and the sphere of interest of expanding Russia, evoked the same kind of international political paranoia among British strategists as did the Indian North-West Frontier, and after a trade mission in 1903 had met with a hostile reception there a British expedition was sent that forced its way through to Lhasa, where new and more favourable trading arrangements were decided on in collaboration with the Chinese. Although the Dalai Lama of the time had fled to Mongolia at the British approach, the secular officials who agreed on the Treaty were able to confine the British to the city of Gyantse until 1944.
Some of the most vicious fighting on the British expedition was met with in and around Gyantse, and the bar that this medal bears acknowleges participation in that fighting, by Gunner T. McDonagh of the 7th Mountain Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, to whom it was awarded. Lester Watson acquired his medal at some point before 1928.