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14/10/2019 21:12pm

China War Medal

Conflict
 
The First Anglo-Chinese War 1839 - 1842.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The China War Medal was a British Empire campaign medal presented for service during First Anglo-Chinese War. The medal was instituted in 1842 and was awarded to members of the British Army, Royal Marines and the Royal Navy who participated in a number of specific actions in what became known as the First Opium War.
 
This campaign, ended with the seizure of Nanking which resulted in a treaty that opened five ports to trade, and ceded Hong Kong to Great Britain.
 
The China War Medal was originally intended by the Governor-General of India to be awarded exclusively to all ranks of the Honourable East India Company's Forces.
 
Instead, in 1843, under the direction of Queen Victoria, the British Government awarded it without a clasp to all members of the British Army and Royal Navy who had 'served with distinction' between 5 July 1840 and 29 August 1842 for involvement in the following actions:-
 
The Canton River operations of 1841;
The first and second capture of Chusan, in 1840 and 1841;
The battles of Amoy, Ningpo, Chinhai, Tsekee, Chapoo, Woosung, in the Yangtze River, and in the assault of Chinkiang.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular 36mm in diameter and was struck in silver. The obverse of this medal bears the head of Queen Victoria with the inscription; 'VICTORIA REGINA'.
 
The reverse depicts a trophy of arms with an oval shield in the centre bearing the Royal Arms underneath a palm tree. Above is the inscription; 'ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACEM' while the inscription; 'CHINA' with the date; ‘1842’ appears below.
 
The reverse was originally designed depicting the British lion devouring a Chinese dragon. However, given the delicate diplomatic tensions of the time, this was considered inappropriate so the design was revised and the reverse described above was used for this and the subsequent Second and Third China War Medals.
 
The ribbon suspender is of the plain straight and non-swivelling style attached directly to the medal.
 
The recipient's details can be found on the medal's rim in block capital letters. Stars are used to fill in any spaces in between the details in the same way that they are on the Waterloo Medal. However new ‘punches’ were used which make the naming appear slightly sharper than that on the Waterloo Medal.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 39mm wide and crimson in colour with a narrow orange stripe along either edge.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
NB: Those in receipt of this medal and who also qualified for the Second China War Medal in 1861 were supposed to receive the clasps awarded with the second medal only.
 
These clasps were intended to be fixed to this medal but due to the difference in the width and style of the suspender it was not known how this was actually to be done.
 
As a result, the clasps were often simply slipped over the ribbon which was sometimes replaced with the narrower 32mm type supplied with the second medal - for this purpose.
 
Other recipients of this medal removed the original suspender and replaced it with one similar to that found on the second medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value */**
 
China War Medal to Royal Navy
£750.00
China War Medal to Imperial units
£700.00
China War Medal to Indian units
£600.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
** The individual medal price will vary considerably based on the recipient’s details.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The First Opium War.
- The First Capture Of Chusan.
- The Second Capture Of Chusan.
- The Battle Of Amoy.
- The Battle Of Ningpo.
- The Battle Of Chinhai.
- The Battle Of Tsekee.
- The Battle Of Chapoo.
- The Battle Of Woosung.
- The Assault Of Chinkiang.
- The Second Opium War.
- The Honourable East India Company.
- The Army Of The Honourable East India Company.
 
The First Opium War - The First Opium War (1839-42), also known as the Opium War and as the Anglo-Chinese War, was fought between Great Britain and China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice for foreign nationals.
 
Prior to the conflict Chinese officials wished to end the spread of opium, and confiscated around 20,000 chests of opium (approximately 1.21 million kilograms or 2.66 million lb) from British traders. The British government, although not officially denying China's right to control imports of the drug, objected to this seizure and used its military power to enforce violent redress.
 
In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking - the first of what the Chinese later called the unequal treaties - granted an indemnity to Britain, the opening of five treaty ports, and the cession of Hong Kong Island, thereby ending the trade monopoly of the Canton System.
 
The failure of the treaty to satisfy British goals of improved trade and diplomatic relations led to the Second Opium War (1856-60).
 
The war is now considered in China as the beginning of modern Chinese history
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The First Capture Of Chusan - The first capture of Chusan by British forces in China occurred on 5-6 July 1840 during the First Opium War. The British captured Chusan, the largest island of an archipelago of that name.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Second Capture Of Chusan - The second capture of Chusan, China occurred on 1 October 1841 during the First Opium War when British forces captured the city of Tinghai, capital of the Chusan islands off the north east Chinese coast.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Battle Of Amoy - The Battle of Amoy was fought between British and Chinese forces in Amoy (Xiamen), China, on 26 August 1841, during the First Opium War. The British captured the forts in Amoy and Gulangyu Island.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Battle Of Ningpo - The Battle of Ningpo was fought between British and Chinese forces in Ningpo, China, on 10 March 1842 during the First Opium War (1839-1842).
 
After the British captured Chinhai on 10 October 1841, three days later they captured the nearby city of Ningpo unopposed. On 10 March, the Chinese dispatched Prince Yijing to muster forces and recapture the city but the British repelled their attack.
 
Tricked into thinking the British had abandoned the city, the Chinese rushed in only to find mines laid in the streets. The Chinese retreated but were ambushed by the British who achieved a decisive victory.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Battle Of Chinhai - The Battle of Chinhai was fought between British and Chinese forces in Chinhai (now the Zhenhai District of Ningbo), China, on 10 October 1841 during the First Opium War.
 
During the Taiping Rebellion the opium clipper Eamont ran up to the threatened city of Ningpo, passing right through the Battle of Chinhai, which was being waged not only on the banks but in the river itself.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Battle Of Tsekee - The Battle of Tsekee was fought between British and Chinese forces in Tsekee, China, on 15 March 1842 during the First Opium War.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Battle Of Chapoo - The Battle of Chapoo was fought between British and Chinese forces in Chapoo, now written Zhapu), China, on 18 May 1842 during the First Opium War.
 
Before the attack, the British commander, Major General Hugh Gough divided his forces into three: a column of infantry on the left (863 men) and right (969 men), with artillery in the centre. Gough accompanied the right column, which landed first on May 16th. The remaining troops moved round to the rear of the enemy thereby cutting their communications with Chapoo.
 
Meanwhile, the accompanying steamers began a bombardment of the city's defences. In Gough's own words: 'The enemy were completely taken by surprise; as usual, they were unprepared for anything except a frontal attack. They gave way on all sides and took to flight, with the exception of a body of some 300 Tartar troops who seized a small joss-house, and held it with indomitable pluck and perseverance…'
 
Multiple assaults proved necessary to capture the joss-house with casualties suffered on both sides; eventually it fell and after each of the gates had been captured, the city fell to the British.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Battle Of Woosung - The Battle of Woosung was fought between British and Chinese forces in Woosung (now written Wusong), China, on 16 June 1842 during the First Opium War.
 
The British victory opened the way to Shanghai, which was captured with little resistance on 19 June.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Assault Of Chinkiang - The Battle of Chinkiang was fought between British and Chinese forces in Chinkiang (Zhenjiang, in modern transcription), China, on 21 July 1842 during the First Opium War.
 
It was the last major battle of the war. The British capture of this stronghold allowed them to proceed forward to Nanking.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Second Opium War - The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860.
 
It was fought over similar issues as the First Opium War.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Honourable East India Company - The East India Company, originally chartered as the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies, and more properly called the Honourable East India Company, was an English and later (from 1707) British joint-stock company formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies but which ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent, Qing Dynasty China, North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan.
 
Commonly associated with trade in basic commodities, which included cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium, the Company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth in 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies. Shares of the company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats.
 
The government owned no shares and had only indirect control. The Company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its own private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey and lasted until 1858 when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown assuming direct control of India in the era of the new British Raj.
 
The company was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by then rendered it vestigial, powerless and obsolete. Its functions had been fully absorbed into the official government machinery of British India and its private presidency armies had been nationalised by the British Crown.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Army Of The Honourable East India Company - The presidency armies were the armies of the three presidencies of the East India Company's rule in India, later the forces of the British Crown in India. The presidency armies were named after the presidencies: the Bengal Army, the Madras Army and the Bombay Army. Initially, only Europeans served as commissioned or non-commissioned officers. In time, Indian Army units were garrisoned from Peshawar in the north, to Sind in the west, and to Rangoon in the east.
 
The army was engaged in the wars to extend British control in India (the Mysore, Maratha and Sikh wars) and beyond (the Burma, Afghan, First and Second Opium Wars, and the Expedition to Abyssinia).
 
The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the Company until the Indian Rebellion of 1857, when the Crown took over the Company and its three armies. In 1895 the three presidency armies were merged into a united Indian Army.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.