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17/11/2019 05:19am

Messina Earthquake Commemorative Medal

Conflict
 
The Messina Relief Mission 1908.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
Technically, the Messina Earthquake Medal is a commemorative medal presented by the Italian Royal Family for service in supporting and undertaking relief work following the Messina Earthquake of 28 December 1908. The medal was ‘instituted’ in 1908, as a 'commemorative medal' awarded to those who distinguished themselves ‘…whether by rendering assistance and medical treatment, or by donating health and administrative services and meeting the material and spiritual needs of the sufferers of the disaster…’
 
The medal was generally awarded to those who landed to help in the actual relief operations, whether they be military or civilian. Eight Royal Navy ships are listed as having provided relief services and consequently having personnel that were eligible for the medal. These ships were as follows: HMS Boxer, Duncan, Euralyus, Exmouth, Lancaster, Minerva, Philomel and Sutlej.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 32mm in diameter and was struck in silver. The obverse of this medal bears the bust of King Victor Emanuel III with the inscription; 'VITTORIO EMANUELE III RE D'ITALIA'.
 
The reverse has the inscription; 'MEDAGLIA COMMEMORATIVA -- TERREMOTO CALABRO-SICULO 28 DICEMBRE 1908' all within an oak wreath.
 
The medal was issued un-named.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 35mm wide and is green in colour with three white strips.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Messina Medal un-named
£125.00
Messina Medal in an attributable group
£160.00
 
* 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.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The 1908 Messina Earthquake.
 
The 1908 Messina Earthquake - The 1908 Messina earthquake (also known as the 1908 Messina and Reggio earthquake) and tsunami took about 123,000 lives on December 28, 1908, in Sicily and Calabria, southern Italy. The major cities of Messina and Reggio Calabria were almost completely destroyed.
 
On December 28, 1908 from about 05:20 to 05:21 an earthquake of 7.1 on the moment magnitude scale occurred centered on the of city Messina, in Sicily. Reggio on the Italian mainland also suffered heavy damage. The ground shook for some 30 to 40 seconds, and the destruction was felt within a 300-kilometer (186-mile) radius. Moments after the earthquake, a 12-meter (39-foot) tsunami struck nearby coasts, causing even more devastation; 91% of structures in Messina were destroyed and some 70,000 residents were killed.
 
Rescuers searched through the rubble for weeks, and whole families were still being pulled out alive days later, but thousands remained buried there. Buildings in the area had not been constructed for earthquake resistance, having heavy roofs and vulnerable foundations.
 
News of the disaster was carried by Italian torpedo boats to Nicotera, where the telegraph lines were still working, but that was not accomplished until midnight at the end of the day. Rail lines in the area had been destroyed, often along with the railway stations.
 
The Italian navy and army responded and began searching, treating the injured, and evacuating refugees (as did every ship). Looters soon had to be shot.
 
The disaster made headlines worldwide and international relief efforts were launched. With the help of the Red Cross and sailors of the Russian and British fleets, search and cleanup were expedited.
 
The Russian battleships Tsesarevich, and Slava and the cruisers Admiral Makarov, and Bogatyr, British battleship Exmouth and the cruisers Euryalus, Minerva, and Sutlej were ordered to provide assistance; the S.S. Afonwen was in Messina harbor during the quake (anchored in 45 fathoms (80 m) of water, but there were only 30 fathoms (55 m) when she sailed full of refugees).
 
The French battleships Justice and Vérité, and three torpedo boat destroyers were ordered to Messina. The U.S. Navy's Great White Fleet and supply ships USS Celtic and USS Culgoa were also ordered to assist. Other nations' ships also responded.
 
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.