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13/08/2022 16:02pm

Naval Gold Medal


For Service In The French Revolutionary Wars, The Napoleonic Wars & The War Of 1812.

Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.


The Naval Gold Medals were British Empire Campaign Medals instituted in 1795. These medals were awarded to officers of the rank of Captain (small medal) or Admirals (large medal) for participating in naval actions between the years of 1795 and 1815.

As these medals were awarded for each separate action, it was possible that a single individual may be awarded and subsequently wear more than one.

It was not a general service medal, since it was issued only to those with a rank of Captain or above.

Following the Peninsular War, rules governing the award of the Order of the Bath were altered, allowing recognition for military commands, consequently the medals were discontinued.

In 1847 the Naval General Service Medal was authorised, to be retrospectively awarded to all surviving veterans of the campaigns, irrespective of rank.


The medal is circular and was struck in gold. The Large medal has a diameter of 51mm and the Small medal has a diameter of 38mm. In both cases, the obverse of this medal depicts Britannia being crowned with a laurel wreath by a winged figure of Victory.

The image of Brittania is holding a spear in her left hand and is resting on a shield. A further shield depicting the Union Jack is behind her and she stands with one foot on a helmet.

The reverse shows the inscription of the name of the recipient and details of the engagement.

The ribbon suspender is by way of a wide straight bar that is attached to a ring fastening that surmounts the medal

Naval General Service Medal 1847 BAR.svg


The ribbon is 44mm wide and white in colour with a blue strip along either edge.


None were authorised for this medal.

Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.

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Small Medal from
Large Medal from
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Further Historical Context
This section contains information on:-
- The French Revolutionary Wars.
- The Napoleonic Wars.
- The War Of 1812.


The French Revolutionary Wars - The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts fought between the French Republic government and several European Monarchies from 1792 to 1802.
Marked by French revolutionary fervour and military innovations, the campaigns saw the French Revolutionary Armies defeat a number of opposing coalitions. They resulted in expanded French control to the Low Countries, Italy, and the Rhineland. The wars depended on extremely high numbers of soldiers, recruited by modern mass conscription.
The French Revolutionary Wars are usually divided between those of the First Coalition (1792-1797) and the Second Coalition (1798-1801). France was at war with Great Britain continuously from 1793 to 1802.
Hostilities with Great Britain ceased with the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, but conflict soon started up again with the Napoleonic Wars. The Treaty of Amiens is usually reckoned to mark the end of the French Revolutionary Wars; however, historians have proposed other events before and after 1802 as the starting point of the Napoleonic Wars.
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 Napoleonic Wars - The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) were a series of wars between Napoleon's French Empire and opposing coalitions led by Great Britain. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly owing to the application of modern mass conscription.
French power rose quickly as Napoleon's armies conquered much of Europe but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon was defeated in 1814; he returned and was finally defeated in 1815 at Waterloo, and all France's gains were taken away by the victors.
Before a final victory against Napoleon, five of seven coalitions saw defeat at the hands of France. France defeated the first and second coalitions during the French Revolutionary Wars, the third (notably at Austerlitz), the fourth (notably at Jena, Eylau, and Friedland) and the fifth coalition (notably at Wagram) under the leadership of Napoleon.
These great victories gave the French Army a sense of invulnerability, especially when it approached Moscow. But after the retreat from Russia, in spite of incomplete victories, France was defeated by the sixth coalition at Leipzig, in the Peninsular War at Vitoria and at the hands of the seventh coalition at Waterloo.
The wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and sowed the seeds of nascent nationalism in Germany and Italy that would lead to the two nations' respective consolidations later in the century.
Meanwhile, the global Spanish Empire began to unravel as French occupation of Spain weakened Spain's hold over its colonies, providing an opening for nationalist revolutions in Spanish America. As a direct result of the Napoleonic wars, the British Empire became the foremost world power for the next century, thus beginning Pax Britannica.
No consensus exists about when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. An early candidate is 9 November 1799, the date of Bonaparte's coup seizing power in France. However, the most common date is 18 May 1803, when renewed war broke out between Britain and France, ending the one-year-old Peace of Amiens, the only period of general peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814.
Most actual fighting ceased following Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815, although skirmishing continued as late as 3 July 1815 at the Battle of Issy. The Second Treaty of Paris officially ended the wars on 20 November 1815.
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 War Of 1812 - The War of 1812 was a 32-month military conflict between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies and its Indian allies. The outcome resolved many issues which remained from the American War of Independence, but involved no boundary changes.
The United States declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions brought about by Britain's continuing war with France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, outrage over insults to national honour after humiliations on the high seas, and possible American interest in annexing British North American territory (part of modern-day Canada) which had been denied to them in the settlement ending the American Revolutionary War.
The war was fought in three principal theatres. Firstly, at sea, warships and privateers of each side attacked the other's merchant ships, while the British blockaded the Atlantic coast of the United States and mounted large-scale raids in the later stages of the war. Secondly, both land and naval battles were fought on the American-Canadian frontier, which ran along the Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence River and the northern end of Lake Champlain.
Thirdly, the American South and Gulf Coast also saw major land battles in which the American forces defeated Britain's Indian allies and a British invasion force at New Orleans. Some invasions or counter strikes were unsuccessful, while others successfully attacked enemy objectives and took possession of opposition territory. At the end of the war both sides signed the Treaty of Ghent, and all parties returned occupied land to its pre-war owner.
With the majority of its army and naval forces tied down in Europe fighting the Napoleonic Wars until 1814, the British at first used a defensive strategy, repelling multiple American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. The Americans gained control over Lake Erie in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario, and ended the prospect of an Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship. In September 1814, a British force invaded and occupied eastern Maine.
This territory, along with parts of Michigan and Wisconsin, were seized and held by the British and their Indian allies for the duration of the war. In the southwest, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 on April 6, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large invasion armies.
The British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed them to capture and burn Washington, D.C, but they were repulsed in an attempt to take Baltimore. American victories in September 1814 repulsed the British invasion of New York, and the British suffered a major defeat at New Orleans in January 1815.
In the United States, late victories over invading British armies at the battles of Plattsburg, Baltimore (inspiring their national anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner'), and New Orleans produced a sense of euphoria over a 'second war of independence' against Britain. Peace brought an 'Era of Good Feelings' to the U.S. in which partisan animosity nearly vanished.
In Upper and Lower Canada, British and Provincial militia victories over invading American armies became iconic and promoted the development of a distinct Canadian identity which included strong loyalty to Britain.
Today, particularly in loyalist-founded Ontario, memory of the war retains its significance because the defeat of the invasions ensured that the Canadas would remain part of the British Empire rather than be annexed by the United States. In Canada, numerous ceremonies took place in 2012 to commemorate the war, offer historical lessons and celebrate 200 years of peace across the border.
The war is scarcely remembered in Britain today, as it regarded the conflict as a sideshow to the much larger Napoleonic Wars raging in Europe.
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.