The Crimea War Medal 1854 -1856
Instituted 15th December 1854 for award to
British (and some of the
French forces) that took part in the campaign against the Russians on
the Crimean peninsular and the surrounding waters.
Description: In silver, 36mm diameter with an ornate
swivelling suspender. Obverse, the diademed head of Queen Victoria
and the legend VICTORIA REGINA and the date 1854. Reverse, the
standing figure of a roman warrior with shield and short sword being
crowned with laurel by the winged figure of Victory. The word CRIMEA
is vertically positioned at 9 o'clock. Bars Issued: Five, in the
distinctive ornate oak leaf and acorn pattern; ALMA, BALAKLAVA,
INKERMANN, SEBASTOPOL and AZOFF.
The official British strikings have the date 1854 on the
obverse (see picture) and have both the designers' signatures
- obverse; W. WYON RA. on the truncation of the bust and Reverse; B. WYON SC. at 4 o'clock. although a second type is
also encountered with the reverse signature omitted. ( also see
below regarding French unofficial strikings)
Naming: issued unnamed, but could be returned to the mint for naming.
Those returned for naming were impressed in a style similar to the
Military General Service Medal 1793 -1814.This style is termed
'officially impressed' by collectors. The majority of medals to fatal
casualties of the campaign were allegedly issued already named. A
large number of recipients chose not to return their medal but have
them privately engraved by jewellers or similar and hence turn up in
a variety of engraved styles. A third option is termed
'Regimentally' or 'Depot' impressed in which some degree of
organisation appears to have been created to get men's medals
impressed. A variety of depot styles exist, often with a common
pattern to a specific regiment.
Ribbon; light blue with yellow edges.
Medals of the Regiments for qualification by regiment for
Infantry and Cavalry units.)
|Neat uniform roman capitals
similar to the MGS 1793 - 1814
|Various. different letter
dies used. Patterns emerge to some units/ regiments
||Various. done by military
tailors, jewellers and watch makers.
Running script style common.
Bars issued, action date (and
authorisation or announcement date in brackets)
20th September 1854
(15th December 1854)
25th October 1854
(23rd February 1855)
5th November 1854
(15th December 1854 )
11th Sept 1854 - 9th Sept 1855
(13th October 1855)
25th May - 22nd September 1855
(2nd May 1856)
| † The medal and the two
clasps 'Alma' and 'Inkermann' being instituted on the same day
Napoleon III accepted the award of the British Crimea Medal for his troops
by decree dated 26th April 1856. 93,000 French served in the
campaign. Allegedly medals arrived first - the bars arrived at some
later date which explains the high percentage of no bar medals and
medals with unaffixed bars
encountered in France. At least two unofficial local French strikings of the
Crimea medal also exist. 1) The Wyon signature omitted but with the
initials "E.F." next to the 1854 date. 2)
obverse unsigned and undated.
Unofficial French bars in the same design as the official
models exist : TRAKTIR, TCHERNAIA, MALAKOF, KINNBURN, MER
d'AZOFF, MOULIN (with possible variants: KINBURM, MOULIN
VERT, MALAKOFF ?) I assume the unofficial medals were struck for
those who did not receive the official British version (which
was not universally issued to the French ).
Naming: The vast majority remained unnamed as issued although I have seen
French medals impressed with the recipients details in neat capitals
with a star impressed as a separator between each of the words on