VCs Poynter


Ashantee  Medal 1873 - 74

     Instituted on the 1st June 1874 for award to British, Colonial and allied native forces deployed against the army of the Ashanti King Koffee Kalkalli, which was threatening the British Gold Coast Protectorate. As the C-in-C of the main British operations, Sir Garnet Wolseley put it : "An invading army of Ashantis numbering between twenty and thirty thousand men, having overrun the Fanti territory, has occupied threatening positions within an easy march of Her Majesty's Forts at Elmina and Cape Coast Castle. The country is filled with alarms of intended attacks upon our settlements ; public confidence in us is at a very low ebb, every movement on our part is known to the enemy, regarding whose intentions, movements, numbers, or even exact position, little information is possessed by our authorities."
    A few minor actions took place in the latter half of 1873 against the Ashanti that had crossed the Prah river into British controlled territory. In early 1874 after a build up of forces a campaign was launched to drive back and punish the Ashanti. The coup de grâce was delivered on the 31st January at the battle of Amoaful - after many hours of heavy fighting - in which the Black Watch (42nd Regt) was the prime mover. Immediately after this the capital Coomassie was occupied, and an (intentionally unacceptable) ultimatum was put before the Ashanti King by Wolseley - to surrender his mother and brother as hostages to the British or see his capital Coomassie destroyed. On the 6th February Coomassie was razed to the ground. Peace was agreed on the 13th February 1874 via the Treaty of Fommanah which included the Ashanti king paying the British 50,000 ounces of gold and halting the practice of human sacrifice.

Description: Obverse; the diademed, veiled head of Queen Victoria and the inscription VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse; a scene of bush fighting between British and Ashanti, as inspired by the campaign. (this reverse was use on other medals - see Poynter above)

Clasps: one, COOMASSIE this was awarded to those present at Amoaful and the capture of the capital, or those protecting the lines communication north of the Prah river.

Naming: In engraved quite neat square looking serif capitals, character height about half the rim width. The vertical parts of the letters are quite thick in appearance. Lettering was originally blackened in, but frequently this does not survive the passage of time.

Ribbon: yellow with black edges and two narrow black central stripes.

(Also see: Medals of the Regiments for qualification by regiment for Infantry and Cavalry units.)




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The normal engraved naming - the campaign date follows the regiment or ship,
in the format 1873-4 for army medals or 73-74 for navy medals

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