In an earlier blog I wrote about the Ashantee medal with Coomassie clasp. The intent was to introduce a roll compiled by Captain Douglas- Morris and reproduced on the OMSA website. Since I have an interest in medal provenance I began collecting information on all the medals with or without clasp, issued to the RN and RM after purchasing the excellent book by Nick Tucker entitled “The Ashantee Medal 1873-74 to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines” which was recently published by the OMRS. Reading the book gave me an appetite for acquiring several Ashantee medals and since the number issued to naval personnel was fairly modest, I decided to begin a “provenance list”
This list will be updated regularly and is located here
The Ashantee medal issued for the campaign of 1873 is identical to the east and West Africa medal and is distinguishable only by the addition of 73-74 after the name of the recipient. It was awarded to naval personnel who “were engaged on the Gold Coast in the years 1873-74 in the operations undertaken against the King of the Ashantees which resulted in the capture and burning of the town of Coomassie, together with a clasp in commemoration of that event to be conferred on those who were present at the actions before that place”.
The majority were issued without clasp which is not to say that the capture of Coomassie is the only thing worthy of note. Naval personnel were involved at Elmina in June 1873, Chamah in August 1873, Essaman and Ampini in October 1873, Abrakampa in November 1873 and Borborassie, Egginassie and Amoaful in January 1874.
Eighteen ships were involved in the conflict with the largest number of medals being awarded to HMS ACTIVE (678) and the smallest to HMS MERLIN (61). After working on an extant list for a couple of months and recording approximately 15% of the medals issued , some patterns are developing. I would have expected that medals named to the more common ships may have found their way in to the melting pots but at least so far, the opposite is true. Only 8% of the MERLIN medals have been spotted versus almost 19% of the ACTIVE medals but it is early days yet.
Here is a snapshot of the distribution between ships: