image courtesy of DNW

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:

Ship Seen Roll Pct
Active 126 678 18.6%
Amethyst 39 283 13.8%
Argus 36 211 17.1%
Barracouta 37 298 12.4%
Beacon 10 90 11.1%
Bittern 20 106 18.9%
Coquette 10 68 14.7%
Decoy 9 69 13.0%
Dromedary 11 83 13.3%
Druid 36 257 14.0%
Encounter 33 224 14.7%
Himalaya 37 275 13.5%
Merlin 5 61 8.2%
Rattlesnake 40 288 13.9%
Seagull 12 90 13.3%
Simoom 68 377 18.0%
Tamar 31 224 13.8%
Victor Emmanuel 38 274 13.9%
598 3956 15.1%
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  1. Hi Jim,
    very interesting blog and I hope people will contribute to it.
    I have more information for you. To my knowledge there were 81 medals Ashantee medals issued to Dromedary, all without bar. I have 9 of them and from some quick and basic internet searching I have seen another 6 recorded sold at auction houses over the past 23 years, making a total of 15 (18.5%) I know about. There must be others sold privately, so still plenty for me to try and find. Please do let me know if you hear of others with medals to Dromedary.

  2. Additional: I have just done what I should have done in the first place and that is read your current provenance list! I have 7 names to add to your current list for Dromedary.

    H. Hannington, AB
    CJ Franks, Engr
    J Heese, Pte RM
    W Stone, PO 1 CL
    T Wavell, Dom 2 CL
    C England, AB

    which are medals I own (as well as J Muir, HW Andrews and W Fry)

    and J Worsfold, AB which was sold for $160 AUS by Noble, Melbourne in 1996

    best wishes

    • Thanks Rob, I appreciate the information
      You seem to be trying to corner the market on medals to this ship!


  3. I am not a medal collector but found you when researching the Ashantee medal with Coomassie clasp.
    You may be interested to know at least one of these was issued not to a member of the navy but to a member of the rifle brigade in the British Army . His name was Henry Cornelius born Lanteglos , Cornwall. I found his military record on Fold 3 through
    Here is the web link-
    Thanks for the great photo of the medal and its history.

    • Willemina, thanks for your comments. There were several Army units entitled to the clasp but this was a bit outside of the scope of the blog. Thanks for raising this point and perhaps in the future some more time can be devoted to the non Naval aspect


  4. I Have this medal belonging to my Great Great Great Grandfather any way I can locate his service record


    • Ian, if the medal is named to a man in the RN, you can likely get his service record from the national archives and download it for £3.50. If you have access to ancestry you may be able to download it for free. If he was in the Marines the service record won’t be available on line and you would need to have someone secure it directly from Kew.


  5. I have the Ashantee Medal for R. Warren on the Coquette.

  6. W. F. Davies Ord. HMS Active 73-74
    T. Thomas P’y Off’r HMS Active 73-74
    W. Yandall Painter HMS Amethyst 73-74
    here in UK.

  7. Hi, I am carrying out some family research. I have in my possession an Ashantee medal with black and gold ribbon (inc the smaller version). The inscription says ‘J C Bartlett Clerk R N HMS Active 73-74’. I read your blogg with interest and would welcome any information anyone might give me re J C Bartlett. Thanks

  8. We have a Ashentee medal issued to js Pearse HMS Seagull as distant relative he appears to have been invalided out 1874 and died soon after ..(awaiting records)

  9. Hoping to find my Gr Gr Gr Grandfathers Ashantee Medal named to John T Miller Royal Navy HMS Bittern.

  10. My gggrandfather was on the Argus. I have photos of him in later life always wearing his medal
    s He married a lady from Nova Scotia , trying yo find out why the Argus was there .

  11. Hi Jim, I just checked your provenance list again for HMS Dromedary. A total of 81 medals were issued, not 83 (source: British Battles and Medals by Spink). You have listed the medal for H Groves Dom 1 Cl twice in your list, but you are missing the medal for Captain Vine, which I saw in a 1967 catalogue from Seaby auctioneers and which sold for 10 UK pounds. That makes the total of medals to HMS Dromedary 20, that I know about. I now have 10 of those as I just bought the one to JP Hope.

  12. VINE, W. W., served as Master’s Assistant in Waterwitch during the operations and capture of Lagos in 1851 ; in the Britannia at the bombardment of Sebastopol in 1854 (Crimean and Turkish Medals and Sebastopol Clasp); in the Driver, and took part in the operations in the Baltic in 1855 (Baltic Medal): Second Master of the Calcutta in China, and served in the Coromandel tender, during the capture of Canton in 1857; at the capture of Peiho Forts in 1858, and at attack of the Peiho Forts in 1859; Acting Master of the Furious at the landing at Petang, and capture of the Peiho Forts in 1860 (China Medal, Canton and Taku Clasps); Navigating Lieutenant in command of the Dromedary during the Ashantee War (Ashantee Medal); F.R.G.S.

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