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 Navy Medals for Zulu War

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Petty Officer Tom


Posts : 115
Join date : 2017-02-05

PostSubject: Navy Medals for Zulu War   Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:09 pm

As many are aware the South Africa Medal issued to Army, Naval and Colonial forces for the Zulu War has been commanding higher prices in the recent years.  For anyone intending to purchase a medal awarded to the officers and men of HMS Active, may I offer a word of caution.  If you are interested in a medal awarded for service during the Zulu War you cannot assume that a man’s name being on the Medal Roll is confirmation that he served in the war.

I have found the names of over 60 officers and men, on the Medal Roll, who were awarded medals “without clasp,” and medals with “1877-8” clasp, but were no longer still aboard HMS Active during the Zulu War.  These men were awarded their medals for service against Galekas, Gaikas and other tribes in the Eastern Cape.  There were other men, though, who were awarded medals “without clasp,” and medals with “1877-8” clasp, who did serve aboard the ship during the war.

Before spending your money, thinking you are getting a medal for the Zulu War, do your homework.

Medals awarded to men of the other ships serving in the Zulu War are not affected by this.

Petty Officer Tom
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Join date : 2010-06-02

PostSubject: Re: Navy Medals for Zulu War   Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:46 am

Welcome back PO Tom, we've missed you! Here is a case in point for HMS Active. Back in 2013 we discussed a watch fob awarded to Samuel Morris of HMS Active for Gun Drill. I now have that fob and have done a little research.
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Samuel was a Blacksmith on Active, I imagine he was a big chap and could probably heave the ammunition about without difficulty!
His medal also came up for sale some years ago and has the 1877/78 bar. His service record shows that he served in Active from 20 April 1877 to 26 October 1879, so he served on board during the AZW and, as you say,  would have had a medal without a bar but for his service against the tribes of the Eastern Cape. Do you know whether the 1877/78 bar denotes service on shore (as it would if he had the 1879)?
Samuel went on to serve on HMS Asia, Euphrates, Sappho and Indus - all the while a Blacksmith - and was also awarded the Sudan medal. He left the service in 1886.

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Petty Officer Tom


Posts : 115
Join date : 2017-02-05

PostSubject: Re: Navy Medals for Zulu War   Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:11 pm

Hi Steve,

Samuel Morris had served as a private in the Portsmouth Division of the Royal Marine Light Infantry prior to entering the Royal Navy in 1876. He served on HMS Active from 20 April 1877 to 25 Oct 1879 during which time he served ashore during the wars at the Cape in 1877 and 1878. For his service in the Naval Brigade Morris was entitled to the South Africa Medal with the “1877-8” clasp. After returning back to “Active” he served aboard ship during the Zulu War.

Petty Officer Tom
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