The Baltic Medal 1854-1855


by Fred Larimore.
Comments to fbl@dca.net
Copyright © 2003

Approval for the issue of this medal[1] was given on 23 April 1856 after Queen Victoria reviewed the Fleet at Spithead. The medal was authorized without clasps. The medal was minted in two different thicknesses and with two different types of claws, one plain, and the other more ornate at the suspension top. The obverse has a crowned Queen's head engraved by William Wyon, Royal Academy. The reverse of the medal, engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon, shows Britannia seated on a rock, holding a trident in her right hand, and by her side is a naval cannon with a pile a cannon balls. She is looking towards the fortress of Bomarsund and in the distance is Fort Sveaborg. It was issued unnamed to the Royal Navy, Royal Marine Artillery, and Royal Marine Light Infantry. Some of these medals were later rim engraved with the naval or marine recipents details. One hundred six men of the Royal Sappers and Miners received medals that were rim named with officially impressed block capital letters. Hastings Irwin states that the Royal Sappers and mines served on the Flagship of the Fleet during the campaign. This ship was the H.M.S. Duke of Wellington. There are a substancial number of very dangerous forgeries of this medal named to the Royal Sappers and Miners that can potentially show up on the market. Consequently these medals should only be purchased with a complete guarantee of the medals correctness in all details.

The following ships were employed in the Baltic : H.M.S. " Duke of Wellington,* " " Saint George," " Neptune," " Princess Royal," " Royal George,* " " Saint Jean d'Acre," " Majestic,* " " Nile,* " " James Watt,* " " Prince Regent," " Caesar,* " " Monarch," " Boscawen," " Cumberland," " Cressy,* " " Blenheim,* " " Hogue,* " " Edinburgh,*" " Amphion,*" " Arrogant,*" " Ajax,*" "Euryalus,*" " Imperieuse,* " "Cruiser," "Odin," "Dauntless," "Archer," "Leopard," "Valorous," "Desperate," " Magicienne," "Vulture," "Dragon." " Porcupine," " Bulldog," " Conflict," " Driver," " Hecla," " Basilisk," " Rosamund," " Lightning," " Alban," and H.M. Hospital Ship " Belleisle."

After the recall of Sir Charles Napier, who was censured for not attacking Sveaborg, a fleet was dispatched to the Baltic under Rear-Admiral Hon. R. Dundas. It included the ships named above marked with an asterisk, and the " Calcutta," " Colossus," "Orion," " Cornwallis," " Exmouth." "Russell," "Hawk," "Pembroke," "Hastings," "Retribution," "Falcon," " Esk," "Tartar," "Cossack." "Archer," " Harrier," and " Pylades," with a number of smaller vessels and gunboats. During the second operations in the Baltic, Lieutenant Dowell of the Marine Artillery gained the V.C. for leading a volunteer crew in a boat from the " Ruby," and taking the cutter of the " Arrogant " in tow when she was swamped after the explosion of her magazine during an attack on some vessels at Viborg.

The following vessels took part in the attack on Sveaborg : H.M.S. " Duke of Wellington," " Arrogant," "Euryalus," "Exmouth/' "Cornwallis," "Cossack," " Pembroke," " Merlin," " Vulture," " Dragon," " Locust," " Volcano," " Lightning," " Hastings," " Am-phion," "Edinburgh," " Magicienne," "Geyser," "Eolus," "Belleisle," "Cruiser," "Princess Alice," and the gunboats and mortar vessels " Redwing," " Lark," " Magpie," " Starling," " Skylark," " Stork," " Drake," " Redbreast," " Weasel," " Badger," " Mastiff," "Snapper," "Biter," "Growler," " Pincher," " Porpoise," " Snap," " Blazer," " Dapper," " Pelter," " Pickle," " Havock," " Prompt," " Manly," " Sinbad," " Beacon," " Carron," and " Grappler."

Below are the details of some men from my photo collection that are
recipients of the Baltic Medal

Sergeant Major Samuel Cole, Royal Sappers & Miners, c. 1872 later Captain Quarter Master, Royal Engineers

Ensign John Brabzon Kemeys Tynte 5th Fusiliers.

Drum Major, Royal Marine Artillery c. 1856-1860.


[1] Joslin, Litherland & Simpkin, British Battles and Medals, London: Spink, 1988; Hastings Irwin, D., War Medals and Decorations, London: L. Upcott Gill, 1910;  Augustus Steward, W., War Medals and Their History, London: Stanley Paul & Co., 1915; and Tancrd, G., Historical Record of Medal and Honorary Distnctions, London: Spink & Son, 1891.

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