Archive for Crimean War

A Self-Award For A Victorian Birchall

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on July 19, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere’s an odd one. We have our share of military imposters today, slipping into a uniform and slapping on a bunch of undeserved medals in order to gain the eye of the ladies. They call them “Walts”, after the deluded central character in the 1939 book, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.

Now it appears I have one from the 19th Century. This medal, a Crimean Medal with Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaklava bars is inscribed to Captain Basil Herne Harper Birchill 1854-5-6. Researching Basil tells me that he was a member of the minor gentry from Middlesex. His surname was Diprose at birth but he was able to change his name to Birchall upon the death of Lt Col. Herne Harper Burchell in 1858 (probably due to either a remarriage of his mother or an illegitimate issue). He did indeed serve in one of the County militia, the Royal Bucks. However as far as I can see he never made it to the Crimea. I see a record of him  connected to the British Italian Legion which replaced British troops in garrison on Malta during the Crimean War. And he seemed to be busy in organisations like the Cinque Ports Corps (basically a bunch of rifle clubs) and the Royal Geographical Society. However I sincerely doubt that he left Britain and this medal is a self award. Pompous little classist pommie prick. I would say I’d plant my boot into his nuts if I met him today.

 

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A Birchall Group from the Crimean War

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on December 5, 2009 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere is one of my family groups, the earliest one I have, comprising the Crimean War Campaign medal with the Sevastopol Bar impressed to J.Birchall, 56th Regiment. The accompanying Turkish Crimean Medal is a Sardinian example and is unnamed.

The Crimea Medal was a campaign medal approved in 1854, for issue to officers and men of British units (land and naval) which fought in the Crimean War of 1854-56 against Russia.

The medal is notable for its extremely ornate clasps, being in the form of an oak leaf with an acorn at each extremity, a style never again used on a British medal. The suspension is an ornate floriated swivelling suspender, again unique to the Crimea Medal.

Five bars were authorised, the maximum awarded to one man was four. The medal was issued without a clasp to those who were present in the Crimea, but not present at any of the qualifying actions. A five bar specimen is held in the Royal Collection.

This medal was also presented to certain members of allied French forces. These medals, in addition to the five British clasps, were often issued with unauthorised French bars; Traktir, Tchernaia, Mer d’Azoff, and Malakof.

The medal was awarded with the British version of the Turkish Crimean War medal, but when a consignment of these were lost at sea some troops were issued with the Sardinian version instead.

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