NAVAL GENERAL SERVICE 1793, CLASP OFF TAMATAVE 20 MAY 1811 ‘H (DOUGLA)S, MIDSHIPMAN
‘DEATH of a VETERAN NAVAL OFFICERThere recently died at Grove-Road Southsea, one of the oldest residents at the age of 96 years and three months, Henry Douglas, a retired Commander Royal Nay, was born in the year 1789, and going to sea at an early age, he took part in the stirring events of the great war with France. As a midshipman of the Honourable East India ship Warren Hastings, Captain Larkins, he assisted in the gallant defence made by the homeward bound fleet of Indiamen against the attack of the French Squadron under Command of Admiral Linois, in the Line of Battle ship Marengo and Belle Poule, frigate, when they succeeded in beating off the French squadron and bring home the tea laden fleet of ships to safety. For this service the senior Captain (Dance) was Knighted and the East India Company awarded the Officers and crews of the ships the sum of half a million of money. Later on, having joined the Royal Navy as a Midshipman on HMS Belleisle, he just missed being present at Trafalgar. In the action off Madagascar 20th May 1812, between the English frigates under the command of Captain Schomberg and the French frigates Clorinde, Renomme and Neride, he was signal Midshipman of the Astrea, the Commodore’s ship, when after an action of some hours, two of the French frigates were captured. After this he served in the Lakes of Canada in Command of a gunboat till the peace of 1816, when he was placed on half-pay’.
Douglas’s medal has been partially re engraved over parts of the name only, the Rank ‘MIDSHIPMAN’ has been left alone and is impressed as issued bar the feet of the first three letters. The Initial ‘H’ is pretty much untouched, as is the ‘S’. The ‘O’, G’ and ‘A’ have been touched up to larger degree but enough is visible of the original impressed letters to see they are a match and even the ‘D’ shows signs it may have just been touched up. So it seems on receiving the medal, Douglas found a spelling error between the letters ‘DOUGL’. Such spelling errors are not particularly unusual on NGS medals but clearly Douglas wanted his medal corrected.
Bar the change to letters in the surname, the Medal has not been tampered with. The clasp and suspension are as issued.
To add to the above and not taking into account the clasp, a process of elimination shows that this medal can only be the one issued to Commander Henry Douglas;
a) Medal is certainly a Midshpman’s as this impressing as issued
b) Recipient certainly had the initial ‘H’ and surname ended with an ‘S’
c) After the ‘H’ is a fully stop and after the ‘S’ a comma, both impressed and untouched. This leaves spacing for seven letters in the surname
d) The above means the recipients forename began with an ‘H’, Surname has seven letters ending with an ‘S’
Checking the medal roll using the above and discounting a couple of medals known in collections or past sales, we are left with the following:
Henry Douglas, Midshipman, Clasp Off Tamatave
Henry Downes, Midshipman, Clasp Curacoa
Henry Edwards, Midshipman, Clasp Growler 22 May 1812
If we then take into account that this medal has parts of the impressed letters ‘O’, G’ and ‘A’ visible, it is again clear this medal indeed was original issued to Henry Douglas.
Condition, bar the issued with naming, the medal is in VF or better condition. Sold with some research including record of service on CD. Douglas had a very interesting service, especially in the HEIC and Canada during the 1812 War. However the issues with naming means the medal is priced accordingly.
Condition NVF, general contact wear overall and a few minor EK’s.