The China Medal Roll British Navy & Army

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The Second China War Medal was issued by the British Government in 1861 to members of the British Army and Royal Navy who took part in the Second Opium War of 1856 to 1860 against China.

The medal was designed by William Wyon.

The medal's obverse shows the diademed head of Queen Victoria with the legend ‘VICTORIA REGINA’. The reverse has the same coat of Royal Arms and shield found on both the First China War Medal with the inscription ‘ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACIM’ and the word ‘CHINA’ in the exergue below. The suspender is the same as that used on the Indian Mutiny Medal.

The medal was issued with the following clasps:
China 1842 (awarded to those who had already received the medal for the First China War),
Fatshan 1857,
Canton 1857,
Taku Forts 1858,
Taku Forts 1860
and Pekin 1860.

The 32 mm ribbon is crimson with yellow edges. The medals are named in indented Roman capitals for the Army, while members of the Royal Marines and Royal Navy were usually issued with unnamed medals

The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860. It was fought over similar issues as the First Opium War i.e. exclusive and preferential trade ideals.

"Second War" and "Arrow War" are both used in the literature. "Second Opium War" refers to one of the British strategic objectives: legalising the opium trade, expanding coolie trade, opening all of China to British merchants, and exempting foreign imports from internal transit duties. The "Arrow War" refers to the name of a vessel which became the starting point of the conflict.

Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • Navy: Name
  • rank
  • initials
  • number
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • date & place of discharge & attestation
  • name of ship. Army: Name
  • Rank
  • First names
  • Regiment/Unit
  • discharge/enlistment details
  • Birth/place of birth.

Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.

Original Source: BRITISH LIBRARY Roll of the Indian Marine
The national Archives
Admiralty original medal rolls in ADM171/12,13,30,31,32,33,34
The National Archives (Army rolls) WO76,WO98,WO100
Mint 16/82
China Medal Roll 1856-60 British Army Asplin ISBN 1-902366-2-33-6
China Medal Roll 1856-60 British Navy Asplin ISBN 1-902366-2-32-8 Sources
Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from :
Which are released under the terms of

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