The award of the Central Africa Medal was announced as being approved by the Queen in Army Order No. 66, 1st April 1895. This medal is identical to the East and West Africa Medal. It was issued on two occasions, firstly in 1895 for ten small campaigns in Central Africa between 1891 and 1894, also for the 1895 Unyoro Expedition. It was re-issued in 1899 for operation in British Central Africa between 1894 and 1898. On the last occasion of issue the medal was fitted with a plain suspender and a bar ‘CENTRAL AFRICA 1894-98’ was added.
Materials: The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants. The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.
Ribbons: Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed. Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.
Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.
Ribbon – Three colours of equal width symbolical of the troops taking part. From left to right facing the wearer they are black for the Zanzibar Troops, white for the British and terracotta for the Indian troops.
Type – Campaign medal.
Eligibility– British, Zanzibar and Indian Troops.
Awarded for – Campaign Service.
Campaign – Service in Eastern and Central Africa from 1891–1894 and 1894–1898.
Established – 1st April, 1895.
Designer – Obverse: L. C. Wyon (Reverse): Sir Edward J. Poynter, R.A.
Naming – In indented Roman capital. The lettering is filled in black.
Suspender - Straight
Clasps – one issued.
Description – Circular medal, the obverse of this medal is the diademed head of Queen Victoria, wearing a veil, and the inscription “VICTORIA REGINA.” The reverse is a scene of bush fighting around a tree between British and Ashanti men.
Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’. They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle. The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned. Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order.
- Central Africa 1894-98.
Awarded for several small expeditions from 1894 to 1898. When the medal was issued with the clasp, it hung from a straight bar suspension.
Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’
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