First issue of East and West Africa Medal was authorised on 1st November, 1892, it was awarded to personnel who took part in large numbers of small campaigns in British Africa from 1892 until 1900. In terms of design it is a continuation of the Ashantee War Medal, only slightly thinner otherwise identical, even to the ribbon and suspension. Recipients who held that medal already were therefore awarded only extra clasps between the dates shown. Those who had not received the Ashantee Medal received the East and West Africa Medal.
The medal was issued in silver to officers and men of the British forces and in bronze to native porters. There are 21 clasps for this medal, with some being extremely rare and an alternative design for those who served on the ‘Mwele’ campaign in 1895-96. This alternative design was simply the additional imprinting of "MWELE" next to the claw of the medal.
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 – Yellow with black edges and 2 dark green stripes.
Type – Campaign medal.
Eligibility – British forces.
Awarded for – Campaign service.
Campaign – East and West Africa campaigns 1887-1900.
Established – 1st November, 1892.
Designer – Obverse: L. C. Wyon Reverse: Sir Edward J. Poynter, R.A.
Naming – In indented Roman capital. The lettering is filled in black.
Clasps – 21 clasps/bars awarded
Suspender - Straight
Description – 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.
1887-8 (13 November 1887 - 2 January 1888)
The bar was awarded for operations against the Yonnie Tribe.
Witu 1890 (17 - 27 October 1890)
The bar was awarded to personnel of the following H.M Ships: Boadicea, Brisk, Conquest, Cossack, Humber, Kingfisher, Pigeon, Redbreast and Turquoise. These ships were in expedition to punish the Sultan of Witu, who murdered several Europeans.
1891-2 (29th December 1891 – 2nd February 1892)
This bar was awarded to three hundred members of the Gambia Expedition against Chief Cabba.
1892 (8th March - 25 May 1892)
This bar was awarded for expeditions against Tambi, Toniataba and Jebus.
Witu August 1893 (7th – 13th August 1893)
This bar was awarded for expedition under Capt. G.R Lindley R.N., which landed at Lamu to punish the Sultan of Witu.
Liwondi 1893 (February - March 1893)
This is a rare bar was awarded to men of H.M. Ships Herald and Mosquito for an expedition against Chief Liwondi.
Juba River 1893 (23rd – 25th August 1893)
This bar was awarded to naval volunteers from H.M.S. Blanche and Count Lovatelli who successfully carried out a small expedition to Gobwen to rescue Capt. Tritton and Mr. McDougall from Somalis and some rebellious natives of the Hyderabad Contingent.
Lake Nyassa 1893 (November 1893)
Awarded to European officers and men who manned two small boats called Adventure and Pioneer. These were built at Jarrow-on-Tyne and sent out to Africa in sections. They were hauled over two hundred miles of Virgin country to the edge of the lake where they were assembled. The object of all this trouble was to punish Chief Makaujira, who lived in then almost unknown and inaccessible region.
1893-94 (16th November 1893 – 11th March 1894)
This bar was awarded for services against the Sofas between 26th November, 1893, and 20th January, 1894, and also for operations up the Gambia River between 22nd February and 11th March, 1894. As the Navy only took part from 22nd February, 1894, onwards, they were not eligible for this bar and consequently received that awarded for Gambia 1894.
Gambia 1894 (23rd February – 13th March 1894)
This bar was awarded for considerable fighting during the short period.
Benin River 1894 (August - September 1894)
This bar was awarded to members of an expedition that went up the Benin River to punish Chief Nana, this included H.M.Ships, Alecto, Philomel, Phoebe and Widgeon.
Brass River 1895 (17th – 26th February 1895)
This bar was awarded for operations against King Koko including officers and men from H.M. ships, Barossa, Conquest, St. George, Thrush and Widgeon.
There was no bar issued for the operations against Chief Rashid of M’wele. The word “MWELE” was impressed on the rim of the medal to the left of the claw and the date “1895” or “1895-6” to the right.
1896-98 (27th November 1896 – 27th June 1898)
This bar was awarded for several expeditions into the Northern Territory of the Gold Coast between 27th November, 1896 and 27th June, 1898.
Niger 1897 (6th January – 26th February 1897)
This bar was awarded for expedition to Egbon, Bida and Ilorin, also for garrison duty at Lokoja and Fort Goldie between 6th January and 26th February, 1897.
Benin 1897 (6th February – 7th August)
This bar was awarded to members of a punitive expedition in the Benin Territory under Lieut. Colonel Bruce Hamilton and to the personnel of flotilla under Rear Admiral Rawson which captured Gwato and Sapobo.
Dawkita 1897 (28th March 1897)
This bar was authorized by Army Order No. 51 to men of the Gold Coast Constabulary for the defence of Dawkita when it was attacked by Sofas.
1897-98 (September 1897 - August 1898)
Awarded to personnel who took part in the expedition to the hinterland of Lagos, between September, 1897 and 14th June, 1898 or in Borgu.
Awarded to those who took part in expeditions during 1898.
Sierra Leone 1898-99 (18th February 1898 – 9th March 1899)
Awarded to individuals for services in the Sherboro District and on the Brempe River.
1899 (February - May 1899)
Awarded to individuals for expedition to Bula, and Central Division Expedition in February and March. Also for the Benin Territorty Expedition in April and May 1899.
1900 (4th January – 8th May 1900)
Awarded for the Kaduna Expedition between 20th February, and 8th May, 1900. Also for the Munshi Expedition from 4th January, to 19th March, 1900.
Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’
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