The Transport Medal was a British campaign medal sanctioned on 8th November, 1903 and awarded to the masters and officers of merchant ships which moved men, supplies and equipment to the South African War and to the Boxer Rebellion in China. It was intended that the medal would be awarded for future conflicts but was only awarded for the South Africa and China wars. One hundred and seventeen transport and eleven hospital ships were used in the above two campaigns.
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.
Type - Campaign Medal
Ribbon - Red ribbon with two thick dark blue stripes towards the edges
Eligibility - masters and officers of the Mercantile Marine
Awarded for - Campaign Service
Campaign - South Africa War and Boxer Rebellion
Established – 1902
Total awarded - 1,719
Designer – Designs supplied by Admiralty and the medals struck by the Royal Mint
Naming – Impressed in block capitals and only showing recipients name.
Suspender – Straight (plain)
Clasps - Two issues
Description: A circular silver medal. The obverse of the medal bears the head of King Edward VII in Naval uniform and the legend “EDWARDVS VII ET IMPERATOR” while the reverse depicts HMS Ophir beneath a map of the world. The reverse has the words in Latin “OB PATRIAM MILITIBUS PER MARE TRANSVECTIS ADJUTAM” which translates as ‘for services rendered in transporting troops by sea’.
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.
For services related to the South African War
For services related to the Boxer Rebellion
Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’
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