Naval General Service Medal Goes Under The Hammer For The First Time

Sunday 11th July 2021 - Della Bentham


Naval General Service Medal Goes Under The Hammer For The First Time

A medal awarded to First Lieutenant, Thomas Lemon is consigned to the Chilcotts Auctioneers Sale this Saturday 17th July.

medal awarded to a soldier for service during the Battle of Trafalgar will be going under the hammer with Devon-based saleroom Chilcotts Auctioneers on Saturday 17th of July.


The infamous Battle of Trafalgar took place in October 1805 at sea, between the British Royal Navy and the combined French and Spanish Navies. The latter were trying to provide passage for Napoleon so that he could invade England.


Under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson, the British Navy was outnumbered; they had only 27 ships and were faced by 33 enemy ships. Despite this, Lord Nelson's tactics prevailed, and the British secured a defeat, furthering the supremacy of the British Navy at the time.


Chilcotts are based in Honiton, Devon, which has a connection with the battle. The town is part of the Trafalgar Way, which was the route taken by Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere, who brought news of the victory and death of Napoleon to parliament. The Lieutenant would have passed right by where the saleroom stands today on his journey.


The medal due to go under the hammer was awarded to Thomas Lemon. Thomas was a First Lieutenant aboard the HMS Dreadnought. As one of the only Royal Marines aboard the HMS Dreadnought, Lemon was awarded the Naval General Service Medal (NGSM) with Trafalgar clasp.


During the Battle of Trafalgar, the Marines were the first line of attack when boarding an enemy vessel. Other duties they performed included sentry and guard duties. They were also often tasked with being sharpshooters on the rigging targeting people on the enemy ships. 2,600 Marines took part in Trafalgar, with 17 officers and 332 men losing their lives.


Captain John Conn commanded the HMS Dreadnought. The ship was launched in 1801 and was the 98 gun sister ship to the Fighting Temeraire. Ten officers and fifty-three men were aboard the Dreadnought on that day in October 1805 which forced the surrender of the Spanish vessel San Juan Nepomuceno.


Seven of the crew sadly lost their lives on that fateful day, with a further 26 wounded.


Recipients of the NGSM were announced in 1847; they were awarded for actions between 1793 and 1840. The clasp and ribbon denoted the specific campaign.


Auctioneer Duncan Chilcott says: "This is a rare medal to come to market for the first time, over 170 years after it was awarded."


"We estimate the sale value to be between £7,000 and £9,000, but it could go much higher because of its rarity."


This medal is not the only exciting item of militaria going under the hammer on the 17th of July with Chilcotts. There are also two Army of India medals with the Ava clasp awarded in 1851. One was awarded to a member of the HMS Alligator's Gunners crew named John Thurston, and the other awarded to Lt. Augustus Ormsby


There are 454 lots in the sale on the 17th of July, including Ceramics, Militaria and Home Interiors. You can browse the entire catalogue and register to bid live here.