Thursday, 16 April 2020

The Sea Transport Medal 1899-1902

The Register has just been updated with the recipients of the Sea Transport Medal who served on voyages to and from South Africa.

In July 1903 the Admiralty issued a Memorandum announcing the creation of a medal for officers of the Mercantile Marine who served aboard ships carrying troops to the wars in South Africa and China.

The medal was titled 'Sea Transport Medal', but is commonly known as, and indeed referred to later by the Admiralty itself as the "Transport Medal". The medal was a recognition, especially, for the Second Anglo-Boer War, of the great numbers of civilian ships used to transport soldiers, stores and horses and mules from all points of the globe to South Africa, and to a lesser extent China. A number of these ships were hospital ships.The orginal intention was that this medal would be available for future conflicts, but it never was. In World War I the Mercantile Marine medal replaced the Transport Medal.

Two clasps were authorised: "S. Africa 1899-1902" and "China 1900".

The officers eligible were; Masters, Officers (1st, 2nd & 3rd ranks), Engineers (Chief, (1st, 2nd, 3rd ranks), Surgeons ("in a position of responsibility in attendance on the troops") and Pursers ("a limited number..specially deserving..at their Lordships' discretion"). All medals were awarded subject to "conduct on board the Transport having been entirely satisfactory, and to their Lordships' final approval in every case". An example of their Lordships' disapproval is that of Chief Engineer C McGarrow, SS Idaho, his medal was forfeited for "insobriety during Transport service".

The medal roll is held at the National Archives, London, ADM171-52, which is free to download.



The Transport Medal & WW1 group to 3rd Engineer TH Jarvis, SS Zibenghla


As ever there is some disagreement between sources as to how many were issued for South Africa and China. British Battles and Medals 7th edition (Hayward, Birch, Bishop Spinks 2006 - BBM) gives a total of 1,719, the Anglo-Boer War website states 1,822. A number of medals were unclaimed and returned to the Mint. Surgeon WH Pigeon, SS City of Vienna, a late addition to the roll, never had a medal made.

 Recipients of the Transport Medal were also eligible for the QSA and a very few achieved that "double". The Register helps identify these men by creating one record for each participant using many different sources. Most who achieved the double were surgeons who served in Hospital Ships and or with the RAMC ashore earning a QSA, these men were:

Surgeon G Ashton - Transport Medal, QSA
Surgeon GT Kevern - Transport Medal, QSA
Surgeon J Prentice - Transport Medal, QSA & KSA
Surgeon WH Sutcliffe - Transport Medal, QSA

Ashton, Kevern and Sutcliffe are listed in the QSA rolls as "Ship's Surgeon", WO100/225pp258-259. Prentice is not, there may be more like Prentice. When I do the Civil Surgeons QSA roll I will find out.

Then there was TB Gillespie, 3rd Engineer aboard SS Persia. When the ship docked in South Africa he left and enlisted in Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, earning a QSA with the clasps, Cape Colony, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902.

Many men who earned the Transport Medal went on to serve in World War I. Other notable services are Captain Edward Smith, SS Majestic and Purser Hugh McElroy, SS Cymric & Britannic, who both served on the ill fated SS Titanic. Chief Officer D Dow, SS Servia, later Captained the RMS Mauretania when she broke the Blue Riband speed record and SS Lusitania, but not when she was torpedoed in 1915.

This table shows the number of South Africa clasps awarded for each rank, excluding those returned to the Mint and those otherwise not issued a medal. For comparison I have included the numbers from BBM.

 
Medals Received

The Register
BBM
Clasps SA SA,CH All
All SA SA,CH
Master 123 34 157
156 122 34
Officer 507 70 577
586 515 71
Engineer 480 70 550
541 475 66
Surgeon 63 1 64
69 68 1
Purser 39 6 45
45 39 6

1212 181 1393
1397 1219 178


BBM states 118 medals were returned unclaimed, this number includes medals awarded just for the China run. The table below shows data from The Register for the returns of the South Africa clasp:


The Register - Returns
Clasps SA SA,CH All
Master 0 0 0
Officer 24 4 28
Engineer 23 5 28
Surgeon 3 0 3
Purser 1 0 1

51 9 60


And finally a list of ships that sailed to South Africa and the numbers of each rank aboard who were awarded medals. This includes men who sailed in more than one ship to qualify for the South Africa clasp.

Ship Master Officers Engineers Surgeon Purser Total
Algeria, SS 2 4 5 0 2 13
America, SS 2 9 5 0 0 16
Antillian, SS 2 10 5 0 1 18
Arawa, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Ariosto, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Armenian, SS 1 8 7 0 0 16
Assaye, SS 1 8 5 2 1 17
Atlantian, SS 1 3 5 0 1 10
Aurania, SS 3 7 5 4 1 20
Austral, SS 1 3 3 1 0 8
Avoca, HS 1 9 5 0 2 17
Bavarian, SS 1 6 3 1 1 12
Booldana, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Britannic, SS 1 5 3 4 2 15
British Prince, SS 1 3 3 0 1 8
British Princess, SS 1 5 4 0 1 11
Canada, RMS 1 8 8 2 0 19
Canning, SS 1 3 5 0 0 9
Carthaginian, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Catalonia, SS 1 3 3 0 1 8
Cavour, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Cephalonia, RMS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Cestrian, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Cheshire, SS 1 3 4 2 0 10
Chicago, SS 1 4 3 0 1 9
City of Cambridge, SS 2 5 4 1 1 13
City of London, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
City of Rome, SS 1 3 3 1 0 8
City of Vienna, SS 1 4 5 3 2 15
Colombian, SS 1 5 4 0 1 11
Custodian, SS 2 7 5 0 1 15
Cymric, SS 1 3 3 2 1 10
Dictator, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Dilwara, SS 1 6 6 2 1 16
Dominion, SS 1 3 3 1 0 8
Dunera, SS 2 8 5 1 2 18
Ellora, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Englishman, SS 1 4 7 1 0 13
Fazilka, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Formosa, SS 1 4 4 1 0 10
Fultala, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Glengyle, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Golconda, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Harlech Castle, SS 2 10 6 2 2 22
Hawarden Castle, SS 2 7 7 5 2 23
Henzada, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Hilarius, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Idaho, SS 1 6 4 1 0 12
India, SS 2 3 3 0 0 8
Ionian, SS 1 2 3 0 0 6
Jamaican, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Jelunga, SS 2 4 4 1 1 12
Kent, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Kildonan Castle, SS 2 7 6 3 1 19
Lake Erie, SS 1 7 7 2 1 18
Lake Manitoba, SS 1 2 3 0 0 6
Lalpoora, SS 2 6 3 0 0 11
Laurentian, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Lawada, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Lindula, SS 1 6 3 0 0 10
Lismore Castle, SS 1 4 3 1 1 10
Mahratta, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Maine, SS 1 4 4 0 1 10
Majestic, SS 1 4 3 1 0 9
Malta, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Manchester Corporation, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Manchester Merchant, SS 1 8 6 0 0 15
Manchester Port, SS 1 3 3 1 0 8
Manhattan, SS 2 8 6 0 0 16
Manila, SS 1 7 8 3 0 19
Maplemore, SS 1 4 5 0 1 11
Milwaukee, SS 1 2 3 0 0 6
Mohawk, SS 1 4 4 0 1 10
Mongolian, SS 1 4 6 0 1 12
Monteagle, SS 1 4 3 1 0 9
Monterey, SS 1 3 3 1 0 8
Montfort, SS 1 4 7 2 0 14
Montrose, SS 1 7 10 1 0 19
Muttra, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Nankin, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Narrung, SS 1 3 5 0 0 9
Nevasa, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Nile, SS 1 3 3 0 1 8
Norseman, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Nowshera, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Nubia, SS 1 9 6 1 1 18
Nurani, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Orcana, SS 1 9 3 0 1 14
Orient, SS 3 11 7 3 1 25
Orissa, SS 1 4 3 1 0 9
Orotava, SS 1 8 7 5 1 22
Ortona, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Palamcotta, SS 1 6 4 0 0 11
Palawan, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Palitana, SS 1 2 3 0 0 6
Pavonia, SS 1 3 3 0 1 8
Pekin, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Persia, SS 1 4 3 1 1 10
Pindari, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Pinemore, SS 2 3 6 0 1 12
Plassy, SS 1 4 4 2 0 11
Pomeranian, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Princess of Wales, SS 1 5 7 0 1 14
Pundua, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Purnea, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Putiala, SS 1 2 5 0 0 8
Ranee, SS 1 7 3 0 0 11
Rapidan, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Roslin Castle, SS 2 12 8 1 2 25
Sardinia, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Secundra, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Servia, SS 2 3 3 1 0 9
Siberian, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Sicilia, SS 0 4 3 1 1 9
Sicilian, SS 2 4 3 0 0 9
Simla, SS 2 8 6 0 1 17
Sirsa, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Soudan, SS 1 3 2 0 0 6
Spartan, SS 1 5 4 0 0 10
St Andrew, SS 1 8 8 0 2 19
Staffordshire, SS 1 3 4 0 1 9
Sunda, SS 2 7 5 2 0 16
Sutlej, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Syria, SS 1 4 4 2 0 11
Tagus, SS 3 10 4 1 1 19
Templemore, SS 3 3 6 0 1 13
Trojan, SS 2 5 3 0 0 10
Uganda, SS 1 7 2 0 0 10
Ujina, SS 1 4 4 0 0 9
Ulstermore, SS 1 4 4 0 1 10
Umbria, SS 1 4 3 1 0 9
Umta, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Upada, SS 1 5 5 0 0 11
Urlana, SS 2 1 3 0 0 6
Urmston Grange, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Vadala, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Victorian, SS 1 5 4 0 1 11
Virawa, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Wakool, SS 1 7 8 0 1 17
Wardha, SS 1 3 4 0 0 8
Warora, SS 1 1 3 0 0 5
Winifredian, SS 1 3 4 1 0 9
Winkfield, SS 1 4 5 0 0 10
Yorkshire, SS 1 3 3 0 1 8
Zayathla, SS 1 3 3 0 0 7
Zibenghla, SS 1 3 5 0 0 9

Transport Medals are not uncommon on the market, The Register has 114 sale records for 80 individuals, you can check the list in The Research Centre.





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