Medal of soldier who served at the Battle of Trafalgar is priced £7,500

We've already reported on two notable medals featured in Corbitts of Newcastle's forthcoming annual coins, medals and banknotes sale. But also appearing is a decoration awarded to a Royal Navy soldier who served during the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.


Thompson's Navy General Service
Medal, including a clasp for his
service at the Battle of Trafalgar

John Thompson served aboard the Leviathan whose name, along with the ship Colossus, reflected her great size. French ships at Trafalgar were named after heroic characteristics: Indomitable, Intrepide and so on.

Also sailing with the French fleet was Redoubtable, whose soldiers and sailors fired at men exposed on the flagship HMS Victory's decks. 

Lord Horatio Nelson was hit by a musket shot, knocking him to the deck and breaking his back. He was then carried down below the midshipmen's berth.

An hour after Nelson's victory, the Battle of Trafalgar reached its climax as Neptune, Leviathan and Conqueror set upon Admiral Villeneuve's Flagship Bucentaure, battering it into submission until Villeneuve surrendered.

Meanwhile, as the Royal Navy ship Temeraire helped force the surrender of the Redoubtable and fired a crippling broadside into the Fougueux, the Leviathan engaged the San Augustino.

Leviathan's crew eventually successfully brought down her masts and boarded her.

In the midshipman's berth, Nelson constantly asked for progress of the battle. The Victory's commander, Thomas Hardy, was able to tell him that their fleet had taken 15 of the enemy's ships just before Nelson died.


An artist's impression of Nelson's overwhelming triumph over the
Franco-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar


Thompson was present for the whole battle, and his Naval General Service medal, dated to 1845, is appearing in Corbitts' auction with an estimate of £6,500-7,500. Formerly of the Gray collection, its quality is described as "very fine" by Corbitts.

According to the lot notes, Thompson's medal includes clasp for Trafalgar (53 bars awarded) and also for service aboard the HMS Implacable (August 26, 1808, one of 45 bars awarded), a captured ship which served with the Royal Navy throughout the rest of the Napoleonic Wars.

Corbitts' UK auction takes place next Thursday, September 2.

Previously, the Naval Service Medal of another soldier who served at the Battle of Trafalgar, James Folley, auctioned with a similar price estimate at Spink, in July.

 

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