Lot Archive


№ 5


16 October 1996

Hammer Price:

China 1842 (Thomas Wilson, Lieut. H.M.S. Blenheim) with clasp ‘China 1842’ loose on ribbon as issued, contemporary alteration to ring and straight bar suspension, and fitted with ribbon buckle and pin brooch, contact marks but generally very fine and rare

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, The Douglas-Morris Collection of Naval Medals.

View The Douglas-Morris Collection of Naval Medals


Admiral Thomas Wilson, C.B., F.R.G.S., R.N. entered the Navy in 1828 and passed his examination in 1835. He took part in most of the operations of the China War as Lieutenant in BLENHEIM, and at the assault and capture of the forts and batteries at Chuenpee, 7 January 1841, he commanded in person the BLENHEIM’S seamen (London Gazette 1841, p. 1163). He was promoted Commander in 1843, Captain in 1853, and served in the Second China War whilst commanding H.M.S. WINCHESTER. His last commission was in command of H.M.S. ST VINCENT (1859-62). Three years later he was appointed to the post of Captain Superintendent of Greenwich Hospital for a period of five years, during which time he was honoured with the award of a C.B. on 13 March 1867. He retired on 1 April 1870 at the end of his appointment as a Rear Admiral (Retired), rising automatically “in dead men’s shoes” to Retired Vice Admiral in 1875 and Retired Admiral in 1879. He died during 1894.

For his service in WINCHESTER Wilson received an unnamed 2nd China War medal without clasp and at a later date must have decided to conform to the extraordinary rules governing the issue of awards for the 2nd China War, whereby he was entitled to the clasp ‘China 1842’. This clasp he chose to fit to his First China War medal and accordingly had the suspension altered to carry the narrower ribbon which could accommodate the clasp. The medal rolls show a total of 101 recipients of the 1st China War medal with ‘China 1842’ and/or 2nd China War clasps. For further details and the full roll of recipients see
Naval Medals 1793-1856.