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ON11669

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Original British Victorian Pre-1875 Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal Named to Domestic 1st Class Frank Chalk - HMS Comu

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This fine British Victorian medal is named to Domestic 1st Class Frank Chalk, HMS Comus, Royal Navy.

The HMS Comus was a corvette (reclassified in 1888 as a third-class cruiser) of the Royal Navy. She was the name ship of her class. Launched in April 1878, the vessel was built by Messrs. J. Elder & Co of Glasgow at a cost of £123,000.

Comus and her classmates were built during a period of naval transition. Sail was giving way to steam, wooden hulls to metal, and smooth-bore muzzle-loading guns to naval rifles. Comus shows this transition; she was driven by both sails and a reciprocating steam engine; her hull was iron and steel but sheathed with wood and copper; and some of her muzzleloading guns were replaced by rifled breechloaders.

Comus was active for about two decades, but in that time went to the ends of empire, from the British Isles to the Caribbean and Nova Scotia to southwest Africa in the western hemisphere, and in the eastern, from the southern Indian Ocean to the northwest Pacific, and from the China station to the Strait of Magellan.

The Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1848) is a long service medal awarded to regular members of Her Majesty's Naval Service. It was instituted by Queen Victoria to replace the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1830), and could be awarded to other ranks and men serving in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

The first version of the medal has the effigy of Queen Victoria on the obverse and was designed by William Wyon, the chief engraver at the Royal Mint from 1828 until his death. The reverse has the image of HMS Victory that would remain virtually unchanged through all subsequent versions of the medal. The details of the recipient were either engraved or, after 1877, impressed around the edge of the medal, showing his service number, rank and name and, until the early 1880s, also the name of a Naval rating's ship or shore establishment or a Marine's division.

Two versions of the Queen Victoria obverse were produced. An estimated 100 of the medals have the year "1848" in relief below Queen Victoria's bust. These medals were struck in error using the die for the Naval General Service Medal (1847).

Two versions of suspender were also produced. The first medals, including the dated ones, had a straight suspender that was wide enough to accept the 38 millimetres (1½ inches) wide ribbon. The suspender was changed to a narrower width in 1875, to accept a new 32 millimetres (1¼ inches) wide ribbon. Both types of suspender were swiveling and were affixed to the medal by means of a double-toe claw and a horizontal pin through the upper edge of the medal.

This fine example features a Pre 1875 1.5 niche wide ribbon and is nicely impressed FRANK CHALK DOM 1st. CL. COMUS. Offered in excellent condition.

This medal was originally acquired in the 1960s and is still contained in an original Merchants Bank Safety Deposit Envelope. It remained in a private collection since being acquired in 2020.
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