Baltic Medal, 1854-55, contemporarily engraved to John Lewis, H.M.S. Esk
Contemporarily engraved serif naming reading: “JOHN LEWIS. H.M. SHIP. ESK.”
John Lewis, a Gunner of the Royal Marines Artillery was born in Galmorgan, Wales during October 1832.
He served in the Baltic Campaign during the Crimean War on H.M.S. Esk earning this medal, confirmed on the roll.
He then followed on from the war, still with the Esk, serving in the next war in China, the Second “Opium” War of 1856-60.
For this service he earned the China War Medal, bar Canton 1857, which was sent to him on 31st October 1862.
He served with Portsmouth Company 11.
He was discharged from service on 26th June 1861.
Kevin Asplin’s China Navy Roll also lists he was “Also on the Royal Marine Battalion Roll.”
H.M.S. Esk was a brand new Corvette launched on 12th June 1854, being immediately commanded by Captain Thomas Francis Birch from 28th October 1854 until 25th February 1856, when it served on the Mediterranean Station in the Black Sea during the Crimean War.
She was then re-commissioned on 1st March 1856 by Captain Robert John Le Mesurier McClure for service in the East Indies and China Station.
McClure commanded the division of the Naval Brigade before Canton during the war, it appears John Lewis was one of his Naval Brigade men present.
A brief overview of the services in the period from the Army List for a Captain Small R.M.L.I.:
“Served with the Baltic Expedition in 1855 (Medal). He commanded the launch of HMS Esk in action at the capture of a Mandarin Junk and a Snake Boat, the former of which was set on fire and destroyed, the latter brought under a heavy fire from an armed village, in a branch of the Canton River on 6th July 1857.”