India General Service Medal 1854, bar Perak, Boy 1st Class William Winsborough, HMS Hart, only 74 issued to this small Gunboat.
Officially engraved: W. Winsborough, Boy 1CL: H.M.S. “Hart”
Some contact marking through wear.
Confirmed on medal roll, this small Gunboat earned only 74 medals for the campaign, being the smallest issue of the various ships of the Royal Navy present, out of 1103 Clasps earned by the Naval Force.
Following the initial issue, in 1881, HMS Hart and HMS Charybdis were awarded the Perak clasp for “Service up to the Linggi and Lukut Rivers against the Malays in the Straits of Malacca between 27th November and 10th December 1874.”
Provenance, ex DNW, 22nd July 2015.
With copy service papers.
“The King’s Ships” by Halton Stirling Lecky, 1914, gives the following summary of their service:
“In 1873, HMS Hart, commanded by Commander Thomas H. Royse, was engaged in the blockade of the Spanish Mediterranean littoral, assisted in the operations against the Spanish Intransigents, and prevented the insurgent ships from bombarding various coastal towns.
In September 1874, the ‘Hart,’ commanded by Commander T.H. Royse, in company with the ‘Charybdis,’ took part in an expedition to the Indian River in the Malay Peninsula, and mediated some differences between the rulers of Johore and Pahang. In November 1874, the ‘Hart’ in company with the ‘Charybdis,’ took part in an expedition to the Lukit River to intervene in serious disputes that had arisen between the ruler of Sungei Ujong and one of his feudatories. It was decided to support the ruler, and a small Naval Brigade of 73 officers and men were landed with troops on November 26th.
After some brief fighting, the Malay feudatory deserted Campayang and escaped into the bush. One sailor was mortally wounded, and 50 of the enemy coolies were killed. Search parties were sent out in various directions, but they failed to capture Bandar, who did not surrender until some weeks later. During these operations, the ‘Hart’ proceeded to Langkat to warn the Selangor authorities against affording assistance to the insurgents.
The distinguished Malay Scholar Frank Athelstane Swettenham, CMG, British Resident of the Federated Malay States, recalls his time on HMS Hart in 1874:
“In 1874 I was sent in HMS Hart to reside with the Sultan of Selangor. Though his Highness’s personal record was one of which he might be proud, for he was said to have killed 99 men with his own hands, his state was not altogether a happy one, for it has been the fighting ground of several young Rajas for some years…”