Army Gold Medal

Army Gold Medal and Cross

Gold Medal, obverse (left), Gold Cross with clasp (right) and
Ribbon (bottom)
Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility British Army field and general officers
Awarded for Campaign commands (conspicuous service)
Campaign French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793–1814, Anglo-American War of 1812.
Description medal:
obverse Britannia with shield, laurel wreath and palm branch;
reverse name of first battle awarded, with laurel wreath;
cross: cross pattée with proud lion, battle names on arms;
clasps: laurel wreath with battle name
ribbon: broad crimson with blue border
Clasps 28 authorised
Established 1810

The Army Gold Medal (1808–1814), also known as the Peninsular Gold Medal, with an accompanying Gold Cross, was a British campaign medal awarded in recognition of field and general officers' successful commands in campaigns, predominantly the Peninsular War.[1] It was not a general medal, since it was issued only to those whose rank was no less than that of battalion commander.


The medal came in three styles: the Large Medal, the Small Medal, and the Peninsular Cross. Each style was supplemented with clasps identifying the battles involved. The Large Medal (2 inches (51 mm) diameter) was restricted to generals, while lower-ranking officers were awarded the Small Medal. The Peninsular Cross, in cross pattée style, was awarded to those with four or more actions. The first four actions were marked on the arms of the cross, while further actions were marked with clasps.

When the medal was first established, a new one was issued for each action. In 1813 an order was created, instructing that only one medal be worn, and instituting the use of clasps for each successive award.[2] This was a new establishment of the bar tradition which was followed by all later medal awards. Another new development was the naming of the recipient on the rim of the medal.

The total of all styles awarded were 165 Peninsular Crosses and clasps, 88 Large Medals and clasps, and 596 Small Medals and clasps.[3] The highest award was given to the Duke of Wellington: a Cross with nine bars for a total of 13 actions. It can be viewed on his uniform in the basement at Apsley House.


Following the Peninsular War, rules governing the award of the Order of the Bath were altered, allowing recognition for military commands, and the Medals and Crosses were discontinued.[4]

In 1847 the Military General Service Medal (MGSM) was authorised, to be retrospectively awarded to all surviving veterans of the campaigns, irrespective of rank. Holders of the gold medals, crosses or additional clasps were not eligible to claim identical clasps on the MGSM (or "silver medal").[4] The eligible engagements for the MGSM were identical, with the addition of Egypt.

The design of the cross is very similar to the later Victoria Cross[5] and is considered to have provided the inspiration.[6][7]

Available clasps

See also


  1. Gordon, p. 45
  2. The London Gazette: no. 16785. p. 1985. 5 October 1813. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  3. Gordon, p. 46
  4. 1 2 Gordon, p. 48
  5. Duckers, p. 12
  6. Iain Stewart (24 October 2007). "History of the Victoria Cross". Victoria
  7. Mark Simner. "Army Gold Cross". British Medals.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 16929. pp. 1730–1731. 27 August 1814.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 16887. pp. 835–837. 19 April 1814.
  10. 1 2 3 The London Gazette: no. 16934. pp. 1850–1854. 13 September 1814.


External links

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