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Silver medal.(obverse) Two ships, the Kent to left in flames and the Cambria to right sending two boats to rescue sailors.
- Made in: British Isles
- (Europe,British Isles)
- Diameter: 48 millimetres
Inscription Content1 . MARCH . 1825.
Inscription CommentIn exergue.
DESTRUCTION OF THE
KENT EAST INDIAMAN
BY FIRE, IN THE BAY OF
BISCAY: AND THE RECEPTION
ON BOARD THE BRIG
WILLIAM COOK, MASTER,
OF 547 PERSONS,
Inscription CommentInscription within circle of legend.
Inscription ContentFROM FALMOUTH, TRURO, HELSTON, PENRYN, AND ST IVES.
Some examples of this medal have the recipient's name on the edge. The East Indiaman Kent of 1,350 tons was bound for India with officers and men of the 31st Regiment. Heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay on the 1st March occasioned the dropping of a lighted lamp into a hold and this set fire to some spirits which had escaped from a damaged cask. The flames spread rapidly and virtually engulfed the ship when the Cambria, a brig of 200 tons, came up and saved all but 82 lives. The crew of the Kent saved some of their passengers but seeing the seriousness of the flames refused to return for more. William Cook, the master of the Cambria assisted by thirty-six Cornish miners, refused to let the crew of the Kent return to his ship until all the passengers had been saved. The survivors were taken to Falmouth and were cared for by the inhabitants of that and the other towns mentioned on the reverse of the medal.
A full account of the tragedy is to be found in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for 1825, vol. I, p. 268.
Bibliography: Grueber, H. A., English Personal Medals for 1760, 'Numismatic Chronicle', third series vol. X, 1890/74; Milford Haven, Admiral the Marquis of. 'British Naval Medals', London, 1919, 578; Sandwich, The Rt. Hon. the Earl of. 'British and Foreign medals relating to naval and maritime affairs', 2nd ed., London, 1950, S/60.
- Commemoration of: Destruction of the East Indiaman Kent, 1824
The Bank of England loaned their Collection to the British Museum in 1865 wishing to make it accessible to the general public. This remained as a separate Collection until 1877 when the Bank Directors decided it would be more useful to the museum and the public if incorporated into the national collection. The Bank of England collection was therefore presented to the British Museum in 1877, any duplicates being sold to create a coins and medals purchase fund.
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Object reference number: CME6679
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