Archived Lot

Date of Auction: 24th November 2015

Sold for £17,000

Estimate: £10,000 - £12,000

Lieutenant John Wardle, R.N., whose four-clasp medal represents a fine record of naval activity in the West Indies

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 4 clasps, Martinique [480], Pompee 17 June 1809 [21], 13 Dec Boat Service 1809 [8], Guadaloupe [475] (John Wardle, Actg. Lieut. R.N.) small abrasion behind truncation of bust, otherwise extremely fine


Provenance: ‘Jubilee’ Collection, Glendining’s, May 1992.

Martinique [480 issued] - including 11 officers and 37 men of the Pompée.

Pompee 17 June 1809 [21 issued] - the Douglas-Morris roll identifies a further 26 recipients who are ‘verified aboard but not on roll’. Numismatic evidence has clearly shown that many, but not all, of these did receive this clasp. Each must be treated on its own merit.

13 Dec Boat Service 1809 [8 issued] - Jervis Cooke, 2nd Lieutenant R.M.; William Hole, Midshipman (Known); John D. Mercer, Lieutenant R.N. (National Maritime Museum); Daniel Murrey, Boatswain (Known); Thomas Pinto, Commander R.N. (Known); John Ross, A.B.; John G. Ruel, 1st Lieutenant R.M. (Royal Marines Museum). To this number must be added Benjamin Bull, A.B. (Royal Naval Museum), and the present example.

Guadaloupe [475 issued] - including 3 officers and 2 men of the Pultusk, to which must be added the present example.

All rolls confirm the recipient’s entitlement to the Martinique and Guadaloupe clasps, with the Douglas-Morris roll also confirming the Pompee award as ‘verified aboard but not on roll’. Whilst there is no confirmation of the Boat Service clasp in the Admiralty Claimants’ list or other rolls, the muster books for for H.M.S. Pultusk (ADM 37/3126) clearly verify Wardle’s presence in her on 13 December 1809, the date of the action in question. Wardle’s entry in O’Byrne’s Naval Biographical Dictionary offers additional confirmation of his last-minute transfer to Pultusk in time for the Boat Service operation and therefore, by implication, the subsequent award of this four-clasp medal. Sold with research including muster details and relevant copied entries from ADM 171/8.

John Wardle entered the Navy as an Able Seaman aboard the Galykheid, employed first off the Texel under the Flag of Rear-Admiral Edward Thornborough, and then in the Humber, as a guard ship. In March 1805, he joined the Agincourt, and in March 1808, after having served in the Channel and the North Sea, and brought home a convoy from St Helena, he joined Pompée as Master’s Mate, a rating he had attained in December 1806. In her he served off off Rochefort, and then sailed for the West Indies, where, having been present at the capture of Martinique in February 1809, he took part in the celebrated capture of the French ship-of-the-line D’Hautpoul on 17 April (See Lot 39 for further details of this capture). On 7 December that year Wardle was nominated Acting-Lieutenant of the sloop Poltusk by Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane who, having hoisted his flag in Pompée, then ordered the boat service operation on 13 December to capture the French corvette Nisus lying in Hayes Harbour, Guadaloupe. He afterwards assisted at the capture of Guadaloupe in February 1810, and was superseded in the following April. He received his official promotion to Lieutenant on 10 September 1810 and subsequently served in the Royalist and Dreadnought, on the Home and Mediterranean stations. On 4 May 1812 he joined the Union 98 and took part in Sir Edward Pellew’s partial engagements with the French Toulon fleet on 5 November 1813 and 13 February 1814. Placed on half-pay in July 1814, he saw no further service afloat.