Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (26 March 2009)

Date of Auction: 26th March 2009


Estimate: £80 - £100

Wooldridge Medal 1809, 40mm., gilt metal facsimile, obverse, a British fireship in flames in the act of breaking a boom; reverse, inscribed in raised letters, ‘Captain James Wooldridge led the British Fire Ships when four French sail of the line were burnt under their own batteries in Aix Roads’, with swivel post and ring suspension, good very fine £80-100


On the night of 11 April, 1809, an attempt was made to destroy the French squadron at anchor in Aix Road by means of 12 fireships. Captain James Wooldridge, commanding the fireship Mediator, broke through the boom protecting the French ships, and in remaining with his ship sustained severe injuries when she exploded. Several French ships were burnt in the attack and others ran aground. The main action for which the clasp ‘Basque Roads’ was awarded, was fought the next day. For his brave action, Captain Wooldridge was awarded a special gold medal (similar to the above) in 1812 (Ref. British Battles and Medals, 1988 edition, p.31).