Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (9 & 10 May 2018)

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Date of Auction: 9th & 10th May 2018

Sold for £7,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

Six: Paymaster Captain T. J. Stovin, Royal Navy, one of only nine British recipients entitled to a subsequent East & West Africa clasp to the Ashantee Medal of 1873-74

Ashantee 1873-74, 1 clasp, Benin 1897 (T. J. Stovin, Clerk R.N., H.M.S. Barracouta, 73-74); Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, 1 clasp, Suakin 1885 (T. J. Stovin, Asst. Paymr. R.N. H.M.S. Starling.); British War Medal (Paymr. Capt. T. J. Stovin. R.N.); Khedive's Star 1884-6; Order of the Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, Sultan Hamad, 4th class breast badge, second type with portrait of the Sultan, silver-gilt and enamels, with rosette, chips to the enamel and several ball-points bent; Order of the Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, silver-gilt Medal of the Order, obverse with Tughra of Sultan Hamad, reverse plain, this last the only known such example of this award, unless otherwise described, good very fine, an exceptionally rare and unique group (6) £5000-6000


Provenance: The Douglas-Morris Collection of Naval Medals, Dix Noonan Webb, February 1997.

Only 9 Europeans and 2 Kroomen served in both the Ashantee War of 1873-74 and a later campaign which qualified for a clasp to be added to their original Ashantee medal.

Thomas Stovin was born in Crogshaven, County Cork, Ireland, on 27 December 1855, and joined the Royal Navy as an Assistant Clerk aboard H.M.S. Pearl on 15 January 1873. Whilst on loan to Barracouta he took part in the Ashantee War of 1873 and received the medal without clasp. On rejoining Pearl he was promoted to Clerk on 15 January 1874 and to Assistant Paymaster on 13 January 1877. He subsequently served in this rank aboard Temeraire (June 1877), Valiant (January 1881) and Starling (August 1882) in which ship he was present during the operations at Suakin 1884-85. He was next appointed to Duke of Wellington (November 1886), Revenge (February 1887), and Hearty (January 1889). Whilst in the latter vessel he was promoted to Paymaster on 10 November 1890 and in this rank he next joined Ringarooma (February 1891), Medea (July 1894), and Philomel (October 1894). During service in the latter vessel he was present at the bombardment and capture of the Sultan of Zanzibar's palace on 27 August 1896. He was promoted to Staff Paymaster on 10 November 1896.

He served in the punitive Naval Expedition Commanded by Rear Admiral Rawson to punish the King of Benin in February 1897 for the massacre of a Political Expedition. He served as Commissariat Officer on Shore and was Mentioned in Despatches London Gazette 7 May 1897: Mr T. J. Stovin, Staff Paymaster of H.M.S. Philomel ‘was Commissariat Officer on shore and did exceedingly good work’. Being already in possession of the Ashantee Medal he was only awarded the clasp ‘Benin 1897’.

Stovin was next appointed to Vivid I (March 1898), Boscawen (July 1898), Medea (October 1898), Malabar (May 1901), and Fire Queen (June 1904). On promotion to Fleet Paymaster on 3 January 1905 he joined Ramilles (January 1905), Pembroke (January 1906), Tenedos (July 1906), and Pembroke (September 1906). He was seconded to the Coast Guard Service in February 1910 and promoted to Paymaster in Chief on 5 October 1910. He continued to serve in the Coast Guard Service until joining President on 13 November 1910 where he served until he retired in November 1913. He was recalled for War service at H.M.S. Pembroke ‘for Miscellaneous Duties’ with the Royal Fleet Reserve, and served in this capacity until demobilised in 1919, with the recently introduced new rank of Paymaster Captain. He was awarded the Greenwich Hospital Pension of £100 per annum from 8 July 1940, and died on 4 May 1948 due to the effects of pernicious anaemia.

Sold with an original cabinet photograph of the recipient in uniform and full research.