Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (16 December 2003)

Date of Auction: 16th December 2003

Sold for £9,200

Estimate: £4,000 - £4,500

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 2 clasps, Trafalgar, Martinique (James Gibson) edge bruise, otherwise dark toned, good very fine £4000-4500


James Gibson is confirmed on the published medal rolls as a Landsman aboard the Royal Sovereign at Trafalgar and as an Ordinary Seaman aboard the Penelope at the capture of Martinique. He is the only man with these names on the entire roll.

James Gibson appears to have joined the Navy as a Landsman aboard the Veteran on 24 August 1804, aged 21. He transferred two months later to the Agamemnon, and on 22 September 1805, to the Royal Sovereign. He joined the Penelope on 22 December 1805, being rated as Ordinary Seaman from November 1806, and moved to the Dragon in September 1810. He was advanced in rate to ab in November 1810, to Yeoman of the Powder Room in November 1811, and transferred to the Cyane in February 1812. Advanced to Coxswain in December of the same year, he remained in this vessel until March 1814 when he joined his last ship, the Ister, in which he served until 31 August 1815.

The Royal Soveriegn carried the flag of the second-in-command, Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Colingwood, with Edward Rotherham as Captain, and led the Lee column at Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. In the actual fighting there was no ship which covered herself with greater distinction. For a time she was engaged single-handed with several of the enemy’s ships, before tackling Alava’s flagship, the Santa-Ana. Her losses amounted to 144, including 14 officers killed and wounded. Sold with further research including copies of medal roll entries and service history.