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

Date of Auction: 16th December 2003

Sold for £980

Estimate: £600 - £700

China 1842 (C. C. Hewett, 1st Lieut. R.M. H.M.S. Blonde) very fine and a rare casualty £600-700


Charles Coleman Hewett/Hewitt was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Marines on 4 April 1832 and served aboard H.M.S. Thunderer from October 1833 to January 1837. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in November 1837 and appointed to the Herald in June 1838, being seconded to the Blonde for service during the First China War. Lieutenant Hewett was killed in the action leading to the capture of the City of Chapoo on 16 June 1842.

The Illustrated London News of 12th December 1842 carried the following account of the casualties incurred in this action: ‘Our casualties were numerous, two men being killed and twenty-five being wounded, but confined entirely to the naval arm of the expedition. The enemy are said to have lost about eighty killed and a proportionate number wounded. They served their guns extremely well, and some of the vessels (particularly her Majesty’s ship Blonde and the steamers Nemesis and Sesostris) suffered a great deal from the heavy destructive fire. The Nemesis’ rigging was cut to pieces; an artilleryman belonging to her was obliged to have his right arm amputated at the shoulder joint, another man belonging to the Pluto lost both his legs at the ankle, and Lt. Hewett R.M. of her Majesty’s ship Blonde lost his head by a round shot...’

Medals to Royal Marine recipients do not normally carry the ship’s name on the edge. However, this is one of at least two medals known to Royal Marine casualties issued with the ship’s name on the edge, both probably prepared and issued from the Royal Navy rolls rather than the Marine rolls. It is of further interest to note that Hewett’s ‘Marine’ issued medal is held by the Royal Marine Museum, having been part of a collection presented to the Royal Marines by Captain Portloch-Dadson, to commemorate his appointment as a Gentleman-Cadet on 6th August 1849.