Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria, to include the Brian Ritchie Collection (Part I) (17 September 2004)

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Date of Auction: 17th September 2004

Sold for £110

Estimate: £70 - £90

21st Anniversary of the Volunteer Movement 1881, by N. Macphail after N. Patton, obverse: crowned, veiled and draped bust of Queen Victoria almost facing, the letters ‘V’ and ‘R’ to ether side, with inscription, ‘XXI Anniversary of the Volunteer Movement MDCCCLXXXI’; reverse: St. Michael with sword and shield, with three armed knights representing England, Scotland and Ireland, protecting a woman with children, above, ‘Pro aris et focis’ (For faith and home) (Captain Samuel Camblen, 1st Vol. Bde. S.D.R.A. enrolled 24-2-68), 63.5mm., silver, ref: B.H.M. 3104; Eimer 1682, slight edge bruising, good very fine £70-90


Volunteers for home defence had been enrolled in great numbers throughout the British Isles during the time of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) when the threat of invasion was very real. It was during the reign of another Napoleon (III) that relations with France again deteriorated to such an extent that invasion again was a distinct possibility. As a consequence of this, numerous Volunteer Corps were formed around the country under the jurisdiction of the Lords-Lieutenant of the Counties. Official sanction for the formations came on 12 May 1859, in the War Office Circular, which authorised the raising of Volunteer Corps as governed by the Act of 1804. The Volunteer Movement was immensely popular and in 1860, its first full year of existence, it had an enrolled strength of 119,146. At its height, in 1900, it numbered over 277,000 enrolled men. It was replaced by the Territorial Force in 1908. During it’s existence, the movement maintained its readiness and smartness by numerous reviews, manoeuvres and shooting and sporting events; these often commemorated by medals.

On the occasion of the Movement’s 21st Anniversary in 1881, over 52,000 volunteers were reviewed by Queen Victoria at Windsor on 9 July, and on 25 August, a further 40,000 Scottish volunteers were reviewed in Queen’s Park, Edinburgh. The Times said of the former, ‘A magnificent success; the crowning achievement of the volunteer movement.’