A Small Group of Rare and Important Military General Service Medals

Date of Auction: 14th April 2021

Sold for £20,000

Estimate: £12,000 - £16,000

The excessively rare MGS with ‘Benevente’ clasp awarded to Lieutenant-General John Chester, who was present in the action with Eveleigh’s C Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and was one of only two officers to receive this clasp, Captain Eveleigh himself being the other recipient, whose medal is in the Royal Artillery museum

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Benevente (J. Chester, 2nd Capt. R. Arty.) nearly extremely fine £12,000-£16,000


The single-action ‘Benevente’ clasp was issued to just 2 Royal Horse Artillery officers and 10 men from the 7th, 10th and 18th Light Dragoons.

John Chester was born at Chicheley, Newport Pagnall, Buckinghamshire, on 3 August 1779, son of Charles Chester and Catherine Legge. He was appointed a Gentleman Cadet on 12 October 1795, and gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on 29 April 1798; Lieutenant, 6 October 1799; 2nd Captain, 29 December 1805; Captain, 7 October 1813; Brevet Major, 12 August 1819; Lieutenant-Colonel, 3 September 1831; Colonel, 9 November 1846; Major-General, 20 June 1854; Lieutenant-General, 4 February 1857.

In September 1779, Chester accompanied his battery to Holland under the command of the Duke of York, and was engaged in the action near Bergen-op-Zoom on 2 October. His promotion to Lieutenant came just 4 days later. The years 1800 to 1806 found Chester on duty in England, where he served in “B” Troop R.H.A. from 1803 to 1805. He was promoted to 2nd Captain in “I” Troop R.H.A. in December 1805, and joined “C” Troop R.H.A. in 1806, under the command of Captain Henry Eveleigh, who later rose to the rank of General and served as Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery.

Lieutenant-General Chester served in Holland in 1799, and was present in the action near Bergen on 2nd October, under the Command of His Royal Highness the Duke of York. He served also in the campaign of 1808-09 in Spain, including the action at Benevente in Spain, December 1808, under the Command of Sir John Moore, and also at Villa Franca and Lugo on the retreat to Corunna. ‘He has received the War Medal with one Clasp for Benevente’ (Hart’s Army List refers). Chester also served in Canada between July 1824 and August 1825. He retired on full pay in April 1847, and died at Ashtead, Surrey, on 19 May 1857. There is a memorial tablet to him in St Lawrence’s Church, Chicheley, Buckinghamshire.