A Small Group of Rare and Important Military General Service Medals

Date of Auction: 14th April 2021

Sold for £20,000

Estimate: £14,000 - £18,000

The rare M.G.S. medal for ‘Chrystler’s Farm’ awarded to Lieutenant Hector Munro, 49th Foot, who carried the colours and was slightly wounded in this action, for which only 7 officers of the regiment lived to claim the clasp; he was later a Captain in the Royal Canadian Rifles and settled in Canada

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Chrystler’s Farm (Hector Munro, Lieut. 49th Foot) clasp face slightly bent at left side, small edge bruise, otherwise good very fine £14,000-£18,000

Footnote

Only seven M.G.S. medals with ‘Chrystler’s Farm’ clasp issued to officers of the 49th Foot, out of a total of only 17 officers to receive this clasp from British or Canadian regiments.

Hector Munro was born on 28 November 1796, and entered the army as an Ensign in the 89th Foot on 5 September 1811, aged 15 years 6 months. He served in North America from July 1812 until July 1816, initially with the 89th but was promoted to Lieutenant in the 49th Foot on 19 May 1813. He exchanged into the 103rd Foot in February 1817 and was placed on half-pay the following month. He was appointed Lieutenant in the Royal Newfoundland Veterans on 25 December 1838, transferred as Lieutenant to the Royal Canadian Rifles on 16 July 1841, and was promoted to Captain in that regiment on 14 December 1845. He exchanged to the 2nd Foot on 4 August 1848, and retired by the sale of his commission.

His services are given in Hart’s Army List thus: ‘Lieut. Munro served in the American war with the 49th Regt. and was present in the actions at Prescot, Chrystler’s Farm, and Plattsburg, besides various skirmishes.’ However, as can be seen from the following biographies, Munro carried the 49th colours and was wounded at Chrystler’s Farm. The latter was almost certainly a light wound as it is not mentioned in either the casualty lists or in his record of service; not uncommon for light and in particular non-pensionable wounds. Presumably Munro carried the colours after young Ensign Richmond had been wounded.

‘Captain Hector Munro, fourth son of Captain John of Kirkton, whose descendants now represent this family in the male line, was born on the 28th of November, 1796, and entered the army in 1811, in his sixteenth year, as an Ensign in the 89th Regiment. Two years later he was promoted Lieutenant in the 49th Regiment and carried the colours at Chrystler's Farm for which he received a medal and was wounded. He was also present at Plattsburg and Lundy's Lane. He was placed on half-pay on the 25th of March, 1817, from the 103rd Regiment, but on the 25th of December, 1838, was again placed on full pay as Lieutenant in the Royal Newfoundland Veterans, and when the Royal Canadian Rifles were formed he obtained a company in 1846. He soon after exchanged into the 2nd Regiment of Foot, or Queen's, and retired by sale of his commission in 1848. In 1859 he was appointed Surveyor of Customs at Galt, Ontario, an office which he held for the remainder of his life. He was for several years President of the Galt and Hamilton Highland Societies, and it was largely owing to his patriotic exertions that the fine and striking monument, on which his name appears as hon. secretary, was erected at Queenston to the memory of Sir Isaac Brock.’ (History of the Munros refers).

‘HECTOR MUNRO, deceased, father of L. H. R. Munro, was born at Dornoch, Scotland, in 1796. He came to Canada in 1812 with the 49th Regiment, being a brother officer of Sir Allan McNab. He participated in the battles of Chrystler’s Farm, Queenston Heights, and Lundy’s Lane, and carried the colours at Chrystler’s Farm. After the war he retired on half-pay; and, when again placed on full pay, was stationed at St. John’s, Newfoundland, from which he removed to Toronto, having been transferred to the Royal Canadian Rifles. He subsequently filled the position of Collector of Customs at Galt, until 1854, when he died, leaving eight children. His son, George T. Munro, who had been retired as a captain on half pay on the disbanding of the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment with his wife and child and youngest sister were lost at sea on one of the Allan vessels the Hazeldean, in 1870.’ (History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario, Volume 2, refers)

Hector Munro died at Galt, Ontario, on 12 February 1868. Sold with comprehensive research on CD.