A Collection of Medals for the Ashanti 1895-96 Expedition

Date of Auction: 25th June 2008

Sold for £5,800

Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

The important Ashanti 1895-96 expedition K.C.B., Southern Nigeria 1892 operations K.C.M.G. group of eleven awarded to Major-General Sir Francis Scott, Inspector-General of the Gold Coast Constabulary, who, command of two important expeditions aside, had earlier seen extensive action with the 42nd Highlanders and been wounded in the head in the Ashantee War 1873-74

The Most Honourable Order of The Bath
, K.C.B. (Military) Knight Commander’s insignia, comprising neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, hallmarks for London 1894, and breast star, silver, gold and enamel centre; The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, K.C.M.G. Knight Commander’s insignia, comprising neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel, and breast star, silver, gold and enamel centre; Crimea 1854-56, 3 clasps, Alma, Balaklava, Sebastopol (Captain F. C. Scott, 42nd Royal Highalnders), contemporary engraved naming; Indian Mutiny 1857-59, 1 clasp, Lucknow (Capt. F. C. Scott, 42nd Rl. Highlanders); Ashantee 1873-74, 2 clasps, Coomassie, 1892 (Major F. C. Scott, 42nd Highds., 1873-4); Ashanti Star 1896; Jubilee 1887, silver; Turkish Order of Medjidie, 5th class breast badge, silver, gold and enamel; Turkish Crimea 1855, Sardinian issue, together with a portrait miniature in oval gilt-metal glazed case, and an old leather case which once housed the recipient’s awards, the lid gilt embossed, ‘Lieut. Coll. F. C. Scott’, the K.C.B. and K.C.M.G. insignia added for display purposes, the Crimea Medal with refixed suspension claw and contact wear, good fine, the Turkish Crimea similarly worn, but otherwise generally very fine and better (12) £6000-8000

Footnote

Francis Cunningham Scott was born in India in August 1834, the eldest son of Carteret Scott, late of Balerno, Midlothian and Emily, a daughter of Admiral Francis Coffin.

Appointed an Ensign in the 42nd Highlanders in November 1842, he was advanced to Lieutenant shortly before witnessing active service in the Crimea 1854-55, when he was present at Alma and Balaklava, the siege and fall of Sebastopol, and in the expeditions to Kertch and Yenikale - and awarded the Turkish Order of Medjidie, 5th class. Having then been advanced to Captain, he witnessed extensive action in the Indian Mutiny, being present in the battle at Cawnpore on 6 December 1857, several subsequent skirmishes, and the siege and fall of Lucknow, including the assault on the Martiniere and Bank’s Bungalow. He was afterwards present in the attack on Fort Rooyiah and at the capture of Bareilly.

Advanced to Major in March 1868, Scott next witnessed active service in the Ashantee War 1873-74, picking up a head wound in the battle at Ordahsu, but nonetheless taking command of the 42nd at the capture of Coomassie - he then commanded the rear-guard after that place had been destroyed by fire. Mentioned in despatches and awarded the C.B., he was also given the Brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel. Having then been appointed a member of H.M’s Gentlemen-at-Arms, Scott was placed on the Retired List in the rank of Colonel in July 1881, but retained his links with the military establishment as Colonel of the 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment and also served as a J.P. for Midlothian.

In 1891, however, he returned to West Africa as Inspector-General of the Gold Coast Constabulary and it was in this capacity - and later as a Major-General - that he would be given command of two major expeditions, the first of them in the following year, against the rebellious Jebus in Southern Nigeria, and the second against the Ashantis in 1895-96.

The former expedition, which arose when the Jebus refused to keep their roads open to foreigners, took place in May 1892, Scott commanding a force of 55 men of the West India Regiment, 344 Lagos and Gold Coast Hausas, a levee of 100 Ibadan warriors and 343 carriers, the whole under the command of 11 officers - and supported by three 7-pounder guns, a brace of Nordenfeldts and a maxim. Embarked at Lagos aboard assorted yachts, tugs, steam launches and canoes, the force made its way down the Lagos Lagoon and landed at Epe, some 30 miles distant, where a further 186 carriers were collected. Heavy fighting ensued in the thick forest and a protracted engagement ensued at the crossing of the Yemoji River, British casualties amounting to two officers wounded, and five other ranks killed and 40 wounded, while the Jebus claimed to have lost 17 chiefs and around 1000 men killed. Scott was appointed K.C.M.G.

Then in 1895, as relations with the Ashantis deteriorated amidst claims of human sacrifice, he was once more called upon to lead a punitive expedition, this time in the rank of Major-General. Little else need be added here about such a well-recorded chapter of Empire - not least in George Musgrave’s To Kumassi with Scott, which was published in London in 1896 - but for the record he and his 2000-strong force traversed some 140 miles of jungle and swamp ‘fraught with perils more to be dreaded then the arms of the savage Ashantis’, and, as a result, lost numerous men to fever and dysentery - among them Queen Victoria’s son-in-law, Prince Henry of Battenberg, whose widow is said to have designed the Ashanti Star. And when, at length, the capital Kumassi was reached, King Prempeh and his warriors had no wish to risk repeating the outcome of the 1873-74 operations. When, cringing and trembling, Prempeh stood before Scott, the latter addressed a few words to him via an interpreter: ‘Tell him, I am glad to see him here, and that there has been no fighting. I think he and his people have shown very good sense in not resisting the advance of the Queen’s forces. I don’t want any of those noises or disturbances at night, as we had when I was here 22 years ago in the last war. He must tell his people to bring things and form a market, and everything will be paid for. The town must be kept clean ... We want good order, and I have told my people that they must not plunder anyone. The Governor, who is Her Majesty’s representative, will be here tomorrow. He will arrange a day of palaver, and you must take your submission to him in native custom. That is all. I wish you a good evening.’

As it transpired, the Governor was not quite so well disposed, and King Prempeh and all his court were taken to the Gold Coast capital and thence deported. For his own part, Scott received the thanks of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Secretary of State for War, and the Commander-in-Chief, and was appointed K.C.B., and shortly afterwards became Commandant of Local Forces and Inspector-General of Police in Trinidad and Tobago. He died suddenly, back in London, in June 1902, aged 67 years; sold with an early edition of Musgrave’s To Kumassi with Scott.