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A rare 1812 war medal has made its way home. It belonged to Lieutenant Andrew Bulger, a native born Newfoundlander with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The regiment museum has acquired the naval general service medal, significant because of the rarity of 1812 artifacts, and because it's the only naval medal to be awarded for action at the Great Lakes. Bulger served as a lieutenant and later as a captain with the Regiment for 12 years. After enlisting at the age of 14, he fought in many key battles. Chris Butt says the medal was lost for years, with no one even knowing it existed. Butt says it has made quite the journey. Butt says the medal was found by an antique dealer in Western Canada who turned it over to a dealer in Great Britain who then put it up for sale. That's when the Canadian Cultural Heritage Properties people heard about it and objected. The medal was then returned to Canada. Butt was able to track down the dealer who had the medal and make a strong case that the proper place for it was in Newfoundland. Butt says the medal marks the first 1812 artifact in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum. He says Bulger also received an 1812 medal for his army service which is still out there somewhere. Laughing, he says one day maybe someone will find it. For an image of the medal and to read the complete news article: http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=37183&latest=1

Jean-Paul

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Jean-Paul

All correct. The Naval general service medal was authorized in 1847 and issued in 1848 but applied to actions going back to the 1780s. What's more, anyone who felt himself qualified for a medal and bar - there were about 200 bars - had to APPLY for it. That meant, especially for the older actions, only literate men, mostly officers, who read the London Gazette and heard of the medal, would have applied. In addition, many of the bars were for single ship actions or small boar raids, where there may have been as few as 50 participants. There are at least 2 or 3 bars for which no one applied.

Lieutenant Andrew Bulger was the only recipient of the bar "3RD & 6TH SEPTEMBER 1814" to the NGS. With Lt Miller Worseley, Royal Navy, a few sailors and about 50 men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, Bulger's unit, he attacked the American schooner Tigress. She was at anchor in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and the British troops rowed up on her in the night and boarded, with only minor casualties. Two days later they sailed Tigress alongside the anchored US schooner Scorpion at dawn and repeated the feat.

Bulger, Worseley and their men were mentioned in despatches and Bulger used the facts when he petitioned for a Captain's half pay [pension] after the War of 1812, even though he had not been promoted Captain. In fact, he was the only British officer to start AND end the war as a lieutenant. All the others died or were promoted while he, despite a very good record, was not, almost certainly due to his actions in 1814 down ion the Mississippi, where he embarrassed His Majesty's government, but that's another story!

Bulger also received the Military General Service Medal with bars "DETROIT" and "CHRYSTLER'S FARM". The Newfoundlanders served at Detroit in 1812 and were mentioned in despatches by General Brock. In 1813 Bulger was serving on a small flotilla of what the British called 'mosquito boats' [small gunboats] which shadowed the US army which invaded Lower Canada en route to Montreal and at least the officer on those boats qualified for the bar.

I understand from a member of the Newfoundland Reg't Museum's board that they paid about $15,000 Cdn for the medal.

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Thanks for sharing this information. It was worth every penny and I'm glad to see it's where it will be taken care of and displayed for all to see.

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Peter,

Thank you for the added and informative information on this medal and the man behind the medal. It's a shame that his medals have been separated. Let's hope that one day they will be reunited.

Jean-Paul

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Hi Jean-Paul,

Thanks for an interesting and informative post.

I am assuming that the CCHP people "objected" but never offered to purchase the medal from the dealer in the UK? I suppose that's typical.

Bottom line is that "all's well that ends well".

I'm glad it is back in Canada.

Regards

Brian

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You're probably correct, Brian. When De Saleberry's MGS went on sale in Canada, several decades ago now, an Ottawa medal dealer -Gene Ursuall - did a whip round among collectors to get the necessary funds. I believe the National War Museum's total aquisitions budget that year was under $75,000, which was about what that one item went for I think. :(

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I was taking a chance with such a blunt statement and I'm glad no one "called" me on it. The problem is not with these organizations but with the governing bodies who will spend millions on a study of moose droppings (I just made that up, surely there is no such study) rather than perserving our Canadian heritage. When I become Prime Minister ... :whistle:

I am a strong supporter of the private collector but some items really should go to museums so that as many people as possible can view them.

The late Mr. Ursuall is to be commended on his efforts to secure De Saleberry's MGS for the MWM. For the medal collectors who just might be reading this post and not know about this dealer, his wife Tanya continues with the business and her site can be found at, Medals of War, through your search engine (Google for example). I highly recommend this dealer.

Regards

Brian

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