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Italy - British Crimean medal to Sardinian Troups

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Hello

Queen Victoria sent her Crimean campaign medal to her Allies, both French and Sardinian.

The Sardinian had the medals properly named to their recipients, which makes them particularly attractive. But some of the words, frequently shortened, require a better understanding of the Sardinian Army than I have. I would be grateful for information about the following :

One such medal is named to a Savoyan artilleryman with the rank indication : BASSo CANNe . Obviously a guner, but would that be a "private"?.

An other medal, reads : 8o CUNEO SOLo LAUGERO PIETRO. I wonder what CUNEO stands for. What kind of unit would that be ?

Both medals bear several clasps, some British, others possibly French private manufactue. Both have the ALMA clasp. Would Sardinian troups have taken part in that battle, which I believe to have been one of the early ones. How about BALAKLAVA on the second of these medals?. They certainly look as if they had been worn with them.

As the story goes, the number of Crimean medals allotted to the Sardinians was insufficient to allow all the soldiers who would have deserved it to receive one. Hence the Sardinian Crimea medal which went to those who did not receive the British issue. I understand 20.000 men were sent to the Crimea under Marquis de La Marmora. The is the true number of British Crimean medal really given known ? They don't seem to come up very often.

Does anyone have an idea how scarce they might be ?

Every bit of information will be gratefully received.

Best regards to everyone

Veteran

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Hmmm..this goes to show that I have been far too dependent upon British Battles and Medals.

I had NO idea that Sardinian Crimean medals were named or even issued.

However, I just spent an enjoyable 4 hours researching this question on the British medals forum and found-nothing-

However, there is a Sardinian order of battle for the Crimea out there.

Any Italian speakers out there?

Claudio? Claudio?

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Hello,

I know of British Crimean Medals awarded to Sardinian officers, NCOs and Other Ranks with official naming. Similarly to its British counterpart, the Sardinian Crimea Medal was also named, but unnamed, awarded pieces do exist.

8o Cuneo: I think that it means "8th Regiment of the Cuneo Brigade" (Cuneo is a city in Piedmont and brigades or divisions took their name from the city where such units were raised).

"SOL.o" means "SOLDATO" or SOLDIER

"BASSo CANNe" surely is connected to artillery, but I don't have any idea of the proper meaning.

In my collection I have the British Crimea Medal awarded to General Giovanni Durando. The naming is "LUOG.TE G.LE GIOVANNI DURANDO", impressed with the typical british naming, meaning "LUOGOTENENTE GENERALE GIOVANNI DURANDO" (Lieutenant General ...). It doesn't have any bar, as appearing in the pictures of him wearing the medal.

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

Edited by Elmar Lang

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Hello,

I know of British Crimean Medals awarded to Sardinian officers, NCOs and Other Ranks with official naming. Similarly to its British counterpart, the Sardinian Crimea Medal was also named, but unnamed, awarded pieces do exist.

8o Cuneo: I think that it means "8th Regiment of the Cuneo Brigade" (Cuneo is a city in Piedmont and brigades or divisions took their name from the city where such units were raised).

"SOL.o" means "SOLDATO" or SOLDIER

"BASSo CANNe" surely is connected to artillery, but I don't have any idea of the proper meaning.

In my collection I have the British Crimea Medal awarded to General Giovanni Durando. The naming is "LUOG.TE G.LE GIOVANNI DURANDO", impressed with the typical british naming, meaning "LUOGOTENENTE GENERALE GIOVANNI DURANDO" (Lieutenant General ...). It doesn't have any bar, as appearing in the pictures of him wearing the medal.

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

Thanks Elmer

Yours is an outstanding medal ! Congratulations.

Your suggestion that CUNEO might refer to the town is convincing. Could it be translated as "the 8th (Cuneo) Infantry Regiment" for instance ? How about the ALMA clasp ?

Are there any records mentioning the numbers of British Crimean ?

Ulsterman, the Sardinian Crimea medal seems to have been known to only a small number of collectors. It is very scarce, but an un-name specimen was sold by DNW - n°616 - a few days ago in London It certainly attracted the attention of a few well healed connoiseers since it sold for £850 hammer price (£1.045 with costs) for an estimate of ...£300/400. It was issued to Sardinian troups with the same ribbon as the British issue, in order to show the award was given for the same reasons.

Ercole ERCOLI states gives no indication at to the number of Sardinian Crimeans awarded. The number must have been quite small.

Regards

Veteran

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Hello,

the Sardinian expedition corps started from Genoa on April 25. 1855 arriving in Crimea on May 14., also the Piedmonteses troops didn't have taken part in the combat of Alma and Balaklava. They combat successfully in the battle of Tchernaja River (16.08.1855) and at the Traktir bridge (06.09.1855).

Following Brambilla there are no clasps on English Crimean Medals awarded to the Sardinian troops.

Regards

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Thank you Montenotte for this excellent information. It recoops my own impressions. I knew the Piemontese had fought with distinction alongside the French in both these battles, for which no British clasp was issued, since the Queen's men had not taken part. I recently bought a Crimean to a Frenchman with the bar TRAKTIR.

I therefore suppose any claps to Crimean medals named to Piemontese troups will have been added posteriorly.

Incidentally, I also have a decidedly Savoyan medal named to : 1er REGIMENT. MAGNIN JOSEPH without clasp. I understand this 1rst Regiment was mostly drawn from the Savoie. Am I right.

Thank you again.

Best regards

Veteran

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Fascinating, fascinating thread!!

Since this started I have spent the better part of two days reading (on-line) reading all sorts of odd bits (The Crimean war research society is very good). The Sardinian 15,000+ strong contribution to the war seems to be almost completely ignored in the English speaking world. This speaks volumes about the circular nature of research and primary sources.

Only the great Nafziger has a Sardinian order-of-battle (which I have ordered) and the Italian contributions, along with casualties, uniforms and equipment are fascinating and very, very obscure.

I find NO mention of Sardinian troops at Balaclava, but I had no notion that more than 50% of the troops on the battlefield were French and Turkish.

Even more interestingly, there were a LARGE number of Napoleonic (esp. Waterloo) veterans OF BOTH SIDES at the battle. One of the commanders of the French Chasseurs picquets started his career as a lancer at Waterloo.

If I was going back to do a PHD. in history somewhere, this would be my topic. :cheers:

Below is a French naval officer named Henri Saillard @ 1870. Note his British Crimea at the end of his medal bar. He served in Mexico too.

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Hello,

Incidentally, I also have a decidedly Savoyan medal named to : 1er REGIMENT. MAGNIN JOSEPH without clasp. I understand this 1rst Regiment was mostly drawn from the Savoie. Am I right.

indeed the 1st Regiment Infantry belonged to the Brigata Savoia (Savoy Brigade) that was commanded by Major General Comte Humbert Jaillet de Saint-Cergues.

Regards

Montenotte

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Hi Jeff,

Actually I can't contribute so much in this thread, since Elmar already translated very accurately all the data you have mentioned.

I can add a couple of interesting websites, but are unfortunately (for you) in Italian:

http://www.collezioni-f.it/museo/crimea/crimea.html

Here an interesting link explaining the difference and origin of ranks name... evidently BASSo (basso meaning low) refers to a low rank (or Enlisted Man):

http://www.vecio.it/cms/node/439

I am afraid I don't have a lot more to add... :blush:

Ciao,

Claudio

Edited by Claudio

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I had hoped I could show a picture of the Sardinian Crimea campaign medal, but this seems to be beyond my technical ability. Sorry !

Since this thread has such well informed participants, I wonder if I could get further information about the medal I have which is named on its edge :

12o R Sto PELLEGRIN Gni Bta

I read it as 12th Regiment Sto (sergeant ?) PELLEGRIN (obviously a man from the french speaking province of Savoya) Gni (grenadieri ?) Bataillon ?

Thank you for your help and advice.

Veteran

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Hello Veteran,

the name impressed on the edge of your medal means: 12° Reggimento Soldato Pellegrin Giovanni Battista (12th Regiment Soldier Pellegrin John Baptist).

Pellegrin is a family name quite common in the Venetian region also.

I find this thread most interesting!

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

Edited by Elmar Lang

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Thank you very much Elmar.

I now have a very good translation of the naming of this medal. Very impressed with the quality of response found on this website. I am now very curious to know how many of these Sardinian Crimea medals were issued.

Best regards

Veteran

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Well, according to my research (flounderings) about 18,000 Italian troops and naval personnel were involved in the Crimean war and this seems to jive with the 15,000 strong expeditionary force sent off. There were some replacements sent as well.

1,500 died of disease, 200-250 were KIA and @1,000+ were WIA.

One would presume @18,000 Italian medals?

They certainly seem rare and are THE most expensive Italian campaign medal extant ($650 in Vernons' Guide-OF 1990!).

Groups to infantry men (a few of whom later joined the imperial French army after Nice/Savoy was split between Italy and France in 1860) seem to include the Italian Unification medal, the Crimea medal, a British Crimean medal and a Turkish Crimea medal :cheers: .

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I had hoped I could show a picture of the Sardinian Crimea campaign medal, but this seems to be beyond my technical ability. Sorry !

Since this thread has such well informed participants, I wonder if I could get further information about the medal I have which is named on its edge :

12o R Sto PELLEGRIN Gni Bta

I read it as 12th Regiment Sto (sergeant ?) PELLEGRIN (obviously a man from the french speaking province of Savoya) Gni (grenadieri ?) Bataillon ?

Thank you for your help and advice.

Veteran

If I can help you post the picture, I'd be happy to try. Just email it to me.

Best,

Hugh

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Well, according to my research (flounderings) about 20,000 Italian troops and naval personnel were involved in the Crimean war and this seems to jive with the 15,000 strong expeditionary force sent off. On would presume @20,000 Italian medals? they certainly seem rare and are THE most expensive Italian campaign medal extant ($650 in Vernons' Guide-OF 1990!).

Groups to infantry men (a few of whom later joined the imperial French army after Nice/Savoy was split between Italy and France in 1860) seem to include the Italian Unification medal, the Crimea medal, a British Crimean medal and a Turkish Crimea medal :cheers: .

Ulsterman,

I had forgotten Vernon's evaluation. It would probably apply to the Sardinian Crimea medal. It agrees with the price realised at DNW a fortnight ago for an un-named specimen.

If 15.000 Sardinian troups went to the Crimea, that should be the maximum number of British medals sent out. But it must have been less, since King Victor-Emmanuel II had to coin a complement of medals for all his men to have one. Would a count such as 10.000/12.000 British medals + 3.000/5.000 Sardinian strikes sound reasonnable ?

As a final thought, I doubt that any Italian group could have included both the British and the Sardinian issues for the Crimean. It should be one or the other, don't you think?

A very enjoyable thread.

Best regards

Veteran

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Honestly, I do not know.

I thought they were issued together.

According to Haywards' article (I believe he is a member here) on Crimean medals, about 235,000 British Crimean medals were sent to the Turks, French and Sardinians for distribution.

A total of 380,000 Crimean medals were struck. 330,000 were struck by the Royal Mint and 50,000 by a contractor.

The medals sent to the Allies were NOT named. They were sent @ 1855.

It is estimated that @ 190.000-200,000 medals were given to the French-with awards to them starting @ 1856.

Back to the research mines.

Italian medals are a mystery.

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It just gets more interesting. Apparently there were @ 18,500 Italians in the Crimea and several hundred more aboard warships.

see here for the Sardinian order of battle:

http://marksrussianmilitaryhistory.info/Sardinia1854.htm

I found A portrait on-line that seems to show an Italian officer wearing ALL THREE campaign medals (the British one, no clasps, in last place )

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Hello,

I agree that Italian medals can be a mystery (making them a fascinating field of research and collection), but the studies of von Heyden, Ercoli and the definitive work of A. Brambilla (soon, we'll see the 2nd fully revised and enlarged edition), can give much light in the obscurity.

It results that the Sardinian Crimea Medal was awarded as a "complement" to those who didn't receive the British issue. It appears both named and unnamed. This means why it's so rare.

I've also known that the British Crimea medal was awarded unnamed to foreigners, but in my opinion the piece in my collection (awarded to General Durando) is named in the typical British style of impression: could it be that high ranking commanders were issued with named pieces?

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

Edited by Elmar Lang

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It appears so. Haywards' article is specific in that the Crimean medals were unnamed. However, ALL of the British Crimean medals were originally issued unnamed. Many were later named either by the regiment or otherwise. The article also states that casualties were impressed.

Victoria seems to have awarded the medals at Horse Guards in May, 1855 and they arrived in the Crimea itself in September, 1855-just before Sevastopol fell.

Do you have a picture of the Italian medal at all Elmar?

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Here's a picture of mine

ITALY - SARDINIA - Crimea Medal 1855 VF

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Can't remember which is the reverse.

H

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Sorry, may have double posted.

Un-named, by the way.

H

Edited by Hugh

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A fine piece indeed, but it's the Turkish medal of the type awarded to the Sardinian troops.

Best wishes,

Elmar Lang

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Hugh

That beautiful picture you show is the TURKISH Crimean campaign medal, with the special reverse intended to be awarded to Sardinian troups. The Italian flag is shown to the right of the Turkish flag and the legend is in Italian : LA CRIMEA.

Two other such medals exist for the British (legend : CRIMEA) and for the French (LA CRIMEE). The appropriate flags in the position of the Italian flag on your specimen.

All three types have a pinkish-red ribbon with green borders.

The Sardinian Crimean campaign medal shows the left profile of King Vittorio Emmanuelle II on the obverse and the legend CRIMEA 1854-1855 on the reverse.

The ribbon is identical to the British Crimean medal light blue with yellow borders.

I am truly sorry I cannot get the picture on this thread.

Regards

Veteran

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Thank you both for your help. I guess I'm just getting old, but I now remember that, years ago, I had this listed as Turkish Crimea. I suppose I lost track over the years, saw the Italian legend, and mentally changed his passport. The Sultan's tughra on the back should have brought me back to reality. Which is the obverse for my medal?

Elmar - do you have a digital picture of yours? Surely among the three of us we can figure this out.

And does someone have pictures of the French medal?

Hugh

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