Tag Archives: Absent Minded Beggar

Thoughts of Mayors and Medals

I thought it was time for more from the junk box. We’ve covered coronation medals and other commemoratives so here is something a bit different.

This is a fund raising medal issued by the Borough of Newark to raise funds for the families of soldiers who fought in what they refer to as the Transvaal War, now generally known as the Boer War in the UK, though they have other names for it in South Africa. I won’t discuss the Boer War here, as it will take a lot of space and reflects no credit on the British.

As you can see, it is one step beyond the junk box and appears to have been buried at some point. It also looks like someone has attempted to put a hole through it at the top, probably to use it as a watch fob or wear it on a ribbon.

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Newark  Fund Raising Medal 1900 (Reverse)

They originally cost a shilling, with silver ones costing five shillings and a case costing sixpence extra. There were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in £1, in case you are a decimal baby.

As you can see from a careful look at the picture, they were made by Vaughtons of Birmingham.

It is the local equivalent of the Absent Minded Beggar medal, part of a massive Boer War fundraising effort.

The war served as something of a wake-up call to the British, when they got the runaround from a bunch of farmers. This meant that we called for volunteers and found that one in three was rejected due to the effects of poor diet. This would lead to the Education (Provision of Meals) Act (1906) because properly fed citizens were needed for the services. I would have thought it was counter-productive as fatter soldiers make bigger targets, but I suppose they need to be strong enough to march and carry things.

There’s a picture of F H Appleby here, with a truly inspiring soup strainer moustache, with further details here. He really was a busy man.

The spiritual descendent of this medal is the current Newark Patriotic Fund, which helps ex-servicemen and their families.