Our medal collection contains military medals, commemorative medallions and life-saving medals all with local connections.

One of our earliest military medals is the Trafalgar medal (1805) given to George Wilson who sailed on ‘The Revenge’ under Captain Moorsom and our latest relate to the Great War of 1939-45. One particular group relate to the Hurley family which span several generations starting with the Indian Mutiny of 1857 – 1858, and go on to include the Boer War, First and Second World Wars. The family all served in the Royal Artillery. These medals are accompanied by letters and photographs which give a insight of this particular family’s military history.

Trafalgar Medal Medals
Trafalgar Medal Military Cross, British War Medal,
Victory Medal & Croix de Guerre

There are also life-saving medals such as one belonging to Henry Freeman the sole survivor of the 1861 disaster. On 9th February 1861 one particular gale, that had been blowing for several days, drove several ships ashore including the schooner Gamma, the Brig Utility and the schooner Roe. The Whitby life-boat was launched on each occasion and succesfully rescued the crews. However the schooner Merchant also ran ashore and this time the lifeboat capsized killing 12 men leaving only one survivor, Henry Freeman, who was awarded the R.N.L.I’s silver medal.

We also have a gold medal presented to Capt. Thomas Thistle of the SS Eric by the president of the U.S.A. in recognition for his part in the rescue of the captain and crew of the american schooner Bertram N White in December 1898. Captained by Capt. Kelley of Jonesport in Maine, the schooner was on passage from Jacksonville to Philadelphia with a cargo of lumber and was wrecked in a hurricane.

Commemorative medallions in the collection relate to such things as the opening of Whitby’s railways, bridges, award of Maundy money etc and in one case the gift of a cigarette case given to Robert Miller by Baden Powell in 1914. Robert Miller was a King’s scout who lost his leg in the bombardment of Whitby whilst acting as a message runner on 16th December 1914 and of whom Baden Powell stated “he holds the doubtful honour of being the first scout wounded in Defence of his Country”. See the display in the Museum for further details including 2 telegrams from Baden Powell.

Robert Miller Maundy money
Cigarette case given to Robert Miller
by Baden Powell in 1914
Royal Maundy Money given to
Mrs M E Usher in 1972