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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 7

'In the actual fighting there was no ship which covered herself with greater distinction.'

The Trafalgar Roll showers praise on Royal Sovereign.

The important Naval General Service Medal awarded to Coxswain and Yeoman of the Powder Room J. Gibson, Royal Navy

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 2 clasps, Trafalgar, Martinique (James Gibson), edge bruise, darkly toned, good very fine

Dix, 1986.

James Gibson was born in 1783 and appears to have joined the Navy as a Landsman aboard Veteran in August 1804. He transferred two months later to the Agamemnon, and in September 1805, to Royal Sovereign.

The Royal Sovereign carried the flag of the second-in-command, Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Colingwood, with Edward Rotherham as Captain, and led the Lee column at Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. She was the first ship to open fire on that famous day. The Trafalgar Roll states:

'In the actual fighting there was no ship which covered herself with greater distinction. For a time she was engaged single-handed with several of the enemy’s ships, before tackling Alava’s flagship, the Santa-Ana.'

Having seen her engage Santa-Ana Nelson remarked:

'See how that noble fellow Collingwood carries his ship into action!'

At around the same moment, Collingwood remarked to Captain Edward Rotheram:

'What would Nelson give to be here?'

Her losses amounted to 144, including 14 officers killed and wounded, and she was taken in tow by Euryalus after the battle.

Gibson joined Penelope in December 1805 and was rated Ordinary Seaman from November 1806. He was advanced to Yeoman of the Powder Room in November 1811, and transferred to Cyane in February 1812. Advanced to Coxswain in December of the same year, he remained in this vessel until March 1814 when he joined his last ship, the Ister, in which he served until 31 August 1815.

A unique name upon the rolls. Of the 92 from Royal Sovereign to claim the 'Trafalgar' clasp, just two added the 'Martinique' clasp.

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