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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 4

The Naval General Service Medal awarded to Corporal R. Jequist, Royal Marines who, during a career of over 23 years, saw action on anti-slavery missions in West Africa, during the Siege of St. Sebastian, and notably with the Alceste on her cruise in China & Korea in 1816-17

During that period she conveyed Lord Amherst to meet the Emperor of China, and thence took part in exploration patrols besides several hot actions on the Pearl River; she was wrecked in the Java Sea and attacked by Malay Pirates, before burning en route home; the crew were eventally returned home via St. Helena, during which he may have been presented to its most famous resident, the captive Emperor Napoleon

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 1 clasp, St Sebastian (Richard Jequist.), good very fine

Glendinning's, May 1963 & November 1970.
John Hayward, June 1976.

Richard Jequist/Jacques was born at Chippenham and was baptised on 2 March 1788 at St Andrew's Church, Chippenham. He joined the Royal Marines in May 1804 and throughout his career, his name was spelt in various ways, but he firstly served as a Private in 125th Company in No. 1 Division, thence Corporal in 53rd Company, before reverting to Private with 22nd & 41st Companies. Besides these shore postings, he saw wide service when posted afloat.

Whilst on the Elizabeth, he would have assisted in the evacuation of Sir John Moore’s army from Corunna, before she sailed for Brazil to search for the French Roquefort fleet. Thence in the Sabrina in 1810-12, whilst cruising in the Atlantic near Madeira, they became aware of smoke on the horizon, believing this to be a naval action, they headed to the area, where a subterranean volcanic eruption had forced the creation of a small island. After about one month, the ship’s Captain was able to land and placed a Union flag, claiming sovereignty for Britain. This caused a minor diplomatic row, which was resolved when the island receded back into the sea.

It was aboard President that he earned his Medal & clasp, for the ship would sailed on 9 August 1813 to San Sebastian, Northern Spain, with about 40 sail of transport under convoy, where they would be involved in the present siege at that place. Part of the ships’ crew and Marines would contribute to a force occupying the island of Santa Clare. By 11 October 1813, she transported Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Graham with his Staff, together with the Earl of March, (who was carrying Wellington’s Despatches), to Plymouth.

Jequist was then removed to the Brisk in 1814-15 and sailed to West Africa, where it formed part of the West African Squadron, specifically to share in the lesser-publicised part of the anti-slavery patrols which were executed by the Royal Navy in this period. The ship spent several months sailing between Cape Verde Isles and St Thomas Isle in the Bight of Biafra. During this period they seized four ships, releasing some 700 slaves, before returning to Spithead with a cargo consisting 7,000 oz of gold dust and 40 tons of ivory.

He then went aboard Alceste, which in 1816 transported the British Ambassador, Lord Amherst, to open trade links with China. He was landed at Peking, where after meeting the Emperor, he would travel overland to Canton. Lord Amherst’s visit was a failure, and he headed for Canton. In the meantime Alceste had returned to the Pearl River for the arranged rendezvous; a local Mandarin had different ideas and refused access up the river to Canton. The problem was quickly resolved by a broadside to the forts and junks barring access. Having collected the Ambassador and his Suite, they began a series of exploration cruises. These included a survey of the Gulf of Liaodong, then virtually unknown to Europeans, and after spending some time exploring the Liaodong Peninsula, proceeded southward to Jiaozhou Bay on the coast of Shandong, where she encountered General Hewitt. Further study of the coasts of Korea, areas which had not been visited for hundreds of years.

It was whilst in the Gaspar Straits, they hit a reef, causing the ship to be abandoned; they quickly established a camp on a nearby island and rescued stores from the stricken ship. The following day it was resolved that Lord Amherst, together with his Suite, crewed by a small number of sailors and Marines, should use two of the ships boats and sail for Batavia (Java) to seek rescue. The remaining two hundred men and one woman established a strong stockade. It was not long before local Malay pirates in their proas appeared at the wreck, which they started stripping of any content they could. The pirates occupied another island close by and tension began to grow as their strength swelled to about six hundred. An imminent overnight attack was feared and the stockade was on alert. The anticipated attack failed to materialise and the following morning an East Indiaman hove into view, sent by Lord Amherst to affect a rescue. The ship fired a broadside at the Malays in their proas, who scattered, not to return. All the crew being rescued they sailed for Batavia where a ship was hired to carry them back to England. This however caught fire and all hands were employed in extinguishing it before serious damage was incurred. En-route they called at St Helena, where Napoleon Bonaparte had recently been incarcerated; whilst on the island Lord Amherst, the ship’s Captain and various members of the Suite were introduced to him.

Removed to Jupiter he was then attached to the Halifax and Caribbean Stations. Jequist would be hospitalised in Bermuda and would return by packet-ship from New York. He was finally discharged on 21 December 1827 from the 1st Division Royal Marines due to rheumatism having served the Royal Marines for over 23 years. His pension amounted to £15/6/-d per annum and he died in his native Chippenham in March 1863; sold together with a USB stick with detailed research notes and extracts.

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