Medals Of The Month | December| Military General Service Medal and Waterloo MedalBy The Cove December 10, 2020
These two medals are the oldest medals in the collection of the Australian Army Museum of NSW, Victoria Barracks, Sydney.
Although not instituted as a campaign medal until 1847, the Military General Service Medal (on the left) was awarded to Henry Forster of the 28th Regiment of Foot, for his service from 1808 in the Peninsular War (battles in present-day Spain and Portugal), against the French Empire between 1807 – 1814.
The Waterloo Medal (on the right) was awarded to Henry Forster for his service in battles in present-day Belgium in June 1815, also against the French. The medal was awarded to all ranks who served in this campaign. The Waterloo Medal was the first British campaign medal impressed with the name of the recipient, the recipient’s rank, and name of his regiment inscribed around the edge.
Henry Forster was a quartermaster sergeant by the end of his army career, taking his discharge from the British Army in the colony of New South Wales on 28 February 1839. He was 53 years of age and had been in the colony for three years and seven months.
In June 1839 Henry Forster was appointed by the Colony of New South Wales as Gaoler in the Southern Highlands village of Berrima, about 130 km south-west of Sydney. The gaol was new and stood on the site of today’s gaol. Henry’s wife Margaret later became Gaol Matron.
Berrima Gaol closed in 1847 and in October that year Henry Forster became Gaol Governor in the Southern Tablelands town, now city, of Goulburn, about 200 km south- west of Sydney. As at Berrima, Margaret Forster became Gaol Matron at Goulburn.
Henry Forster passed away on 11 May 1861, aged 77 years. His wife Margaret passed away on 21 May 1869, aged 76 years.
For more about Henry Forster and his long military career in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars, please visit the Australian Army of NSW Foundation website.