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Turkish Crimean War medal


Turkish Crimean War medal

Turkish Crimea Medal

Turkish Crimean War Medal reverse (left) and obverse. Sardinian issue as the flags show.
Awarded by the  Ottoman Empire
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility British, French or Sardinian personnel
Campaign Crimean War
Established 1856

Ribbon bar of the medal

The Turkish Crimean War medal (Turkish: Kırım Harbi Madalyası) is a campaign medal issued by Sultan Abdülmecid I of the Ottoman Empire to allied military personnel involved in the Crimean War of 1854-56. There are three different issues of this medal for those issued to British, French or Sardinian personnel.

Design and identification

The obverse shows the Ottoman Sultan’s tughra with the Muslim calendar year of 1271 on all versions. The reverse depicts a cannon standing upon the Imperial Russian flag, an anchor and a mortar. There are four flags to the rear of these three items which can be used to identify the country to which the medal was intended. This will be for either a soldier from Great Britain, or France, or Sardinia. The identifying flag is the central right hand flag, positioned above the anchor. It is a Union Flag for Great Britain, the tricolour for France and the flag of the Kingdom of Italy for Sardinia, based on the Italian tricolore. Since Sardinia was ruled at the time by the House of Savoy, this flag has the shield shaped emblem of the Savoy coat of arms in the central panel of the Italian tricolore.

Note that due to the loss by shipwreck of many of these medals intended for British recipients, awards were made with whatever issue came to hand, the most common being of the Sardinian type.

Additionally, the inscription in the exergue reads Crimea 1855’ for British issue, ‘La Crimee 1855’ for French issue,' and 'La Crimea 1855 for Sardinian issue.


The ribbon itself is watered and of dark crimson with green edges. The original ribbon issued with this medal measured only .50” wide (rather like a miniature medal ribbon) and often used two widths, but it was usually replaced by one of 1.25” when awarded to British personnel. The medal was originally worn via one or two very small steel rings, although the one on the medal itself can be silver. Not only did they tend to rust, but these rings were almost universally altered to take the wider ribbon conforming to standard British type. Other suspensions were also used and therefore many medals are found with a privately attached scroll or other suspender akin to British medal types. Such medals are still considered contemporary and the alterations do not alter their value.


This medal was issued unnamed but examples are found with privately engraved naming of varying styles.


Most collectors mistakenly believe the reverse with the flags and cannon are the obverse of this medal and indeed many of the recipients at the time wore them that way, but the side with the Sultan's cypher or tughra is actually the obverse.

The general quality of these medals was poor and many British officers had copies of superior quality made in 925 silver with plain or scroll suspenders. These have clearer detail and are generally thicker and heavier; they are often seen in groups mounted by Messrs. Hunt and Roskill.

See also

References and further reading

  • David M. Goldfrank, The Origins of the Crimean War
  • Winfried Baumbart, The Crimean War, 1853-1856
  • Guy Arnold (Editor), John Worronoff (Editor), Historical Dictionary of the Crimean War
  • Ulrich Keller, Ultimate Spectacle: A Visual History of the Crimean War
  • George Frederick Dallas, Michael Hargreave Mawson (Editor), Eyewitness in the Crimea : The Crimean War Letters of Lt. Col. George Frederick Dallas

External links

  • Detailed account of issue to British forces.
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