Ever since the issue of the Waterloo Medal following the 1815 defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte, all participants in military actions have been awarded the same campaign medal regardless of rank.
The museum holds a number of medals awarded to personnel carrying out intelligence work or supporting the intelligence component on campaigns between Waterloo and the beginning of the Great War in 1914.
For the Boer War, this began with the issue of the Queen’s South Africa Medal by Queen Victoria. Clasps were added for a number of reasons; for participation in specific actions such as ‘Ladysmith’, ‘Paardeberg’ or ‘Mafeking’; for service in a particular province such as ‘Cape Colony’ or ‘Transvaal’ (unless a specific action clasps was awarded for an action in that province) or for year-long periods of service (which took 18 months to earn!) such as ‘South Africa 1901’ or ‘South Africa 1902’.
The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 saw the issue of the King’s South African Medal by her successor, King Edward VII, again with Clasps for the period or action.
Boer War medals are inscribed with the wearer’s name and initials and the unit they belong to. In the case of the Fiied Intelligence Department, the letters “FID” are inscribed. The recipient’s role is also often detailed as either “Agent” or “Guide” but often as both “Agent or Guide”.