In 1896 the Queen sanctioned the medal for Matebeleland 1893 and in 1897, the medals for Rhodesia 1896 and Mashonaland 1897. 4 Bars are also attributable for this medal and issued to those who were entitled to more than one of the respective medals.
The start of the 1st Matabele War – BSAP columns rode from Fort Salisbury and Fort Victoria, and combined at Iron Mine Hill, around the centre point of the country, on 16 October 1893. Together the force totalled about 700 men, commanded by Major Patrick Forbes and equipped with five Maxim machine guns. Forbes’ combined column moved on the Matabele king’s capital at Bulawayo, to the south-west. An additional force of 700 Bechuanas marched on Bulawayo from the south under Khama III, the most influential of the Bamangwato chiefs, and a staunch ally of the British. The Matabele army mobilised to prevent Forbes from reaching the city, and twice engaged the column as it approached: on 25 October, 3,500 warriors assaulted the column near the Shangani River. Lobengula’s troops were well-drilled and formidable by pre-colonial African standards, but the pioneers’ Maxim guns, which had never before been used in battle, far exceeded expectations, according to an eyewitness “mow[ing] them down literally like grass”. By the time the Matabele withdrew, they had suffered around 1,500 fatalities; the BSAP, on the other hand, had lost only four men.
Mashonaland 1897 – For operations in Mashonaland up to 31st October 1897. For those that had received previous medals, they received a Mashonaland 1897 Bar. Action included the taking of Gatze’s village and many other villages including Chief Dango’s whose village was burnt, and Chief Matshayongombi. The trouble ceased in September, although the surrender of all the Mashona chiefs was a month later on 29th October 1897.
467 No Clasp Medals issued
Rhodesia 1896 – In 1895, the territories subject to the British South Africa Company were named Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes. In March 1896, the Matabeles under Chief Olimo rebelled and were joined by others. Several settlers were killed. Relief forces were formed and several encounters took place. In June, the Mashonas also rebelled and marshal law was proclaimed in Salisbury. The mission station at Ingwengwesi River was destroyed and severe fighting took place at Umfuli. Chief Olimo was killed during fighting in the Matoppo Hills. Eventually Chief Mtigeza surrendered together with other chiefs. Mr. Rhodes then met with the chiefs and agreed peace terms on 20th September and peace was finally declared on 13th October 1896,
7651 Medals issued without clasp