Those who had received the Ashantee Medal 1873 were granted the appropriate bars for further service in East and West Africa 1887 – 1900.
With the exception of Mwele 1895-96 which was impressed or engraved on the edge of the medal, 21 different bars were issued for this medal.
Benin River 1894 – August – September 1894 and granted to an expedition that proceeded up the Benin River to curb the predatory activities of Chief Nana of Brohemie. Mainly consisted of Naval personnel with 170 medals attributable to HMS Philomel.
Sierra Leone 1898-99 18th February 1898 – March 18999 – awarded for services in the “Hut Tax” war. 594 medals attributable to 2 / West India Regiment.
The Hut Tax War of 1898 was a resistance in the newly annexed Protectorate of Sierra Leone to a new, severe tax imposed by the colonial military governor. The British had established the Protectorate to demonstrate their dominion over the territory to other European powers following the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. The imposed tax constituted a major burden on residents of the Protectorate; 24 indigenous chiefs had signed a petition against it explaining why its adverse effects on their societies, to no avail. The immediate catalyst for hostilities was the use of force by British officials to arrest the Temne chief Bai Bureh, a general and war strategist, because of ill-founded rumours. He is typically identified as the chief who initiated an armed resistance in the North in 1898, but the British forces shot first. Late 20th-century sources suggest he has been unfairly identified by the colonial government as a primary instigator and that the colonial government had provoked the war by its hostile actions. Later that year, resistance arose in the south by the leading Mende.
1900 – 4th January – 9th May 1900 – Awarded for the Munshi expedition and the Kaduna Expedition in Northern Nigeria which were necessary to ensure safe passage for caravans and to secure the abolition of the slave trade. 499 medals attributable to 2 N Nigeria Regiment.
1897-98 September 1897 – 14th June 1898 awarded for the expeditions to the hinterland of Lagos and the Northern territories of the Gold Coast. 559 medals to the 2 West India regt.
Benin 1897 – 6th February – 7th August 1897 Granted for an expedition to Benin City against Chief Overiami who was involved in the Slave Trade and in the practices of Human Sacrifice. 232 Medals to HMS Phoebe.
On 12 January 1897, Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson, commanding the squadron at the Cape of Good Hope was appointed by the British Admiralty to lead an expedition to capture the Benin king and destroy Benin City. The operation was named the Benin Punitive Expedition, and on 9 February 1897 the invasion of the Benin kingdom began. The field commanders were instructed by their commander-in–chief to burn down all Benin kingdom’s towns and villages, and hang the king of Benin wherever and whenever he was captured. The invasion force of about 1200 Royal Marines, sailors and Niger Coast Protectorate Forces, and composed of three columns; the ‘Sapoba’, ‘Gwato’ and ‘Main’ Columns. The ‘Sapoba’ column, and the ‘Main column’ reached Benin City after 10 days of bitter fighting but the ‘Gwato’ column was routed at Gwato.
1899 – February – May 1899 Granted for the Bula expedition, the Central Division expedition and the Benin expedition. Only 572 Medals issued.
Mwele 1895-6 – awarded for a series of actions against the Kenyan and coastal Arabs under their leader Mbaruk. A naval force under the command of Admiral Rawson was despatched to Mbaruk’s stronghold at Mwele and following its capture, Arab domination of the Kenyan coast was effectively ended.
Lloyd Mathews (Commander in Chief – Zanzibar / First Minister) embarked on two much larger expeditions to the African mainland during his tenure as first minister, the first at Mwele. The initial rebellion in the area had been led by Mbaruk bin Rashid at Gazi, which Mathews had put down with 1,200 men in 1882. However in 1895 Mbaruk’s nephew, Mbaruk bin Rashid, refused to acknowledge the appointment of a new leader at Takaungu. This led to open rebellion at Konjoro in February of that year when the younger Mbaruk attacked Zanzibari troops under Arthur Raikes, one of Mathews’ officers. Mathews was part of an Anglo-Zanzibari expedition sent to quell it, which consisted of 310 British sailors, 50 Royal Marines, 54 Sudanese and 164 Zanzibari troops. Konjoro was destroyed and the leaders fled to Gazi where the older Mbaruk failed to turn them over. Another force, under Admiral Rawson, with 400 British marines and sailors, was sent after them. This further expedition failed to capture the ringleaders and a third expedition was organised by Rawson with 220 sailors, 80 marines, 60 Sudanese and 50 Zanzibaris, which destroyed Mwele. During the latter action Mathews was wounded in the shoulder.
No bar was issued for this incident only the name ‘Mwele 1895’ was impressed round the medal rim together with the recipients name and ship. Indian and African troops who continued the campaign into the new year received the medal impressed ‘Mwele 1895-6’. Those who already had the Ashantee medal which was similar could send it in to have it impressed.
Medal Authorised for operations against the Yonnie Tribe in deepest Sierra Leone , 13th November 1887 to 2nd January 1888 inclusive. Although a relatively short expedition, progress was slow and extremely arduous due to the dense forest & the situation was further hampered by the threat of constant ambush. The Yonnie method of attack was to erect barricades along the route to halt the force and then to fire at them from a concealed position using ancient muzzle loading rifles. The towns of Robari and Rorreto were taken and destroyed and the chiefs surrendered in December. (298 medals to West India Regt out of a total of 400)
The ship’s companies of Icarus, Acorn and Rifleman were awarded the West Africa Medal with the bar “1887–1888” for their part in supporting the infantry of the West India Regiment between 13 November 1887 and 2 January 1888 against the Yonnie tribes in Sierra Leone
Granted to members of the expedition under vice admiral Sir Edmund Freemantle against Sultan Fumo Bakari of Witu who had countenanced the Murder of several Germans.
312 Medals to HMS Boadicea
Authorised 1900 for various expeditions in Northern Nigeria (in Borgu before 14th June 1898, The Lapai expedition 8-27th June1898 and Ibouza, Anam, Barua,, Basema, Siama, Angiama, Illah, and Dama expeditions all in 1898.
Niger 1897 6th January – 25th February 1897
Authorised 1897 for operations to Egbon, Bida and Ilorin and for garrison duty at Fort Goldie and Lokoja.
1891-2 29th Dec 1891 – 5th Feb 1892
Issued for a series of expeditions in Gambia against Chief Fodeh Cabbah.