The superb and rare New Zealand Medal 1860-1866, reverse dated 1860 to 1861, awarded to Midshipman later Lieutenant E.B. Wadlow, Royal Navy, who was aboard the 21 gun corvette H.M.S Pelorus during the First Taranaki War in New Zealand, and formed part of Captain Frederick Seymour’s Naval Brigade in the attack on Puketakauere Pa in June 1860, being subsequently Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette for 26th July 1861, he was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1863, but whilst aboard Prince Consort with the Channel Fleet, was found guilty
The superb and rare New Zealand Medal 1860-1866, reverse dated 1860 to 1861, awarded to Midshipman later Lieutenant E.B. Wadlow, Royal Navy, who was aboard the 21 gun corvette H.M.S Pelorus during the First Taranaki War in New Zealand, and formed part of Captain Frederick Seymour’s Naval Brigade in the attack on Puketakauere Pa in June 1860, being subsequently Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette for 26th July 1861, he was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1863, but whilst aboard Prince Consort with the Channel Fleet, was found guilty by Court Martial on 24th August 1864 of having been asleep on watch, and found himself dismissed his ship and placed at the bottom of the list of his rank.
New Zealand Medal 1860-1866, reverse dated 1860 to 1861; (E.B. WADLOW, MIDMN., H.M.S. PELORIS)
Condition: first initial double stuck, slightly scuffed on rim behind naming, eveidence of having been worn, overall Very Fine.
Ernest Bannister Wadlow was born on 4th January 1842, and joined the Royal Navy as a Naval Cadet with H.M.S Powerful on 11th May 1854, before passing for Midshipman on 11th May 1856, and then posted to the frigate and transport ship H.M.S Vulcan on 2nd October 1856.
Wadlow then transferred to the 21 gun corvette H.M.S Pelorus on 12th July 1857, and then sailed with her for India, where she served as part of a squadron employed off the coast at the time of the Indian Mutiny. Subsequently sent to China, whilst on the China Station Pelorus became involved in the Second Opium War but only in a minor role, and none of her crew qualified for the medal.
In May 1859 Pelorus with Wadlow aboard then sailed from the China Station for the Australian Station. In June 1860, as flagship of the Australian Squadron under Captain Frederick Seymour, Pelorus participated in the attack on Puketakauere Pa during the First Taranaki War in New Zealand.
A renewal of the disputes over land-titles produced another native outbreak in the North Island of New Zealand early in 1860, the scene of hostilities being the neighbourhood of Taranaki, and the native leader being William King, the chief of the local tribe. A force, including two companies of the 65th Regiment, was sent to the spot, whither also the Niger, 13, screw, Captain Peter Cracroft, proceeded. A landing was effected at Waitara, on March 5th, no resistance being offered; and, on the following day, the ship was about to proceed to New Plymouth, when signals were made to her to the effect that the enemy, during the darkness, had built a stockade, which threatened to cut off the communication of the troops with their land base. King, however, eventually abandoned this stockade without fighting. On the 17th he was discovered to have erected another pah, which he resolutely defended, until a bombardment obliged him to quit it also. In the meantime, the Niger had gone to Auckland for supplies, leaving only a few of her people to assist the troops. On the 26th William King murdered three men and two boys, and boasted that he would drive the Europeans into the sea. On the 28th, therefore, by which day the Niger had returned, the naval detachment on shore accompanied the troops into the country to bring into town some settlers who lived in exposed and outlying places; and Cracroft, at the desire of Governor Gore Browne, landed further officers and men to hold the town during the absence of the expedition. He disembarked in person, with sixty seamen and Marines. The rescuing force had not advanced more than four miles when it found itself warmly engaged with a strongly-posted body of the enemy. Word was sent back for reinforcements, and Cracroft went at once to the front with his men and a 24-pr. rocket-tube. King occupied a pah at Omata on the summit of a hill, and had severely handled the British force ere Cracroft’s arrival; and of the small naval contingent, the leader, Lieutenant William Hans Blake, had been dangerously wounded, and a Marine killed. Cracroft determined to storm the pah, and, addressing his men, pointed to the rebel flag, and promised L.10 to the man who should haul it down. He then moved to within 800 yards, and opened fire from his rocket-tube, which, however, made no impression. It was then nearly dark, and Colonel Murray, who led the military force, announced his intention of retreating to the town, whither he had been ordered to return by sunset, and advised Cracroft to do the same. "I purpose to take that pah first," said the Captain. The visible withdrawal of the troops from the front of the position probably had the effect of rendering the enemy more careless than he might otherwise have been to what was going on on his flank. The result was that Cracroft managed to get close up to an outlying body of natives before his presence was detected. Within 60 yards of the enemy he gave the word to double. With a volley and a cheer the men were instantly in the midst of the rebels, who, after a brave resistance, took refuge in the pah behind them, or escaped. The seamen and Marines rushed onwards, met tomahawk with bayonet, and soon annihilated all resistance. Cracroft, who had not force enough to hold the position with, returned leisurely with his wounded, who were not numerous, and was not molested. On the following day, the enemy retired to the southward, having lost very heavily. It should be added that William Odgers, seaman, who was the first man inside the pah, and who pulled down the enemy's flag, was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Hostilities continued. On June 23rd a reconnoitring party of troops was fired at near Waitara; and, in consequence, an attack, with insufficient force (three hundred and forty-seven in all; the natives were thrice as numerous), was made on a strong rebel pah in the immediate neighbourhood on June 26th, in the early morning. Part of the 40th Regiment, some Royal Engineers, and a small Naval Brigade under Commodore Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour, of the Pelorus, 21, screw, were engaged. After a hot fight, lasting for more than four hours, the British were obliged by overwhelming forces to retreat, after having lost 29 killed and 33 wounded, among the latter being Seymour, eight seamen, and one Marine. Besides Seymour, the naval officers engaged were Lieutenant Albert Henry William Battiscombe, Midshipmen Ernest Bannister Wadlow, and ----- Garnett, and Lieutenant John William Henry Chafyn Grove Morris, R.M.A.
The war was somewhat more actively prosecuted after the arrival on the scene of Major-General T.S. Pratt, who won an initial success, and then, on December 29th, with troops, guns, and 138 officers and men from the ships (chiefly from the Cordelia and Niger; and from colonial steamer Victoria.), under Commodore Seymour, entrenched himself at Kairau, opposite the strong position of Matari-koriko, which, during the two following days, he obliged the enemy to evacuate. He fought the action entirely with cannon, rifle, and spade, and, not unduly exposing his men, had but 3 killed and 21 wounded. After this success, Pratt adopted the practice of reducing the successive positions of his opponents by means of regular approaches. These tactics broke up the rebel combinations. A chief named William Thompson, whose tribe, the Waikato, had joined the Taranaki natives, finally proposed a suspension of hostilities, and on May 21st, 1861, a truce was arranged. Governor Gore Browne had mismanaged matters; and he would, almost immediately, have provoked a new outbreak had not the home Government, realising that the position of the colony was becoming serious, recalled him by means of a dispatch which, while otherwise complimentary, informed him that he was superseded by Sir George Grey.
Wadlow was Mentioned in Despatches for his services ashore with the Naval Brigade in Seymour’s attack on Puketakauere Pa in June 1860, the award being published in the London Gazette for 26th July 1861. In all only 338 men were Mentioned for their services during the Maori Wars of 1860 to 1866, with only a small number of Mentions going to men of the Royal Navy, and in addition, Wadlow was one of only a small number of men to receive the New Zealand Medal 1860-1866, reverse dated 1860 to 1861. In all the medal was supposed to have been awarded with these dates to the naval forces in the following numbers: Cordelia, 29; Iris, 72; Niger, 66; Pelorus, 116; and the Colonial Gunboat Victoria, 40. However according to the reference book British Battles and Medals: ‘it is believed that only 10 medals were distributed; some naval medals were issued with an undated reverse and ‘1860-61’ on the edge’.
Wadlow had been appointed to Acting Mate and Acting Sub Lieutenant whilst with Pelorus at New Zealand on 4th April 1861, and then left the Australian Station with Pelorus in July 1862 and sailed for Plymouth. On his arrival home, Wadlow transferred to Excellent at Portsmouth on 11th December 1862, and having passed his examination, was promoted to Lieutenant whilst with Excellent on 16th April 1863. Wadlow had been posted to the 91 gun battleship H.M.S Prince Consort on 16th June 1864 and then saw service with the Channel Fleet, but on 24th August 1864 at H.M.S Victory at Portsmouth, Wadlow was sentenced by Court Martial ‘to be dismissed Prince Consort and placed at bottom of the list’, and his seniority as a Lieutenant then began again from that date, he having been found ‘asleep during his watch’, a crime he pleaded guilty to. Wadlow was transferred to the 21 gun corvette H.M.S Rattlesnake on 13th September 1864, before being posted to H.M.S Vindictive on 3rd January 1865, she being the store ship based on the island of Fernando Po off West Africa.
Wadlow then transferred to the gunboat H.M.S Sparrow on 21st April 1865, and sailed for home aboard her, where he then transferred to the transport vessel Alexander on 15th June 1865, which vessel was manned by men of the Royal Navy and operated as a supply boat during the New Zealand Wars, and as such whilst near Taranaki, New Zealand, Wadlow was aboard her as a Lieutenant when she was wrecked on 8th October 1865 whilst bringing supplies. Having taken passage home, Wadlow was then posted to the paddle frigate H.M.S Gladiator on 28th July 1866, before transferring to the transport H.M.S Jumna on 24th December 1868, and to the transport H.M.S Euphrates on 13th April 1870. Wadlow retired from service on 1st September 1871, his career having clearly never recovered since his dismissal from Prince Consort back in August 1864.