Canada General Service Medal awarded to Domestic George Faulkner, Royal Navy, who was serving aboard the screw frigate Aurora at Montreal and in June 1866 formed part of the Royal Naval contingent of 131 men from Aurora who manned the ferry steame...

Lot: 12
Description:

Canada General Service Medal awarded to Domestic George Faulkner, Royal Navy, who was serving aboard the screw frigate Aurora at Montreal and in June 1866 formed part of the Royal Naval contingent of 131 men from Aurora who manned the ferry steamer "Michigan”, and subsequently also the steam tug “Rescue” on Lake Erie. In all 329 medals were issued to men of the Royal Navy. Very scarce. Canada General Service Medal 1866-1870, clasp: Fenian Raid 1866; (DOMESTIC G. FAULKNER, H.M.S. AURORA.) George Faulkner saw service as a Domestic with the Royal Navy, and was present with the screw frigate Aurora during the Fenian troubles in Canada. Earlier in the century there had been attempts from several political directions to sever Canada's links with Britain. In the 1860's it was the Fenian who presented the main challenge to the British Crown. Having a large following in the United States and with Civil War veterans available to participate, the Fenians decided on an invasion of Canada. On 31st May 1866, 'Colonel' John O'Neill with a small force of 800 men crossed the Niagara River and defeated Canadian troops at the battle of Ridgeway on 1st June. However, when news that a strong force of Canadian volunteers was approaching, many Fenians deserted and others retreated to the United States. On 3rd June 1866 H.M.S. Aurora was in the port of Montreal, where she was stationed throughout the operations in response to the Fenian threat. Intelligence reports suggested that some 3,000 Fenians were massing in the general area of Malone and Potsdam, New York State to attack Canada in the Cornwall area, and some men of other ships also present then formed part of the Naval Brigade and along with 400 regulars from the Rifle Brigade were sent by train from Montreal to Cornwall to counter the threat, but the attack never came. The crew of the Aurora however were involved in the response to another scarce. Prior to all this the Toronto Naval Brigade had been formed to crew the Government chartered powerful steam tug "Rescue," which being properly armed, was placed in commission as the first boat in the Canadian Navy, and order to patrol Lake Erie. It had been rumoured that a Fenian fleet was being fitted out on the Upper Lakes to assist in General Sweeny's programme, therefore all on board the "Rescue" were vigilant and expectant that they would have an opportunity to meet a Fenian gunboat on Lake Erie and prove their mettle. On the afternoon of the 5th of June, while proceeding up Lake Erie, a suspicious-looking steamer was seen approaching from the west. Heavy clouds of black smoke belched forth from her funnels, and she appeared to be heading for the "Rescue" under full speed. As rumors of a Fenian flotilla on the Upper Lakes had prevailed, it was conjectured that this strange craft might be one of the enemy's gunboats, and consequently its appearance caused some excitement on board the "Rescue." The men were called to quarters, the 32-pounder loaded and charged with chain-shot, and every preparation made to give battle in case the approaching steamer should happen to be a foe. As it came nearer it was seen that she was a side-wheeler, and was evidently crowding on all steam. But as the steamer approached closer it was learned that she was the United States revenue cutter "Fessenden," which was on patrol duty on Lake Erie, on the look-out for Fenians also, and her commander had intended to overhaul the "Rescue," as he likewise thought her suspicious-looking. After a friendly "hail" and mutual explanations, both steamers proceeded on their way. As matters looked serious along the Detroit River and Upper Lakes, it was decided to strengthen the naval force at Windsor by equipping another boat for service. Therefore the staunch ferry steamer "Michigan" was chartered and details of British tars from Her Majesty's Ship "Aurora" were brought up from Quebec to form her crew, and also to relieve the Toronto Naval Brigade from duty on the "Rescue”. In turn the Toronto Naval Brigade was removed to another vessel, the “Magnet”. Both the "Michigan" and the "Rescue" were then efficiently armed and equipped for the naval service required, and went into commission under British officers and crews. Each boat had an armament of two Armstrong ship guns (9 and 12-pounders), with full supplies of ammunition, and were manned by one Lieutenant, one Second Lieutenant, and midshipmen, doctors, carpenters, etc., with about 90 seamen, 22 marines and seven other officers, all armed with rifles, cutlasses, revolvers and dirks. Lieut. Fairlie, R.N., and Lieut. Heron, R.N., both of the Aurora, were placed in command of the "Rescue" and "Michigan," respectively. Faulkner saw service during the operations, and as such gained entitlement to the Canada General Service Medal 1866-1870, with clasp for Fenian Raid 1866. In all 329 medals were issued to men of the Royal Navy, and as mentioned 131 went to the crew of the Aurora. Nearly extremely fine