October 2003

The balance of the legendary collection of naval medals amassed in his lifetime by the late Captain Kenneth Douglas-Morris has been secured for the nation by the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Under the terms of the will 400 medals were given to the museum in 1993. These medals were the major part of the collection of NGSMs, the balance of which was dispersed at auction. Now the family have given the medals, dating from 1840 to the end of World War II, which includes the Victoria Cross awarded to Sir Arthur Wilson in 1884 when he served as an "observer" in the Sudan Campaign, to the Royal Naval Museum.

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Wilson,
Royal Navy

  • Victoria Cross
  • Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath ( GCB )
  • Order of Merit ( OM )
  • Grand Officer, Legion d'Honneur ( France )
  • Knight Grand Cross, Royal Victorian Order ( GCVO )
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Sebastopol"
  • 2nd China War Medal ( 1857-60 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Canton 1857" - "Taku Forts 1858"
  • Egypt Medal ( 1882-89 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "Alexandria 11th July" - "Suakin 1884" - "El Teb"
  • Queen Victoria Jubilee Medal ( 1897 )
  • King Edward VII Coronation Medal ( 1902 )
  • King George V Coronation Medal ( 1911 )
  • Knight, Legion d'Honneur ( France )
  • Order of the Medjidieh ( Turkey )
  • Grand Cross, Order of Naval Merit ( Spain )
  • Khedive's Star
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )
  • Grand Cross, Order of Dannebrog ( Denmark )
  • Grand Cross, Order of the Lion ( The Netherlands )

Arthur Knyvet Wilson was born on the 4th March 1842 in Swaffham, Norfolk, the son of Rear-Admiral George Knyvet Wilson and nephew of Major-General Sir Archidale Wilson of Delhi. His career in the Royal Navy saw him in action during the Crimean War of 1854-56, the China War of 1858, the Egyptian Campaign of 1882, and the Sudan Campaign of 1884.

[ London Gazette, 21 May 1884 ], El Teb, Sudan, 29 February 1884, Captain Arthur Knyvet Wilson, Royal Navy ( Naval Brigade ).

"This Officer, on the staff of Rear-Admiral Sir William Hewett, at the Battle of El-Teb, on the 29th February 1884, attached himself during the advance to the right half battery, Naval Brigade, in the place of Lieutenant Royds, RN, mortally wounded.

As the troops closed on the enemy's Krupp battery the Arabs charged out on the corner of the square and on the detatchment who were dragging the Gardner gun. Captain Wilson then sprang to the front and engaged in single comabt with some of the enemy, thus protecting this detachment till some men of the York and Lancaster Regiment came to his assistance with their bayonets.

But for the action of this Officer, Sir Redvers Buller thinks that one or more of his detatchment must have been speared. Captain Wilson was wounded but remained with the battery during the day."

Arthur Wilson was invested with his Victoria Cross by CinC Portsmouth, Admiral Sir George Phipps-Hornby, at Portsmouth, on 6th June 1884.

After Captain Arthur Wilson's active service career he was given the following illustrious appointments within the Royal Navy:

  • 1892 - 1895 ADC to Queen Victoria
  • 1897 - 1901 Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty and Comptroller of the Navy
  • 1902 - created Knight Commander, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath ( KCB )
  • 1903 - created Knight Grand Cross, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath ( GCB )
  • 1901 - 1903 command of the Channel Squadron
  • 1903 - 1907 Commander-in-Chief of the Home and Channel Fleets
  • 1905 - created Knight Grand Cross, The Royal Victorian Order ( GCVO )
  • 1907 - became Admiral of the Fleet
  • 1909 - 1912 First Sea Lord of the Admiralty
  • 1912 - retired from the Royal Navy and awarded the Order of Merit ( OM )


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Iain Stewart, 6 February 2004