Ashantee Medal to R. J. Lapham
1 Clasp - COOMASSIE ([1072 2nd Class S.S.] R.J. LAPHAM, A.S.C, 1873-4). Naming is officially engraved, number and rank have been removed due to promotion, otherwise very fine. Accompanied by assorted research papers. Footnote: One of seventy-one medals awarded to men of the A.S.C., of which only ten of them were entitled to the COOMASSIE clasp. Robert John Lapham was born in April 1847 and served in the ranks for over seventeen years before being commisssioned as a Sub. Assistant Commissary in March 1878. As evidenced by the Ashantee Medal roll, which lists him as a 2nd Class Staff Sergeant, he came "under fire with [a] convoy when attacked on February 2, 1874 between Fommaneh and Ahkankuassie." Leigh Maxwelll's The Ashanti Ring makes reference to this action, which occurred as Wolesley prepared to advance from Amoaful: "Colley had gone back to Ahkankuassie on 1 February , as soon as he knew of the General's plans to advance and as the General left Amoaful, so he departed for Formmaneh. When he got there hd had to find a way through an Ashanti force which had the base surrounded and was attacking it from all sides. The town was far too big to be held by its small garrison of forty West Indians and a hundred of Russell's Mumford company, so the sick from the hospital were removed to a stockade at the north end of the town and the neighbouring houses were pulled down to give a field of fire. The attacks stopped at one o'clock in the afternoon, but the carriers had been so frightened by the ferocity of the assault that they were in shock, and it proved impossible to move them for some days, a most unfortunate thing to happen at this crucial stage of the war. In fact, the first proper convoy to go up the line was of Royal Navy Kroomen who reached Aggemmamu on 6 February." Lapham, who latterly held the appointment of Quarter-Master on the Commissariat and Transport Staff, also participated in the Transvaal Campaign of 1881, and was granted the honourary rank of Captain in March 1888.