Royal Marine shako plate

A thin copper alloy Royal Marine officer shako plate (Royal Marine cap or 'bell top' badge) from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The badge is embossed with a star or sunburst topped by a crown. The centre bears a large fouled anchor and three ribbons inscribed 'GIBRALTAR', at the top, and the Royal Marines motto 'PER MARE' and 'PER TERRAM' (by land and sea) in the other two at the bottom. There is a small piece of lead and a hook on the back. The shako plate is an 1830-1845 officer pattern.

The shako plate was found at the cairn near the camp site at Cape Felix by Lieutenant William R. Hobson's sledging party on 3 May 1859, as part of the search expedition led by Captain McClintock. Lt. Hobson described it as 'the [device] from the [front] of a Marine's shako (with the globe, Gibraltar & per mare per terram on it)' [Stenton, 'Arctic' v.69, No. 4, p. 514]. McClintock records ’brass ornaments to a marine's shako'. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), page 368].

The plate was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, Case 2, No. 51. 'Shako plate from Royal Marines'. The item is shown in - 'Stereoscopic slides of the relics of Sir John Franklin's Expedition' photographed by Lieutenant Cheyne RN, at the United Services Museum, Whitehall, No. 6 (bottom right, left of flask). Note that it is wrongly assigned to the Boat Place.

Object Details

ID: AAA2121
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Shako plate
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Fox (1855)
Date made: circa 1845
People: Hobson, William Robert
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 130 x 127 x 114 mm

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