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Jessie The Jeep

"The Bell Medal" - Know Anything About It?

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Can anyone tell me anything about this coin/medal? I found it while clearing out my dad's house. One side has "The Bell Medal" while the other reads "Presented by The Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs"

No idea about its age or where it came from.

EDIT - I found this on a collectors website "Presented by The Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs. This is the term they used for small bore rifles. The first medals specific to competitions appeared in 1907, 1908 and 1909 for the Queen Alexandra Cup, in 1909 for the Bell Trophy and Dewar International Match, and in 1911 for the Daily Express Competition. Attractive Award medal. "

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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I don't have knowledge about medals but due to the age it may well be an "upper class" thing if you see the shooting figures on the medal, they are wearin traditional jacket and hats that the royals were seen to wear when shooting in that era, 3 of them are aiming or shooting, but not the 4th? Perhaps they are a loader?

Perhaps awarded at an "inter-college" or "inter-school" competition?

 

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My dad wouldn't have been born and my granddad would have been about 17 for the 1909 Bell Trophy, but I'm not sure what connections he would have had in Tyneside to put him into a shooting competition.

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On 12/10/2019 at 8:11 PM, Jessie The Jeep said:

My dad wouldn't have been born and my granddad would have been about 17 for the 1909 Bell Trophy, but I'm not sure what connections he would have had in Tyneside to put him into a shooting competition.

Great grandfather or even great-great grandfather? 

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He would be 50, still at sea. My other great grandfather was also at sea, a little younger. Neither had any connections to shooting as far as family records go and they go back to the 1700's.

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My grandfather is the only one likely to have handled weapons, being in the Royal Engineers in WW1. I don't know if he got involved in shooting prior to joining up.

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Could it be that the medal belonged to another part of the family tree or not even won by anyone in your family but has simply been acquired in the distant past? 

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It doesn't fit the other side of the family history, but who's to know if it was traded for smokes or won by shooting. Only my grandfather would have been available to take part at the time. I'll probably never know how it came into the family, but at least I've found out a little about it.

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The Bell Medal may have been awarded again after 1909.

Searching 'Bell Medal' in the NRA's online archive for winners or years when it was awarded doesn't come up with any results, but you would have nothing to lose by contacting them:-

https://nra.org.uk/archives/

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The Society named on the medal was the forerunner of the National Smallbore Rifle Association. I think the change was around the late 1940's so it is quite possible the medal is not as old as you think. From what I found out it appears the medal was available to member clubs for them to present to their members. One example I found was for the Highest Aggregate, maybe that was its purpose.

regards, Richard

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From my first post......"The first medals specific to competitions appeared in 1907, 1908 and 1909 for the Queen Alexandra Cup, in 1909 for the Bell Trophy "

1909 timeframe fits for my granddad's life. Much later and my dad would have known about it.

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I’ve just bumped into this thread, so have joined up as I can help about the Bell Medal.

The Chas R E Bell Challenge Trophy looks as shown on the Bell Medal, is silver and wood, stands 104cm high and weighs 43kg. It was made by the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co Ltd and bears a London hallmark for 1908. It was presented to the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs in 1909 by Charles Bell, President of the R Bell and Co Rifle Club.

A Bell Medal was issued annually to each club affiliated to the SMRC, for award in a club competition or however else the club chose, in each year from 1909 to 1939.  During that time I estimate that about 55,000 were issued. From 1940 a certificate was given instead. It was normal for a person to win the Bell Medal or certificate only once, but that person was then entitled to shoot in the main competition for the Bell Trophy for life and without having to pay the entry fee. The competition for the trophy was held at one of the SMRC meetings (the SMRC changed its name to the National Small-bore Rifle Association in March 1947) and continues to this day, now alternating between the NSRA’s National and Scottish Meetings. The 2019 competition was held last August at Bisley Camp and the 2020 competition will be shot in July at Lauder in the grounds of Thirlestane Castle.  The current course of fire is 20 shots each at 50 metres and 100 yards, shot in the prone position with a .22 target rifle.

Since the Bell Medal lasted so long, it was inevitable that more than one set of dies would be used to produce it. In fact 13 dies of the obverse and nine of the reverse have been identified and the engraved examples that I own or have seen means I can tie most of the dies’ period of use to a very few years. Fortunately the photos you provided were very good and your medal is clearly made from the first dies used and was thus issued between 1909 and 1913.

As part of my research on the Bell Medal, I have also collected the names of about 16,000 winners (out of 55,000 awarded), so there is a chance that I may be able to locate a record of its presentation to one of your ancestors. If you care to let me know the name of your Grandfather, I’ll be happy to check. Don’t worry about his relative youthfulness in 1909 – quite a number of the medals were won by youngsters, for example school pupils and members of the Church Lads Brigade in particular.

I notice that your surname is Carr, but that may not be the name of the Grandfather you are talking about. There was a Bell Medal won by J T Carr of Grimsby Fisherlads in 1912, but this is presumably too far south!  However another Carr, this time with initials T E and a member of the Walker and Wallsend Union Gas Co Rifle Club, won the Bell Medal in 1913, which is just inside the timeframe and very close to the required locality. The other Carrs who won medals in the right period had initials J W, T A, T W and two W’s, but they are all well away from the Tyne area.

If there are any other surnames in your family in the 1909-13 period which might be in the frame, I’ll be happy to check them out as well, including the other Grandfather’s surname, of course!  Age is not an issue – the winner could have been a teenager or into his 70s. Also bear in mind that some Bell Medals were won by ladies, quite a few rifle clubs having lady members and there also being some clubs exclusively for ladies.

Bell Trophy.jpg

Edited by Brian Woodall
Incorrect name
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That's an amazing response - Thank you. Having read through the post and seeing the initials, opens up other possibilities. My Grandfather was Joseph O. Carr, who's initials don't seem to match. However, he has an older brother, William Carr, who was 5 years older, born in 1887. He went into the Gordon Highlanders in WW1. He's a possible contender.

My Great Grandfather down the Carr line was John R. Carr and Great Great Grandfather was James R. Carr. Neither seem to fit in the with initials you provided, but William, Joe's brother could well be the man who took part.

 

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