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Victorian Military Forces Best Shot Medal

Awarded from the 1892-93 musketry year until at least 1900-01. Below are shown two of only three known specimens, of at least nine medals that were struck. The medal on the left was awarded to Zebina Lane. The medal on the right has no markings and was obtained from the Godfrey family. The third known specimen is said to have the recipient's name & regiment impressed on the medal's edge & the year 1894 engraved below the word FORCES on the reverse. The condition or even survival of any of the other medals is not known.

Zebina Lane's Best Shot Medal.

Click to enlarge.


Zebina Lane's First of Five Best Shot Medals
Source: Museum Victoria Photographer: Jennifer McNair
James Godfrey's Best Shot Medal.

Click to enlarge.


Unmarked Best Shot Medal from the Godfrey Family
Source: Nobel Numismatics




"Best Shot in Forces — A silver medal worn on right breast."


Victorian Government Gazette, 2 June 1893

"The silver medal awarded annually to the best shot of the Victorian Military Forces in each year's Musketry Course will be worn on all occasions in uniform until next year's issue is made and notified in General Orders."

Victorian Government Gazette, 17 August 1894, p. 3378.



Best Shot Medal Winners

Musketry YearWinnerDetailsWinning Score
1892-93

Edwin C. Jewell

Impressed - Lance Corporal, "F" Coy. Vict. Rangers.
1894 is engraved on reverse below FORCES.1,4,5 Born 1866

 
1893-94

Zebina Lane

Impressed - ZABINA LANE, SERGT. "B" COY. VICT. RANGERS.
Engraved 1893-94.2 Born 18293

 
1894-95

Zebina Lane

Sergeant "B" Company Victorian Rangers.8 Born 1829

 
1895-96

Zebina Lane

Sergeant "B" Company Victorian Rangers.9 Born 1829

199/220
1896-97

Zebina Lane

Sergeant "B" Company Victorian Rangers.10 Born 1829

207/220
1897-98

G. Hawthorn

Private, 2nd Battalion Mounted Rifles.12,14
Kerang Detachment, I Company, Mounted Rifles.15

201/220
1898-99

Zebina Lane

Sergeant "B" Company Victorian Rangers.13 Born 1829

200/220
1899-1900

C. Pierd

Sergeant, Rosedale section of the Rangers.11

 
1900-01

Con. Burrow

Colour Sergeant, 3rd Battalion. Ballarat.7,3 Born 1857

 




The Godfrey Medal

James Godfrey's Medal?

Although two of the three known Best Shot medals were impressed & engraved, this one was not.

As this medal was obtained from the Godfrey family, it has been assumed to have been awarded to James J. Godfrey of the Queenscliffe Battery.

However, given that the winners of the Best Shot medal have been identified for every musketry year from 1892-3 up to 1900-01, and that there is no mention in the press of a Godfrey winning the best shot medal, it is likely that the "Godfrey medal" was actually awarded to one of the recipients listed above, and not to James Godfrey.





Zebina Lane's First
of Five Medals

Jewell's 1894 & Lane's 1893-4 Medals

Confusion has been caused by Edwin Jewell's medal being engraved 1894 and the Zabina Lane medal engraved 1893-4.

As Edwin Jewell's medal was awarded for the musketry year of 1892-3 5, it should have been engraved with those dates instead of 1894.

This error was most likely caused by the type II medals not being available until 30 April 1894.1,6 When Edwin Jewell's medal was presented in May 1894, it was presumably engraved with the current year's date by mistake.



Edwin Campbell Jewell

Edwin Campbell Jewell
Best Shot in 1892-3

Photo - Ancestry.com


Zebina Lane

Zebina Lane in 1900
Best Shot in 1893-4, 1894-5,
1895-6, 1896-7 & 1898-9.

The Australasian, 21 July 1900


Con. Burrow

Arthur Charles (Con.) Burrow in 1884
Best Shot in 1900-1

Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs,
State Library of Victoria.




Prior to the introduction of the Best Shot medal, the Best Shot in the Victorian Military Forces was still decided each year. Known recipients are listed below.

Best Shot Winners in Victorian Military Forces prior to the Introduction of the Best Shot Medal.

YearWinnerDetailsWinning Score
1886

Private T. Allan

C company, 4th Battalion16

 
1887

Private Keck

B company, 4th Battalion.16

 
1888

Corporal Field

C company, 4th Battalion.16

 

Best Shot Winners in Victorian Military Forces after the Discontinuance of the Best Shot Medal.

YearWinnerDetailsWinning Score
1907-08

Sergeant Crombe

10th Australian Light Horse Regiment.17

 


1 The Medal for the Best Shot of The Victorian Military Forces, Michael Downey, Sabretache: the Journal of the Military Collectors Society of Australia, April/June 1986.
2 Museum Victoria
3 The Argus, 1 November 1901
4 The Argus, 29 May 1894
5 The Argus, 11 May 1894
6 The Victoria Volunteer Long and Efficient Service Medal 1881-1901, R.D.Williams, Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, 1976.
7 Ballarat District Citizens And Sports 1916, by M. M. McCallum, Tulloch & King, Ballarat, on page 17 lists Con Burrow as winning the Best Shot of the Victorian Military Forces for the years 1900-2. The Argus of 6 June 1902 only lists him as the Best Shot in the Battalion. It is likely that the Victorian Military Forces Best Shot medal was discontinued after federation.
8 Mornington Standard, 30 May 1895
9 Bendigo Advertiser, 12 December 1896
10 Bendigo Advertiser, 4 September 1897
11 Bendigo Advertiser, 20 July 1901
12 Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners' Advocate, 20 August 1898
13 Williamstown Chronicle, 11 August 1899
14 Bairnsdale Advertiser & Tambo & Omeo Chronicle, 20 August 1898
15 Bendigo Advertiser, 19 May 1898
16 Bendigo Advertiser, 15 February 1896.
17 Gippsland Times, 3 December 1908.