22 June 2009

British War Medal


First World War. Qualification for this medal was extensive and North East Medals has already published a wealth of information on this WW1 award. What follows below is a summary.

The original qualification was for officers and men of British and Imperial Forces who had rendered service between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. This was later extended to include women who had served (subject to those qualifications which North East Medals outlines), and also the immediate post-war period 1919-1920 which covered mine-clearance operations at sea as well as operations in the eastern Baltic, Siberia, The Black and Caspian Seas, and north and south Russia.

6,390,000 silver British War Medals were issued with a further 110,000 bronze British War Medals issued mostly to the Chinese Labour Corps, Indian Labour Corps and Maltese Labour Corps.

36mm diameter silver or bronze (as above) with non-swivelling suspender. Obverse: King George V and the legend: GEORGIUS BRITT: OMN: REX: ET: IND: IMP: which is the abbreviated 1919 'txt' equivalent of "George V, omnipotent King of Great Britain and Emperor of India." The reverse of the medal depicts St George on horseback holding a short sword. His horse tramples his adversaries’ shield, to the left of which lies a skull and crossbones. 1914 and 1918 are recorded behind St George’s back and in front of the horse’s left fore-leg respectively.

Orange with, from each edge, blue, black and white stripes.

Impressed in a variety of styles.

Sixty eight naval bars and seventy nine army bars were proposed although ultimately the idea was abandoned and the medal was issued, in Frank Richards’ words, “bare-arsed".

Courtesy of John Duncan, taken from his excellent Newbattle at War website.

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