15 September 2011

The Great War Medal Collectors Companion

I've just ordered The Great War Medal Collectors Companion by Howard Williamson having seen it advertised in the most recent Dixon's Gazette (issue No. 67) and I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Apart from being a lavishly published volume, the detail it contains seems impressive. This from the book's blurb:

Medal Index Cards

•Over 1,500 MIC abbreviations and codes deciphered.
•Definitive notes on the MICs and how to read them.
•The significance of different coloured inks revealed.

Gallantry Medals

•DSO, MC, DCM and MM Gazettes, giving dates & battles covered by each gazette.
•Especially useful for MM research, linking the London Gazette date back to the bravery date.
•DCM, MC and DSO Gazette citations that omit dates & places (March 1916 - January 1919).
•List of MC and DCM recipients for 1st July 1916. Also all DCM and dated bars noted.
•A full list of escapers awarded the MM; Army Order 193 of 1919 explained and 1914 MMs noted.
•How to spot fakes e.g. MC, DSO, DFC, AFC etc as well as fake bars.
•History of the DCM League and MM Association plus Ex-Servicemen’s Association details.
•Definitive notes about the naming & renaming of medals - many examples illustrated.
•How to read & research the MM Cards, including the breakthrough use of schedule numbers.
•Detailed notes on the Somme Gazettes & the units engaged. List of VCs and where they were won.
•Documents found with gallantry groups, including divisional cards, award notifications etc.
•Chronological list of actions & battles fought in all theatres, plus indexed maps.

Campaign Medals

•Full history of each medal, including Army Orders, Army Council Instructions & award criteria.
•How & when medals were named & distributed. Packaging & accompanying documents.
•How to spot fake medals and correctly identify original ‘5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914’ bars.
•How to spot renaming. Font alphabets for 1914 & 1914/15 Trios, DCMs and MMs.

Dixons - and elsewhere - advertise the book at £60 with £10 for postage and packing. However, if you order through the National Archives' online bookshop, you can pick it up for £50 including postage and packing; quite a saving.

One minor quibble though, before I've even seen the book; all apostrophe purists know that the title should be The Great War Medal Collectors' Companion, ie the Companion belonging to Great War Medal Collectors (assuming that the book is intended for more than one medal collector that is, otherwise it would be Collector's Companion). Either way, it needs an apostrophe.

Howard's eagerly awaited book on the Military Medal, a companion to this volume, is due out in 2014. Word to the wise is, buy MMs now because once the book is published, the price of these will go up.

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