The World War I Trio

The three medals listed below represent the most common group of medals awarded during the Great War, they are most often known as "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred". The qualification for these medals is given below and from that you can see why they are so common, there are instances when only the later two have been awarded. This being for men who's service started after 1915. Also mentioned is the 1914 Star, this was for service in the early parts of the war and is rarer than the 1914-15 Star. This award (if associated with a clasp) is known as the "Mons Star".

 

1914-15 STAR:

 

DATE: 1917.

DESCRIPTION:

A bronze star with three points, the topmost is replaced by a crown to which is affixed a half inch diameter ring for suspension; the entire piece is a solid stamping. Across the face of the star are two crossed swords with the points and hilts protruding. In the centre, where the swords cross, is a scroll with the date 1914-15. The scroll is surrounded by a wide laurel wreath. The reverse is plain and the recipients number, rank, name and unit are stamped there on in block capitals.

QUALIFICATION:

Awarded to those British and imperial forces who saw service in any theatre of war between 5th August 1914 and 31st December 1915, other than those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star. The number of medals awarded totalled approximately 2,350,000 making this the most common British campaign medal to that date.

BARS:

None awarded.

RIBBON:

Watered silk red, white and blue. The same as the 1914 Star.

 

BRITISH WAR MEDAL:

DATE: 1919.

DESCRIPTION:

A 36mm medal of silver or bronze showing the uncrowned left profile of King George V by Sir Bertram Mackennal on the obverse. The reverse shows St George on horseback trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the Central Powers and a skull and cross-bones, the emblems of death. Above the sun has risen in victory. The figure is mounted to symbolise man's mind controlling a force of greater strength than his own, and thus alludes to the scientific and mechanical appliances which helped win the war.

QUALIFICATION:

This medal was instituted to record the successful conclusion of the First World War, but it was later extended to cover the period 1919-20 and service in mine-clearing at sea as well as participating in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and Caspian. Most of the medals (6,500,000) were awarded in silver, but about 110,000 in bronze were issued mainly to Chinese, Indian and Maltese personnel in labour battalions. It was intended to award campaign clasps, but as 79 were recommended by the Army and 68 by the Navy the scheme was dropped as being impractical. The naval clasps were actually authorised (7 July 1920) and miniatures are known with them although they were never issued.

BARS:

None awarded, see above.

RIBBON:

Orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side, borders of royal blue.

 

VICTORY MEDAL:

DATE: 1919.

DESCRIPTION:

The standing figure of Victory is shown on the obverse holding a palm branch in her right hand and stretching out her left hand. On the reverse a laurel wreath containing a four line inscription THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION 1914-19. The medal is 36mm in diameter and is in yellow bronze.

 

QUALIFICATION:

This medal was issued to all who had been awarded the 1914 or 1914-15 Stars and most of those who had been awarded the British War Medal. It is believed that 6,000,000 have been produced. It is often known as the Allied War Medal because the same basic design and double rainbow ribbon were adopted by thirteen other Allied nations, although the USA alone issued it with campaign clasps. The Union of South Africa produced a version with the reverse side text in both English and Dutch (not Afrikaans as is often stated).

BARS:

None awarded.

RIBBON:

38mm double rainbow, indigo at edges and red in the centre.

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