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The Different Military Medals Of World War One

Five medals for campaign were offered to individuals who served in combat in the First World War. Any person, either male or female, could receive the maximum of three of these medals however there were a tiny amount of exceptions to the standard.

Service medals were given out in a timely manner to other rank, however, officers and their kin were required to apply for their own. Medals were engraved by the initials of the person who received it and typically included one or all the following information: service number or rank, initial or first name surname, surname and the military group (Regiment or Corps). The information was usually located on the rim of a medal or , in the instance of an engraved star in the reverse.

Apart from the five medals for combat, badges were also offered to both men and officers who had been discharged on a meritorious basis or been discharged due to illness or injuries during wartime.

British Campaign Medal Sets

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred are the names that have been affixed to three WW1 campaign medals – the 1914 Star, 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal respectively. These medals were awarded primarily for the old contemptibles (B.E.F.). And, by convention, all 3 medals must be worn in the same order , from the left side to be looking at from the side. The trio of medals, or at the very least, three medals, including the British War Medal and the Victory Medal are the most likely to be found in family heritage items.

The time that it was the time that the WW1 badges were awarded in the 1920’s , they were issued with a comic strip that was popular that was published in The Daily Mirror newspaper. The strip originated from Bertram J. Lamb (Uncle Dick) and was drawn by artist Austin Bowen Payne (A.B. Payne). Pip used to be the pet, Squeak Penguin was the penguin, and Wilfred the rabbit who was just a few months old. There is a belief that A. B. Payne’s Batman in the war was nicknamed “Pip-squeak” and that is where the concept to name the penguin and dog was derived from. Somehow, the trio of names came to be connected to the three campaign medals that were being awarded to a multitude of servicemen returning home and they stayed.

“Mutt Jeff” and “Mutt Jeff”

In the same way, when one of the British War Medal and Victory Medal are displayed together, they’re sometimes referred to by the name of “Mutt or Jeff”.

The 1914 Star

In April 1917, the company was founded.

Also called ‘Pip’ or the Mons Star.

The bronze medal was approved through King George V in April 1917 to those who been as soldiers in France and Belgium between the 5th August 1914 and midnight on the 22nd November 1914 inclusive. The award was available to men and officers who were members of their respective British as well as the Indian Expeditionary Forces, doctors and nurses, as along with Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Navy Reserve and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who worked ashore for the Royal Naval Division in France or Belgium.

A small horizontal bronze clasp, sewn to the ribbon and bearing the dates 5th August. 22nd NOV. 1914′ indicates that the recipient been under the attack from the enemy during this time. Seven medals given without clasps, there were about five that had the clasp.

The recipients who received the medal that came with a clasp allowed to add a small heraldic rose of silver to the ribbon, even if the ribbon was worn.

The reverse side is clear with the service number the rank, name, and unit engraved on it.

It is important to remember that the recipients of this award helped the French to thwart the German army, while the new recruits were trained and equipped. Together, they are deserving of an enormous amount of respect for their contribution to the initial sixteen weeks in the Great War. It included battles at Mons and the retreat to the Seine and the battles of Le Cateau, the Marne and The Aisne and the Battle of Ypres. There were around 378,000 1914 Stars issued.

The 1914-15 Star

It was established in December 1918.

Also known as “Pip”.

The bronze medal was officially authorized in 1918. It’s very similar in appearance to 1914 Star but was presented to a wider variety of recipients. In general, it was given to those who had served in war zones against Germany between the 5th of August 1914 to 31st December 1915, excluding those who qualified to receive an award like the 1914 Star. Also, those who had received either the Africa General Service Medal or the Sudan 1910 Medal were not qualified for the award.

As with the 1914 Star The 1914-15 Star was not given on its own. The recipient must receive an award of the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The reverse of the medal is plain and has his service number the rank, name and the unit’s name engraved on it.

A total of 2.4 millions of the medals awarded.

The British War Medal, 1914-18

It was established on the 26th of July 1919.

Also called “Squeak.”.

The bronze or silver medal was given to men and officers from the British and Imperial Forces who either entered the theatre of war or enlisted abroad between the 5th of August 1914 to 11th November 1918 , inclusive. It became a second option to include services within Russia, Siberia and some other regions in 1919 and 1920.

About 6.5 millions British War medals were awarded. Around 6.4 million of them were silver versions of the medal. About 110,000 of the bronze version were given in the Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. On the front (obv or the reverse) on the award shows George V’s head. George V.

The service number of the recipient as well as the rank, name, and unit were engraved on the edge.

The Allied Victory Medal

Also called “Wilfred”

It was agreed to each allies would each award their own bronze victory medals with identical design, the same text and the same ribbon.

The British medal was created in the hands of W. McMillan. The front of the medal depicts the winged classical figure that symbolizes victory.

About 5.7 million Victory Medals were awarded. The eligibility criteria for this award was more restricted and not all those who received the British War Medal (‘Squeak’) was also awarded the Victory Medal (‘Wilfred’). In general the majority of recipients of ‘Wilfred were also awarded the ‘Squeak’ medal, and all of the recipients of the ‘Pip’ got both “Squeak” as well as the ‘Wilfred’.

The service number of the recipient along with the rank, name and unit were engraved on the edge.

The Territorial Force War Medal, 1914-1919

Inaugurated on April 26, 1920.

The only people who were members of the Territorial Force and Territorial Force Nursing Service were qualified for this award. They must have been part of the Territorial Force on or before 30th September 1914 . They also had to have been in an operational theater of war that was not in from the United Kingdom between 5th August 1914 until the 11th of November, 1918. Anyone who was eligible for the 1914 Star or the 1914/15 Star 1914 Star or 1914/15 Star would not be eligible for the Territorial War Medal.

The reverse (front) of this medal depicts an depiction of the King George V with the words”GEORGIVS BRITT OMN REX ET IND I.M.P.

Its reverse bears written phrases TERRITORIAL WAR MEDAL centered around the rim. It is adorned with laurel wreaths and words in the wreath that stand for the VOLUNTARY SERVICE FOR OVERSEAS 1914-1919.

About 34,000 Territorial Force War Medals were given out.

It’s the Silver War Badge

The Silver War Badge was issued on September 12, 1916.

The badge was originally given to men and officers who had been released or retired from military because of injuries or illness due to their war service. After April 1918 , the qualification was extended to civilians working for the Royal Army Medical Corps, female nurses, staff, and aid workers.

The rim of the badge was the words “For the King and Empire Service Rendered”. It was later referred to by this reason as well by the “Services Rendered Badge”. The badges were also made with a unique number on the reverseof the badge, however, this number isn’t directly related to the person’s Service Number.

The person who received the badge would also receive an official certificate along in addition to the badge. The badge was made from Sterling silver, and was designed for wear on right-hand breasts of a person’s civilian clothes. The badge could not be placed on a uniform of the military.

The total number of Silver War Badges issued was around 1,150,000. Silver War Badges issued in total to soldiers in the First World War service.

Mercantile Marine War Medal

The medal was first awarded in 1919.

The Board of Trade awarded this campaign medal, called the Mercantile Marine War Medal, to those who worked within the Merchant Navy and who had traveled through the danger or war zone during the war of 1914-1918.

It was a round bronze medal. It measured 1.42 inches wide and a quarter inch thick. On the reverse (front) the coin had an image depicting King George V facing to the left and the words GEORGIVS VS BRITT The inscription read: OMN: REX ET IND: Impression:.

Its reverse features a wreath of laurel along the rim. It is decorated with images of a merchant vessel in a stormy sea, with an enemy submarine as well as an old sailing vessel to just to the left of the vessel. The inscription on the reverse of the medal is for WAR SERVICE/MERCANTILE MARITIME 1914-1918.

This ribbon (1.25 inches long) can be seen as green left side and it is red to the left side with an elongated white line in the middle of the two. The red and green hues of the ribbon are the port and starboard lighting of a vessel and the white centre representing the masthead’s steaming light.

133,135 Mercantile War Medals were presented.