The British War Medal
The British War Medal was instituted in 1919 to recognise the successful conclusion of the First World War (1914-1918). Its coverage was later extended to recognise service until 1920, recognising mine clearing operations at sea, and participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and the Caspian. Throughout the British Empire about 6.5 million medals were awarded in silver.
The Victory Medal
The Victory Medal was issued to all those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star, and personnel who had already qualified for the British War Medal. The Victory Medal was awarded to all New Zealand troops serving overseas, except for those who arrived in Samoa after 30 August 1914 and those serving in Great Britain only. The Victory Medal is distinguished by its unique ‘double rainbow’ ribbon. Approximately 6 million of these medals were issued to military personnel from the British Empire.
The obverse of the medal depicts the standing figure of Victory holding a palm branch in her right hand and stretching out her left hand. On the reverse of the medal is a laurel wreath containing a four-line inscription: THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION 1914-1919. The dates are ‘1914-1919’ to include post-war intervention by the Allied nations in the Russian Civil War. The medal is yellow bronze and is attached to the ribbon by a ring. This medal is sometimes referred to as the ‘Allied War Medal’, because the same basic design and the double rainbow ribbon was adopted by 13 other Allied nations.
The Military Medal for Gallantry
The Military Medal (MM) was instituted in 1916 during the First World War. It was awarded to non commissioned officers and other ranks of the Army for acts of bravery for which the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was not considered appropriate.
The 1914-15 Star was awarded to servicemen and servicewomen who served between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 in any “theatre of war”, provided they had not qualified for the 1914 Star. This included service at Gallipoli between 25 April 1915 and 31 December 1915, service in Egypt between 5 November 1914 and 31 December 1915, and service during the capture of German Samoa on 29 August 1914. Those eligible for the medal must have “served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war” during the relevant dates of operations in that area.
The 1914-15 Star is a crowned fourpointed star with crossed swords and a wreath of oak leaves, with the royal cypher at the foot and a central scroll inscribed 1914-15. The 1914-15 Star is identical to the 1914 Star, except for the omission of AUG and NOV, and the scroll across the centre being inscribed 1914-15. The reverse of the 1914-15 Star is plain, except for the inscribed name and service details of the recipient. The medal is bronze and is attached to the ribbon by a ring. Throughout the British Empire more than 2.35 million 1914-15 Stars were awarded.
ANZAC Commemorative Medallion
This bronze medallion was instituted in 1967 for award to Australian and New Zealand personnel who participated in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. The obverse design is circular, surmounted by St. Edward’s Crown. The main design on the obverse of the medallion depicts Simpson and his donkey carrying a wounded soldier, an iconic image of the ANZAC experience at Gallipoli. The medallion itself is not designed to be worn, however, those personnel who were still alive when the medallion was issued also received a lapel badge sized version of the full medallion, numbered on the reverse with the individual’s First World War service number. Those who claimed the award on behalf of a deceased relative received only the medallion. The medallion was issued with a certificate.