World War One Victory Medal

In the past we have looked at a number of Second World War medals, tonight we turn to an example from the First World War and consider the Victory Medal. This medal was issued in huge numbers- an estimated 6,334,522 were distributed, this makes it a very common medal but as with everything else WW1 related the prices have risen sharply in the last few years with the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict. The medal itself is a conventional circular copper disc lacquered in bronze, hanging from a ring which attaches it to the ribbon:imageThe obverse of the medal has a winged figure of Victory with her left arm extended and a palm in her right:imageThe reverse has the legend “THE GREAT / WAR FOR / CIVILISATION / 1914-1919”:imageThe ribbon the medal hangs from consists of two rainbows going from violet at the edge to red where they meet in the centre:untitledUnlike medals issued in WW2 those distributed after the end of the Great War have the recipients name, regiment and service number engraved around the edge:imageThis example was issued to Gunner T Taylor, Royal Artillery. Sadly the other medals in this soldier’s grouping have gone astray over the years; the Victory Medal was never issued alone and most frequently was issued with the War medal and/or the 1914-15 Star. To qualify for the Victory medal one had to be mobilised by Britain, in any service and have entered a theatre of war between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Women qualified for this and the earlier two medals, for service in nursing homes and other auxiliary forces. It was also awarded to members of the British Naval mission to Russia 1919 – 1920 and for mine clearance in the North Sea between 11 November 1918 and 30 November 1919.

The Victory Medal is perhaps unique in sharing common characteristics with the Victory Medals of the other allied forces in WW1. Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Siam, Union of South Africa and the USA all adopted medals with the same ribbon and in most cases a version of winged Victory on the obverse, albeit of different designs.

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