Thursday, September 22, 2011
World War 1 Service Medal, United States & Canada
Today I've dug into my box of old WW1 memorabilia and pulled out a pair of World War 1, Victory Medals. I have two of these. One is from the United States and the other is from a soldier that served in the Canadian Forces.
At first glance these two medals are identical, but on closer inspection you can see that there are a number of differences. The two medals are both based roughly on the same design, but with two quite unique and different interpretations. Here are a couple of photos of the medals, side by side. The US medal is the one with the pin clasp and "France" bar. I couldn't get a clear picture of the edge of the UK medal, but it is engraved with the service number and name of the Canadian soldier that it was issued to.
The US version of this medal was instituted in April of 1919 and it was mailed out to US Veterans in April of 1921. It was never awarded to the soldiers in person. On the US medal I have, the "France" bar denotes non combat service in France between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918. There are numerous bars that were authorized to be worn on the medal to denote all kinds and types of service and battles. For a complete list of these bar clasps and a good history of the US version of this medal, check out this excellent Wikipedia link: World War One Victory Medal - USA
The United Kingdom version of this medal was awarded to soldiers who served in any theater of the war, between August 4, 1914 and November 11, 1918. Women qualified for this medal for service in the Axillary Forces. For a complete description of this UK version of the medal and information, check out this Wikipedia link: World War One Victory Medal - UK