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British War Medal
BWMObv.pngBWMRev.png
BWMRibbon.png

Obverse (top left) and reverse (top right) of the medal. Ribbon: 32mm, orange watered centre with stripes of white and black on each side and borders of royal blue.
Awarded by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility British and Imperial forces.
Awarded for Campaign service.
Campaign First World War 1914-20.
Description Silver or bronze disk, 36mm diameter.
Clasps None authorised.
Statistics
Established 26 July 1919
Total awarded 6,390,000 silver,
110,000 bronze.
Related 1914 Star
1914-15 Star
Victory Medal
Territorial Force War Medal

The British War Medal was a campaign medal of the British Empire, for service in World War I.

The medal was approved in 1919, for issue to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who had rendered service between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Dominion and Colonial naval forces (including reserves) were required to have completed 28 days mobilised service - the medal was automatically awarded in the event of death on active service before the completion of this period.

The medal was later extended to cover the period 1919-20 and service in mine-clearing at sea as well as participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea, and the Caspian.[1]

Some 6,500,000 medals were awarded in total, of which 110,000 were bronze. These bronze medals were mostly issued to Chinese, Maltese, and Indians who served in labour battalions.

Description

  • The medal is a circular silver (or, in rare cases, bronze) design. The obverse shows a King George V bareheaded effigy, facing left, with the legend: GEORGIVS V BRITT : OMN : REX ET IND : IMP :
  • The reverse shows St. George, naked, on horseback armed with a short sword (an allegory of the physical and mental strength which achieves victory over Prussianism). The horse tramples on the Prussian shield and the skull and cross-bones. Just off-centre, near the right upper rim, is the sun of Victory. The dates 1914 and 1918 appear in the left and right fields respectively.
  • The ribbon has a wide central watered stripe of orange, flanked by two narrow white stripes, which are in turn flanked by two black pin-stripes, further flanked by two outer stripes of blue. The colours are not believed to have any particular significance.

Notes

  1. ^ Medals Yearbook 2004, p169

See also

Bibliography

  • Mackay, J and Mussel, J (eds) - Medals Yearbook - 2006, (2005), Token Publishing.
  • Joslin, Litherland, and Simpkin (eds), British Battles and Medals, (1988), Spink

External links

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Simple English

The British War Medal was a medal given to people who had fought in the First World War. The medal was originally meant to be for people who had fought in the war between 5th August1914 and 11th November1918, but this was later changed to the years between 1914 and 1920. This was because a lot of people still lost their lives in the armed forces even after the war had ended, because they were clearing landmines or mines at sea.

The British War Medal (often shortened to BWM) was awarded to both officers and men of the Royal Marines, Royal Navy, the Army and also the Dominion and Colonial Forces. The Dominion and Colonial Forces were the armed forces for the rest of the British Empire. To qualify for (be allowed to have) the medal, a member of the fighting forces had to have left his native country in any part of the British Empire whilst on military duty.

There were over six and a half million British War Medals given out. Most of them are made of silver, but some rarer ones are made of bronze instead. They are all circular, and have different designs on each side. Each side of a medal is called a face. The face that usually has a picture of the side view of a person's head on it is called the obverse, and the other side of the medal is called the reverse. The picture of the person's head is more commonly known as a bust, which is a type of statue that only shows the head, neck and tops of the shoulders of the person it is meant to be.

The obverse side of the medal shows a bust of King George V (V is a Roman numeral. Here it means 'the fifth'). The picture shows him facing left. There is also lettering around the picture of the King, which reads 'GEORGIVS V BRITT : OMN : REX ET IND : IMP :'. The 'V' in 'GEORGIVS' is actually read as a 'U'. The whole message is abbreviated, or shortened, and is supposed to read 'Georgius V Britanniarum Omnium; Rex Et Indiae; Imperator'. The message is written in Latin, but in English it says 'George 5th of all the Britons (British people); King of India; Emperor'.

The reverse side of the medal shows a man riding on a rearing horse. The man shown is Saint George, the patron saint of England. He is shown naked, and is holding a short sword. This was supposed to symbolise the mental and physical strength that was needed to win the First World War. The horse is trampling a shield that showns the emblem of Prussia and the Axis Powers, which were the enemies the British and other Allies were fighting during World War One (the First World War). The horse is also trampling on a skull and cross-bones, and the rising sun, known as the Victory Sun can be seen by St. George's head. The dates '1914' and '1918' are on the left and right sides of his head.

The name of the soldier whose medal it was had his name, regiment and armed forces identification number put around the rim (edge) of the medal. The medal also came with a ribbon made of silk. It had a thick line of golden-yellow down the middle of it, with stripes on either side of it that were white, then black, then Royal blue on the outside edges of the ribbon.

References


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