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Wearing of commemorative medals


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#1 ttd0

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 01:57 PM

This has proved to be a can of worms on some forums.

I think that some (but not all) commemorative medals have their place especially those for National Service and the Suez incident. Or for those who served for several years in the forces/reserves but never got anything, not even a Northern Ireland medal.

Lets face it, the UK aren't exactly good at handing out medals - have only just decided on Sierra Leone and Afghanistan awards. Servicemen are not allowed to wear medals awarded by Kuwait after the Gulf, but most of the other coallition servicemen are. But I would not want us to go the way of the US where you get a medal if you can fire a pistol.

But I do think the comm. medals should be mounted on the right breast or under officially awarded medals.

Just wondering where other peoples' views lie.

#2 Hill_60

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 02:46 PM

This subject can certainly be a can of worms!

I have no problem with the 'unofficial' medals one sees worn in increasing numbers nowadays. I have some, in fact the only medals I have are 'unofficial'. My father has a mixture of official (Fire Brigade) and unofficial (Suez) medals.
We wear them on the left breast for one reason only, we only have an outside pocket on the left side of our blazers!

I have found, in my time as a medal collector, that there is a lobby who despise 'unofficial' medals but quite happily collect medals such as the Kimberley Star, Kimberley Medal or the Medal for the Defence of Ookiep which are really 'unofficial' medals.

What I do find wrong is the practice, and I have met a man who has done this, of awarding 'unofficial' medals to themselves even though they don't meet the 'qualifying conditions' laid down by the firms selling them.
I also know a man who served for 18 months (including training) in the Paras and never left England. He purchased replacement medals claiming he saw service in Northern Ireland for over 3 years; thus qualifying for the Accumulated Campaign Service Medal as well as the GSM with bar for NI. This is a practice that really annoys me.

Lee

#3 ttd0

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 03:51 PM

Good call!

Thanks for pointing out the reason of wearing medals on the left breast, I really should have known that, thanks for filling me in.

As for the para who never left the UK but bought himself the CSM (NI) & Accum. Medal, I just don’t know what to say. If he wanted to commemorate his service he could have looked around and got a General Service Cross (28 days), Volunteer Service Medal (28 days) and an unofficial Jubilee medal (which is attractive and recognised as the ‘unofficial’ medal). I have no problem with him getting those, as after all, he completed P Company. As a TA member I am entitled to the General Service Cross & Volunteer Service Medal, the only way to get a official medal is to do 12 years or get a jubilee medal (which I missed out on) but then again I’m not doing it for medals.

I think a way around an incident such as this is for the authorities to introduce an official National Defence / Service medal for fire, police, ambulance, RNLI, coastguard, armed services & reserves etc…. with criteria as 28 days service so even if you only completed training you would have recognition of actually doing something special. One single medal to recognise service, don’t get me wrong, as I said before I would not like us to go the way of the US and have everyones’ chest looking like a Dulux paint chart.

Tim.

#4 Hill_60

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 04:51 PM

Tim,

I have the:

Voluntary Service Medal; I was a Junior Fireman for a number of years, even picking up an injury. However JFs don't qualify for ANY medal, no matter how long they serve.
General Service Cross; I was in the RMP but didn't qualify for anything, and my dad got me this one!
Hors de Combat Medal; I suffered some very nasty injuries over an 8 year period (16 visits to the local Accident Dept!) in a security role.
Unofficial Golden Jubilee Medal.

I've only worn them once, for my grandfather's funeral; he loved people wearing medals and anyone in the family who had a medal had to wear wore them on that day.

I was at the unveiling and rededication of the Kingsthorpe War Memorial (Northamptonshire) on Sunday 3/11. There where quite a few 'old soldiers' with chests full of official AND unofficial medals. There was one elderly man in the dress uniform of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry who only had 3 medals, all unofficial. It seems to be a growing trend that won't go away and no matter what people think it isn't going to change.

Also, just because someone has an unofficial medal doesn't mean they haven't done something special to 'earn' it. At the risk of being big-headed I have (and yes, I am aware I'm not the only person in the world to this) saved people's lives, lost people's lives, been attacked by people with 'Rambo' type knives and done some slightly dangerous things to make an arrest (I wasn't a Policeman just a Security Officer in one of the largest Shopping Centres in the UK) and I think I earned my Hors de Combat Medal. My Doctor on the other hand thinks I should be content that I can still walk and the head injuries didn't affect me (too) much!!!

Lee

Lee

#5 Deleted_BryanShanks_*

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 07:53 PM

Corporal ttdo

Your first post on this thread, second sentence of the first paragraph, I think, is well put.

Official medals are issued / awarded for any number of reasons. For acts of bravery, campaign service, for long service accommpanied with good conduct - these are the main categories.

Decorations - awarded (not won) for an act or acts of bravery.
Campaign - from full blown wars to smaller conflicts.
Long Service - (which is an award) for Long Service and Good Conduct. Each service has its own qualifying criterea. This indicate the wearer served at least the qualifying length of time without committing any serious offence, such as twisted boot laces. (It also show the wearer was never caught out!).

These are the medals worn on the left breast by the person they were issued to, and only that person.

Commemorative medals have become popular in recent years, they are official "un-official" and fill a gap where the actual campaign medal has no clasp to denote a particular campaign. Best examples of this are the Dunkirk Commemorative (covered by the 1939-45 Star) and the Normandy Campaign (covered by the France and Germany Star). The commemorative medal for both campaigns may be worn by only those who took part in one or both campaigns. The commemorative medal is worn beneath the actual official campaign medal, individually, and must not form part of a bar.

The rules for wearing medals is simple, wear only those you are entitled to and wear them correctly.

Commemorative medals do have their place if used properly. Personally I would not buy or wear one, many of my friends do, I tell them they look like the local scrap yard. Jokingly of course.

If wearing large poppies say something about the person, I would suggest commemorative medals SHOUT out a message. If they must be worn then wear them properly, singly, on the right lapel, not joined to form a bar.

For members of the reserve forces I think they should be recognised with some sort of medal to show at least periods of service. There are official decorations for long service but the qualifying period is far too long.

Lee

I am sure that when you wear your father's medals you wear them with pride - as should be. But, please wear them correctly, on the right breast, not on the left just because you have a pocket on your blazer!!!

The Suez Commemorative Medal is an exception. It should never have got to the stage where veterans of that campaign had to "award" themselves a medal. Hopefully this will be resolved.

The case you outline is classic to this debate. It is not just facing muck and bullets - as the old soldiers will have you believe - but what happen around us every day. My son in law has just retired on pension from the fire service. He has two medals which he wear correctly on the left breast. Police are allowed to wear their official medals.

I would not consider you to be big headed for letting it be known publicly of your deeds and the what you have endured. I think you have earned your Hor's de Combat. Surely the whole point is why should it be necessary for you and people like you having to buy.

You then spoil it all by telling us you were RMP. (Sorry sarge)

Bryan Shanks

#6 Hill_60

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 08:52 PM

Bryan,

You've made some good points, although just one thing; I don't wear my dad's medals, he hasn't given them to me....yet!

However, your last comment has me puzzled. I thought that the RMP was loved by EVERYONE!! I mean, the RMP is the friend of EVERY soldier!! Or did my CO lie to me?

Lee

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 10:08 PM

Lee

Sorry I mis-read the part about your father's medals, my apologies. I hope you do not get your hands on them for a very long time.

Now you have me puzzled! if it wasn't the RMP (I know you are sincere when you say you were loved by everyone), who could I have been thinking of? I am sure no RMP officer would know how to tell a porkie.

Seriously though, when allowed to do the job, especially on active service, you all came through well. I will e-mail you a little story which might amuse you.

Bryan Shanks

#8 ttd0

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 09:15 AM

Lee,

Have you seen or read November Soldier Magazine. There is a article on RMP memebers attached to a unit in Canada to learn new methods. Including instruction with a 50,000v taser gun which makes the victim fall down and say ouch! (very loudly).

Tim.

#9 Hill_60

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 09:27 AM

mad.gif Why do they bring out all the good stuff after I have left, it just ain't fair!

biggrin.gif Saw a WWII Veteran selling poppies yesterday. He had, apart from a smattering of Stars, 3 'unofficial' medals and they were in-line after his WWII medals.

Lee