The Military Medal GV

Description: silver, 36mm diameter, with a swivelling suspension. This gallantry award has been issued with six different obverses for the three monarchs since its inception in 1916. Our illustrated example is the most frequently encountered; that of King George the V, uncrowned, in Field Marshal's uniform. The vast majority of this type were issued for acts of bravery during the First Word War. The medal reverse depicts the crowned royal cypher over the words "FOR BRAVERY IN THE FIELD" all within a laurel wreath.
  
 The Military Medal was instituted by Royal Warrant on the 25th March 1916 to be awarded for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty performed by non-commissioned officers and men of our army in the field" 1. Some retrospective awards were made. Women were included (by an amendment of the 21st July 1916) whether British subjects or not for "bravery and devotion under fire". A  bar was issued for subsequent awards and a silver rosette could be worn when the ribbon alone was worn to denote the award of a bar. The award of the Military Medal was announced officially in the London Gazette hence this is the source for verification of this award. This "LG" notification was generally published as a straightforward list of names but with the recipients home town included from September 1917. Unfortunately the citation is not published, and the original documentation recording citations has not survived 2. Some citations may be found in unit histories or local newspaper archives. A few examples of Military Medal citations are given below to give you some idea of the nature of the award. These are extracted from the "29th Divisional Artillery War Record and Honours Book 1915 -1 918" by Lieut.-Colonel R. M. Johnson, which is a well known publication for its detailed coverage of that unit's awards. (oh if only there were more like it)

Fryer, T. H., 40929, Gunner, Y/29th Trench Mortar Battery.
Somme, 1916 - During the operations on the night 7th/8th May, Y29 Trench Mortar battery was heavily shelled. Shortly before midnight No. 1 emplacement was wrecked, the mortar smashed, the Sergeant in charge was killed, and a badly wounded corporal was buried beneath the debris. Gunner Fryer, though badly shaken, proceeded unaided to dig out the corporal whilst the bombardment was in progress and got him safely under cover ( M. M. immediate 10/8/16)

Wilders, S., 43341, Bombr., "B" Battery, R.H.A.
Flanders, 1918.—On September 29th, near Gheluveldt and on subsequent occasions near Courtrai, Bombardier Wilders was in charge of three Lewis guns moving with advanced sections of the battery. He boldly brought his Lewis guns into action at short range and dislodged small parties of the enemy who were preventing the guns from getting into action, and then explored several dug-outs to make certain that the ground was clear of the enemy. Whenever the guns of the battery have been in advanced positions Bombardier Wilders has gone forward with his Lewis guns to protect them from the action of enemy infantry. His resolute courage and admirable dispositions have instilled confidence into officers and men, enabling the battery to push boldly forward at times when its close support has been invaluable to our advancing infantry. (M.M. (immediate) 23/1/19).

Jefford, J. W., 49124, Corpl., "B" Battery, R.H.A.
Flanders, 1917.—About 0045 on the 23rd August eight light horse teams arrived at the battery position near Boesinghe to move the guns forward. While the guns were being limbered up a heavy barrage of gas shell was opened on the battery position. Corpl. Jefford was hit by a piece of shell in the face which also smashed his box respirator. In spite of his wound and of having no gas mask he continued to cheer on the drivers and get the teams unhooked and away as ordered. He refused to go to the dressing station until all the horses were clear and then only when given a direct order to do so. By his coolness and courage he materially helped to get the horses away without casualties. (M.M. (immediate) 2/11/17).

Note the difference between gazetting dates and the actual action dates, which can be approximated to three or four months for most awards. Figures for the award associated with the 1914 - 1918 war are often quoted as follows: Total awards:; 115,429. First bars; 5784, second bars: 180, third bars: 1. with a total of 127 medals to women.

Naming: (1914-1918 awards) impressed in thin sans serif capitals. The unit as impressed tends to follow that published in the London Gazette - which may or may not show sub-unit such as battalion /battery. See illustrated examples below. It is important to note that unnamed examples were issued to foreigners. For some reason in the late 1990's a large quantity of these appeared on the market often described on dealers lists as "unnamed as issued to foreign nationals" this seems to have now died down - I have no idea where these came from. Copies of the medal exist notable by their pitted surface.

Ribbon: Dark blue with three white and two red stripes.

notes
1. Quoting the Royal Warrant - Amended in 1920 to ""any of our military forces" and to include allied armies.
2. Other commonwealth citations may be recorded in the relevant countries archives, but for UK forces the archives were destroyed during the London Blitz in 1940.

 

 

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482006. Sjt. A. Ardern. RE
49th Divisional Signal Company, Royal Engineers.
Announced in the London Gazette of the17th June 1919
 (For France and Flanders)
Ardern was also Mention in Dispatches LG 18th May 1917 

41292 Cpl S. E. Milner
22nd Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Announced in the London Gazette of the   29th March 1919.
 (For Italy)
L-20135 Bmbr. H. Kavanagh.
"D" Battery, 36th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Announced in the London Gazette of the 23rd February 1918
(For France and Flanders)
3-8885 Pte. M. Bell.
1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.
Announced in the London Gazette of the 13th March 1919
(For France and Flanders)
G-25168 L.Cpl R. C. Waller
1st Battalion the Queens Regiment (Royal West Surrey) attached to the Machine Gun Corps.
Announced in the London Gazette of the 29th August, 1918
 (For France and Flanders)

240112 Cpl. G. E. Wilkinson
5th Battalion West Riding Regiment. (Duke of Wellington's)
Award announced in the London Gazette of the18th October 1917
(For France and Flanders)
Serjeant George Emsley Wilkinson,  died of wounds in July 1918 - he was the son of
 R.A. and Jane Wilkinson of "Park View", Kirkburton Huddersfield.
He is Buried in the Vertus Communal Cemetery, Marne, France.

 
 

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