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
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
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
Ribbon: Dark blue with three white and two red stripes.
1. Quoting the Royal Warrant -
Amended in 1920 to ""any of our military forces" and to include
2. Other commonwealth citations may be
recorded in the relevant countries archives, but for UK forces the
destroyed during the London Blitz in 1940.