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Awards for Valour
The above shows the reverse of the Allied Victory Medal.

Awards for Valour

There were many medals awarded during the First World War. Nearly everybody who served received at least one, though campaign medals were usually limited to a maximum of three per person. In addition to campaign medals there were awards for gallantry, which were much harder to come by. Many families have campaign medals which have been passed down as heirlooms, but those with gallantry medals are very rare indeed. If you have one, you can be sure that your ancestor was brave and quite possibly saved the lives of many others.

1.
A bronze medal, in the shape of a star, was awarded to those who served in the first few weeks of the war, from 5th August to 22nd November 1914. What was the official name of this award?
The 1914 Star
The 1914 War Medal
The Expeditionary Star
The Expeditionary War Medal
Those entitled to receive the 1914 Star helped the French to hold back the German advance whilst more men were recruited, trained and equipped. They are all worthy of honour for the part they played at the war's beginning. The Battles of Mons, the Marne and the first Battle of Ypres are just three of the major engagements during this period. Around 378,000 1914 Stars were awarded in total
2.
The 1914-15 Star was awarded to those who served from 5th August 1914 to 31st December 1915, except for those awarded the 1914 Star. Considerably more of these medals were awarded than the 1914 Star, but how many?
Approximately 600,000 were awarded
Approximately 1,200,000 were awarded
Approximately 1,800,000 were awarded
Approximately 2,400,000 were awarded
By the end of 1915 the number of men recruited had increased immensely. Newly signed up forces were arriving in France in huge numbers to replace men killed or wounded in battle and to swell the army's ranks
3.
The medal which was awarded the most was The British War Medal, 1914-18. It was a round, silver medal given to all who served in the British or Imperial forces during the war. A different version of the medal was given to those who served in the Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. What was different about the medal they received?
It bore an elephant, symbol of Asia
It was made from bronze rather than silver
It was written in Chinese, rather than in English
It was shaped as a star rather than round
6,500,000 of The British War Medal, 1914-18, were given out. Of these, 110,000 were made of bronze. Some people who served up to 1920, two years after the war ended, were later added to those eligible for the award
4.
5,700,000 people received The Allied Victory Medal. This was made of bronze and showed a female figure who represented victory. What unusual feature did the figure have?
She had horns
She wore a crown
She had wings
She carried a shield
Less people were eligible to receive The Allied Victory Medal than The British War Medal. A general rule was that those who received The Allied Victory Medal also received The British War Medal, though not vice versa
5.
The three medals, The 1914 Star or The 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and The Allied Victory Medal, were given what nicknames?
Tom, Dick and Harry
Pip, Squeak and Wilfred
George, Ted and Vicky
Arthur, Martha and Mary
A comic strip of the time, in the Daily Mirror newspaper, featured the characters Pip the dog, Squeak the penguin and Wilfred the rabbit. For reasons unknown, the names of the characters were attached to the medals. Traditionally the three medals were worn together and displayed in the same order by those who had all three
6.
The Territorial Force War Medal, 1914-1919, was given to those who served in The Territorial Force or The Territorial Force Nursing Service before 30th September 1914. What words were inscribed on the back of the medal?
For voluntary service to The British Empire
For voluntary service to King George V
For voluntary service to the realm
For voluntary service overseas
In addition to joining the service before 30th September 1914, those awarded the medal must also have served in a war zone between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. Anyone who received the 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star was not eligible to receive the Territorial War Medal. The Territorial Force was the forerunner of the modern Territorial Army. It was initially set up to serve only within the UK but volunteers were sent throughout the Empire as needed, including the battlefields in France
7.
On 12th September 1916 an award was issued for those invalided out of armed service due to sickness or injury caused by the war. What was the name of this award?
The Heroes' Badge
The Bronze Star
The Honourable Discharge Medal
The Silver War Badge
On the badge were the words, “For King and Empire; Services Rendered.” This led to it also being called the “Services Rendered Badge." After April 1918 the badge was also awarded to civilians attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps, including female nurses
8.
The Mercantile Marine War Medal was given to members of the Merchant Navy who were exposed to danger during the war. Its ribbon was green and red. What did these two colours represent?
The port and starboard sides of a ship
The dangers of fire and water
The joining of land and sea
The supply of food and weapons
The colours were the same as the running lights used to differentiate the two sides of a ship. The medal showed a merchant ship in rough seas and an enemy submarine close by. A total of 133,135 Mercantile Marine War Medals were awarded
9.
On 3rd June 1918, a new award, the DFC, was granted specifically for which branch of the military?
The Royal Navy
The Royal Air Force
The Royal Marines
The British Army
DFC stood for Distinguished Flying Cross and was awarded to airmen for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy". At the time, the Royal Air Force was new. It was formed on 1st April 1918, only a few months before the war ended. Previously, pilots had flown for the Royal Flying Corps, which was attached to the army, or the Royal Naval Air Service. The two services were merged together to form the RAF, which is now the oldest independent air force in the world
10.
The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest military honour, awarded for "valour in the face of the enemy". To how many people was it awarded during the First World War?
427 people
527 people
627 people
727 people
The Victoria Cross was awarded 628 times and to 627 people. Captain Noel Chavasse, a doctor serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, was awarded the VC twice. Of those who received the award about one quarter were killed in action. The First World War saw more VCs awarded than any other conflict. In the Second World War only 181 were given out

 

Author:  Graeme Haw

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