Posted 3 years ago
A very cool thing about British medals is the tradition of impressing the name and regiment of the recipient around the edge. As part of my Victory Medal collecting, I try to obtain a British Victory from each corner of their empire.
My newest acquisitions are… (drum roll please):
Left: The British West Indies Regiment. The regiment was made up of volunteers from Jamaica, the Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St, Vincent, British Guiana, British Honduras and the Leeward Islands. I imagine winter on the Western Front was particularly unpleasant for them! This medal is inscribed “2513 PTE. W. JORDON, BR. W. I. R.” and I looked up his medals index card from the British National Archives, and it confirms his regiment, as well as that he was awarded the British War Medal, which unfortunately has been separated from his Victory. Somewhere this medal acquired a non-British ribbon (too narrow). The ribbon seems to match American Victory medal ribbons, and I’ve left it on to show the difference.
Center: First battalion, First Gurkha Regiment. The Gurkhas of Nepal are legendary for their fierceness and the use of their kukri - a large and lethal edged weapon that each man carries. This medal is inscribed to “4322 RFMN. CHHABILAL BURA, 1-1 GRKS.” Rather than privates, Gurkhas carry the title “Rifleman.” The 1st Battalion saw service on the Western Front, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine.
Right: Rustenburg Kommando. I had a South African Medical Corps Victory in my collection, but I always wanted one from a Kommando because the units are uniquely South African. This one is inscribed “BURG. J.D. OPPERMAN, RUSTENBURG KDO”. During the Boer War, Kommandos were irregular militias fighting the British. Militiamen of the Commandos were called Burghers. The Kommando was named after the area they came from and defended. In WWI, several of the Kommandos were mobilized to fight for the British in German South West Africa. Unlike the other British Victories, the back of this one is in English and Dutch, the language of the Boers.
Here are some of the other parts of the British Empire I’ve collected medals for: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/36311-the-wwi-victory-medal-series-british?in=collection-1343