Posted 7 years ago
At the end of WWI, the victorious nations created a common medal, known as the victory medal. The ribbon for each nation was the same - a double rainbow, juxtaposed with red at the center, moving out to violet at the edges. The face of each medal was to have a winged figure of victory, the reverse to have the words “The Great War for Civilization”. Of all the countries on the allied side, the rarest versions are from Siam and Brazil.
I have original medals from all the other countries but these two. After years I have finally settled on buying copies. For now. One day I hope to have originals of these too, but at least this way I can display a whole set.
Siam (Thailand) joined the war on the allied side in July 1917. Its official reason was to respond to Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. The real goal was to gain European recognition of Siam’s sovereignty in its internal and international affairs. It sent a force of about 1,200 troops to Europe. All the officers and soldiers of the task force, sailors that transported them and the royalty and staff officers that sent them were all given this medal. Total production of the medal was about 1,500.
Since Siamese culture didn’t have the traditional Western figure of victory, they used the image of a deity based on Vishnu riding the mythical bird Garuda. Its four hands hold a club, a disk, a conch shell and a lotus flower. The back of the medal translates as “The Great War for Civilization.”
Brazil also entered the war over Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare. Brazil had a sizable merchant fleet and had lost a number of ships to German submarines when it finally threw in with the allies in October 1917. The nation’s contribution to the war was two cruisers and two destroyers with their crews placed under command of the British Admiralty. Brazilian aviators were trained in England and used to patrol the coast. The Brazilians also sent a medical mission to Europe plus soldiers to protect it that set up several field medical stations and a 300 bed hospital near Paris. Approximately 2,500 of these medals were produced for award to these sailors, soldiers and medical personnel.
The Brazilian winged Victory looks angel-like. The reverse has “The great war for civilization” in Portuguese over the shields of the allied countries.
The other medals in this series are:
The British Empire: