Posted 6 years ago
When Germany invaded Belgium, Britain remained true to the 1839 Treaty of London and came to Belgium’s defense. When it did, a global empire went to war.
The medal was designed by a Scottish sculptor named William McMillan who had served in the trenches during the war. The front of this medal depicts a Britannia type Winged Victory, and the reverse is simply inscribed “The Great War for Civilization 1914-1919” This includes operations that continued in Asia and Russia after the 1918 Armistice. A special bilingual issue of the British Victory Medal was created for South Africa in both English and Dutch, shown in the fourth photo.
Over six million British Empire medals were issued to soldiers from every part of the globe. The edges of British medals are impressed with the serial number, rank, name, and unit of the recipient. Thus, most British Victory Medals can be associated with an individual. Often they can be researched. Unfortunately, about 70% of WWI service records in London were destroyed by German bombing in WWII. However; there are local archives in places across the UK and there are other national archives, such as the one in Canada.
To convey the scope and put a human face on the War, I have sought out medals representative of the various dominions and other lands of the empire:
Private H.O. Carson, New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Private J.C. Cuthill, Scottish Rifles
Private P.J. Gouws, South African Medical Corps
Private D. G. Henderson, 24th Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces
Private A. Hughes, 4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment
Private T.R. Johns, 5th Canadian Infantry
Sepoy Ramat Kahn, 71st Punjabis (present India)
Private Kaipira, 1st King’s African Rifles (British East Africa)
Private H.J. Miller, 21st London Regiment
Sepoy Gulam Mohamed, 127th Baluchis (present Pakistan)
Private J. Moynes, Royal Irish Fusiliers
Sepoy Padam Nath, Burmese Military Police
* * * * * * * * * *
Wherever they are now resting, may they rest in peace.
On this anniversary of the Armistice ending that war, Happy Veterans Day to my fellow veterans, and a safe and thoughtful Remembrance Day to you all.