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29/11/2021 09:03am

Volunteer Officer’s Decoration

History
 
The Volunteer Officers' Decoration, sometimes just referred to as the Volunteer Decoration, was instituted in 1892. The medal was presented for long service and was awarded for a minimum of 20 years ‘…long and meritorious services by commissioned officers of proved capacity in Our Volunteer Force’ (of Great Britain).
 
Prior service in the Regular Army counted as double towards qualification.
 
The award entitled the recipient to use the post-nominal letters ‘VD’.
 
In May 1894, the award of the decoration was extended by Royal Warrant to officers of Volunteer Forces throughout the British Empire, defined as being India, the Crown colonies and the Crown dependencies, with the same terms and conditions applying except that in the case of India the length of qualifying service was set at 18 years.
 
Recipients had to have been recommended by the Commanding Officer of their Corps, and duly certified by the District Military Authorities in which the Corps was located as ‘…having been an efficient and thoroughly capable Officer, in every way deserving of such a decoration’.
 
It was further stipulated that ‘…In order to make such additional provision as shall effectually preserve pure this most honourable distinction, it is ordained, that if any person on whom it shall be conferred be convicted of any act derogatory to his honour as an Officer and gentleman, his name shall forthwith be erased from the registry of individuals upon whom the said Decoration shall have been conferred’.
 
The names of overseas officers granted the decoration or removed from the registry were not published in the London Gazette but instead published in the Official Gazette of India or of the relevant colony or dependency.
 
The Volunteer Officers' Decoration was superseded in the colonies in 1899 by the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration and the Indian Volunteer Forces Officers' Decoration.
 
Recipients of the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration were, as with the previous award, allowed to use the post-nominal letters VD.
 
Upon the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908, the Volunteer Officers' Decoration was superseded in Great Britain by the Territorial Decoration. However, the Volunteer Officers' Decoration continued to be awarded in some dependencies, Bermuda being the last to award it until superseded there by the Efficiency Decoration in September 1930.
 
Description
 
The medal is oval, 36mm wide and 43mm in height and was struck in silver, although some parts are silver-gilt. The obverse of this medal is in the form of an oak leaf wreath in silver, tied with gold, with the Royal Cypher below the Royal crown, both in gold, in the centre. four versions of the decoration have been awarded, this is summarised as follows:-
 
  1. The original version issued from 1892 had the Royal Cypher; ‘VR’ of Queen Victoria below the Royal crown in the centre, although medals for Colonial and Indian officers were issued with; ‘VRI’ (Victoria Regina Imperatrix) in place of; ‘VR’.
  2. The King Edward VII version, had the Royal Cypher; ‘ER VII’, and was introduced after his succession to the throne in 1901 but ceased to be awarded to officers of the United Kingdom's Volunteer Force when it was superseded by the Territorial Decoration in 1908, although it continued to be awarded in some Crown Dependencies until 1910.
  3. The King George V version, had the Royal Cypher; ‘GVR’, and was introduced after his succession to the throne in 1910. This version was only awarded in some Crown Dependencies, instead of the Volunteer Officers' Decoration for India and the Colonies.
 
The reverse is smooth but contains a hallmark.
 
The ribbon suspender is in the form of a large ring attached to a mount that surmounts the medal.
 
The medal was awarded unnamed, but was frequently unofficially engraved in various styles.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 38mm wide and dark green in colour and is suspended from a silver bar-brooch decorated with an oak leaf pattern.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value */**
 
Victoria VR issue
£150.00
Victoria VRI issue
£325.00
Edward VII issue
£140.00
George V issue
£130.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
** The individual medal value will vary considerably based on the recipient’s details.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on the following:-
 
- The British Militia.
- The Special Reserve.
- The Volunteer Force
- The Yeomanry.
- The Territorial Force.
- The Army Reserve.
- The Royal Naval Reserve.
- The Royal Marines Reserve.
- The Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
 
The British Militia - In 1707, the Acts of Union united the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. The English and Welsh Militia and the Scottish Militia became part of the framework of the new British armed services. The Royal Scots Navy was incorporated into the Royal Navy, and the Scottish military (as opposed to naval) forces merged with the English, with the regular Scottish regiments maintaining their identities, although the command of the new British Army was from England.
 
The Militia Act 1757 had effect only in England and Wales and aimed to create a professional national military reserve. Records were kept, and the men were selected by ballot to serve for longer periods. Uniforms and weapons were provided, and the force was 'embodied' from time to time for training.
 
The threat of Ireland's belligerent all-Protestant militia to copy the American colonists and seek to free their country from British control if Ireland's demands for free trade were not met, and the inability of the British, after years of war overseas, to police Ireland easily, would later lead to the Union of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.
 
The militia was embodied at various times during the French and Napoleonic Wars. It served at several strategic locations and was particularly stationed on the South Coast and in Ireland. A number of camps were held at Brighton, where the militia regiments were reviewed by the Prince Regent, the origin of the song 'Brighton Camp'.
 
The militia could not be compelled to serve overseas, but it was seen as a training reserve for the army, as bounties were offered to men who opted to 'exchange' from the militia to the regular army. Unlike many British Volunteer Corps formations, the uniforms of the militia resembled standing army uniforms trimmed with silver lace instead of gold.
 
Militia regiments were infantry regiments; there were no militia artillery units until 1854.
 
Originally highly autonomous, the units of the Militia were integrated into the Special Reserve after the Childers Reforms in 1881.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Special Reserve - The militia was transformed into the Special Reserve by the military reforms of Haldane in the reforming post 1906 Liberal government. In 1908 the militia infantry battalions were re-designated as 'reserve' and a number were amalgamated or disbanded.
 
Numbered Territorial Force battalions, ranking after the Special Reserve, were formed from the volunteer units at the same time. Altogether, 101 infantry battalions, 33 artillery regiments and two engineer regiments of special reservists were formed.
 
Upon mobilisation, the special reserve units would be formed at the depot and continue training while guarding vulnerable points in Britain. The special reserve units remained in Britain throughout the First World War, but their rank and file did not, since the object of the special reserve was to supply drafts of replacements for the overseas units of the regiment. The original militiamen soon disappeared, and the battalions became training units pure and simple.
 
The Special Reserve reverted to its militia designation in 1921, then to Supplementary Reserve in 1924, though the units were effectively placed in 'suspended animation' until disbanded in 1953.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Volunteer Force - The Volunteer Force was a citizen army of part-time rifle, artillery and engineer corps, created as a popular movement throughout the British Empire in 1859. Originally highly autonomous, the units of volunteers became increasingly integrated with the British Army after the Childers Reforms in 1881, before forming part of the Territorial Force in 1908.
 
Most of the regiments of the present Territorial Army Infantry, Artillery, Engineers and Signals units are directly descended from Volunteer Force units.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Yeomanry - Yeomanry is a designation used by a number of units or sub-units of the British Territorial Army, descended from volunteer cavalry regiments. Today, Yeomanry units may serve in a variety of different military roles.
 
Originally highly autonomous, the units of the Yeomanary became increasingly integrated with the British Army after the Childers Reforms in 1881, before forming part of the Territorial Force in 1908.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Territorial Force - The Territorial Force (TF) was the volunteer reserve component of the British Army from 1908 to 1920, when it became the Territorial Army (now the Army Reserve). The Territorial Force was formed by the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane, following the enactment of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, which combined and re-organised the old Volunteer Army with the Yeomanry.
 
The TF was formed on 1 April 1908. As part of the same process, remaining units of militia were renamed Special Reserve.
 
The TF was envisaged as a home defence force for service during wartime; units were liable to serve anywhere within the United Kingdom when the force was embodied, but could not be compelled to serve outside the country.
 
However, any member or unit of the force could volunteer to be liable for overseas service - in 1910, when asked to nominate for Imperial Service overseas in the event of mobilisation, less than 10 percent of the Force chose to do so.
 
Individual members could also choose to be liable to be called up for service within the United Kingdom even in situations when the force as a whole was not embodied. The TF became the Army Reserve in 2013.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Army Reserve - The Army Reserve (known as the Territorial Army (TA) and the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) from 1920 to 2013) is a volunteer active-duty reservist force and integrated element of the British Army.
 
The Army Reserve was created as the Territorial Force in 1908 by the Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane, when the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 combined the previously civilian-administered Volunteer Force, with the mounted Yeomanry (at the same time the Militia was renamed the Special Reserve).
 
Most Volunteer infantry units had unique identities, but lost these in the re-organisation, becoming Territorial battalions of Regular Army infantry regiments. Some, notably the London, Monmouthshire and Hertfordshire Regiments maintained a separate identity.
 
Its original purpose was home defence, although the establishment of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve in 1967 involved a restructuring and revised doctrine leading to the provision of routine support for the regular army overseas. Reservists in the past also served as constables or bailiffs, even holding positions of civic duty as overseer of their parish.
 
The more modern Yeomen of the 18th century were cavalry-based units, which were often used to suppress riots such as the infamous Peterloo Massacre. Several units that are now part of the Army Reserve bear the title 'militia', reflecting their origins as part of that organisation prior to the formation of the Army Reserve.
 
During periods of total war, the Army Reserve is incorporated by the Royal Prerogative into Regular Service under one code of Military Law for the duration of hostilities or until de-activation is decided upon. After the Second World War, for example, the Army Reserve - or Territorial Army as it was known then - was not demobilised until 1947.
 
Army Reservists normally have a full-time civilian job or career, which in some cases provides skills and expertise that are directly transferable to a specialist military role, such as NHS employees serving in Reservist Army Medical Services units. All Army Reserve personnel have their civilian jobs protected to a limited extent by law should they be compulsorily mobilised.
 
There is, however, no legal protection against discrimination in employment for membership of the Army Reserve in the normal course of events (i.e. when not mobilised). The highest-ranking officer in the Army Reserve is Major-General Greg Smith TD, who is Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets).
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Royal Naval Reserve - The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom.
 
The present RNR was formed in 1958 by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), created 1903. The RNR was active in both the First and Second World Wars and was re-activated in 2003 for the Second Gulf War (Iraq War).
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Royal Marines Reserve - The role of the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) of the United Kingdom is to augment the regular Royal Marines in times of war or national crisis. The RMR consists of some 600-1000 trained ranks distributed among the four units within the UK. About 10 percent of the force are working with the Regular Corps on long-term attachments in all of the Royal Marines regular units.
 
All the volunteers within the RMR pass through the same rigorous commando course as the regulars. The former may be civilians with no previous military experience or are former regular Royal Marines.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Royal Auxiliary Air Force - The Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF), originally the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF), is the voluntary active duty reserve element of the Royal Air Force, providing a primary reinforcement capability for the regular service.
 
It consists of paid volunteers who give up some of their weekends, evenings and holidays to train at one of a number of squadrons around the United Kingdom. Its current mission is to provide trained personnel in support of the RAF.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
End of database.