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15/08/2020 16:56pm

1914-15 Star

Conflict
 
World War I.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The 1914-15 Star was a British Empire campaign medal presented for service during World War I. It was instituted in 1918 and was awarded to the officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served in any theatre of the War between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 (other than those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star).
 
Recipients of this medal also received the British War Medal and Victory Medal - it was never awarded singly. These three medals were sometimes referred to as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred with Pip representing either this medal or the 1914 Star, (only one of which could be awarded to a soldier); Squeak represented the British War Medal; and Wilfred represented the Victory Medal.
 
Approximately 2,366,000 medals were issued including: 283,500 to the Royal Navy and 71,150 to Canadians.
 
Description
 
The medal is of a four pointed star design and was struck in bright bronze, ensigned with a crown, with a height of 50mm, and a maximum width of 45mm.
 
The obverse of this medal has two crossed gladii (swords) with blades upwards and a wreath of oak leaves, with the Royal Cypher of King George V at foot and an overlaying central scroll with the inscription; ‘1914-15’.
 
The reverse is plain with the recipient's details shown in block capital letters in 3 lines in either small or square sans serif capitals.
 
Those awarded to members of the Royal Naval Division (R.N., R.N.R., R.N.V.R., and R.M.) are impressed in large square serif capitals.
 
The star is suspended from an integral ring attached to the top of the medal above the crown.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 32mm wide and contains the red, white and blue colours of the French Tri-coloure, in shaded and watered stripes - it is the same ribbon that is used for the 1914 Star.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
1914-15 Star **
£30.00+
1914-15 Star Group to Corps
£60.00+
1914-15 Star Group to British Regiments
£85.00+
1914-15 Star Group to R.N.
£80.00+
1914-15 Star Group to R.F.C/R.A.F.
£120.00+
1914-15 Star Group & Plaque to Corps
£230.00+
1914-15 Star Group & Plaque to Regiments
£300.00+
1914-15 Star Group & Plaque to R.N.
£325.00+
1914-15 Star Group & Plaque to R.F.C/R.A.F.
£425.00+
A Group also includes the British War Medal & Victory Medal.
 
* 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 Western Front.
- Other Campaigns Involving British And Empire Forces.
 
The Western Front - Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France.
 
The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the race to the sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France. This line remained essentially unchanged for most of the war.
 
Between 1915 and 1917 there were several major offensives along this front. The attacks employed massive artillery bombardments and massed infantry advances. However, a combination of entrenchments, machine gun nests, barbed wire, and artillery repeatedly inflicted severe casualties on the attackers and counterattacking defenders.
 
As a result, no significant advances were made. Among the most costly of these offensives were the Battle of Verdun with a combined 700,000 dead (estimated), the Battle of the Somme with more than a million casualties (estimated), and the Battle of Passchendaele with roughly 600,000 casualties (estimated).
 
In an effort to break the deadlock, this front saw the introduction of new military technology, including poison gas, aircraft and tanks. But it was only after the adoption of improved tactics that some degree of mobility was restored. The German Spring Offensive of 1918 was made possible by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that marked the end of the conflict on the Eastern Front.
 
Using the recently introduced infiltration tactics, the German armies advanced nearly 60 miles (97 kilometres) to the west, which marked the deepest advance by either side since 1914 and very nearly succeeded in forcing a breakthrough.
 
In spite of the generally stagnant nature of this front, this theatre would prove decisive. The inexorable advance of the Allied armies during the second half of 1918 persuaded the German commanders that defeat was inevitable, and the government was forced to sue for conditions of an armistice. The terms of peace were agreed upon with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
 
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.
 
Other Campaigns Involving British And Empire Forces - During World War I, British and Empire forces were not limited to action in France. They were involved in the following campaigns:-
 
The Easter Rising Campaign - was a rebellion staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. It was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing an Irish Republic. Organised by the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the rising lasted from 24-30 April 1916.
 
Members of the Irish Volunteers, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army, along with 200 members of Cumann na mBan, seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic independent of Britain.
 
Army reinforcements were moved into Dublin and by 28 April, the 1,600 rebels were facing 18 to 20,000 soldiers, the rising was suppressed after seven days of fighting, its leaders were court martialled and executed. Easter Rising casualties were 450 killed, 2,614 wounded, and nine missing, almost all in Dublin. The only significant action elsewhere was at Ashbourne, 10 mi (16 km) north of Dublin. Military casualties were 116 dead, 368 wounded and 9 missing. The Irish and Dublin police forces had 16 killed and 29 wounded, 254 non-combatant civilians died.
 
The Salonika Campaign - A new front was opened in Salonika at the request of the Greek government, intending to support Serbian forces and oppose Bulgaria.
 
The first troops of the British Salonika Army, arrived in Salonika in October 1916, too late to prevent the Serbian Army from retreating into Albania and Greece. French, British and Russian troops arrived in Salonika between 1916 and 1917 and became known as the Army of the East or the Army of the Orient, under the overall command of French General Maurice Sarrail.
 
With the objective of destroying the Bulgarian Army, the French and British launched a new offensive in April 1917, without any significant success. A stalemate ensued without any movement by either side; the front became known as Europe's biggest internment camp for the Allies by the Germans.
 
This situation lasted until 18 September 1918, when the British and Greek Armies, under the command of General George Milne attacked in the Lake Doiran Sector. The Bulgarian Army - now in retreat - signed an armistice on 30 September 1918.
 
The Italy Campaign - Italy joined the war on the Allies' side on 5 May 1915, declaring war on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915 and on Germany on 28 August 1916. The British Army's involvement in the Italian campaign did not start until late 1917, when troops were sent to help prevent a defeat on the Italian front.
 
On 24 October 1917 in the battle of Caporetto the Second Italian Army collapsed and the Italians were forced to retreat to the Piave River, where they could be reinforced with five British and six French Divisions from the Western Front, complete with supporting arms and commanded by General Herbert Plumer.
 
The reinforced Italians successfully managed to halt the Austro-Hungarian advance at the battle of the Piave river. During the Allied counter-attack in October 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Army collapsed after taking heavy losses at the battle of Vittorio Veneto. An armistice was signed shortly afterwards on 3 November 1918.
 
The China Campaign - In 1914, the British Army was involved in what became known as the Siege of Tsingtao when the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers landed in China in support of Japanese forces in the capture of the German port of Tsingtao.
 
The British were part of a 23,000-strong task force which included a mixed British-Indian Brigade of 1,500 troops and the battleship HMS Triumph. A bombardment of the port started on 31 October 1914, and by 7 November, the Japanese 18th Division, 29th Infantry Brigade and the British–Indian Brigade, had stormed and captured the garrison and its 4,000 troops.
 
The East Africa Campaign - 1914 also witnessed the commencement of the East African Campaign against von Lettow-Vorbeck's elusive German and African askari forces. Most British operations in Africa were carried out by African askari units such as the King's African Rifles (KAR), South African or Indian Army units.
 
The British force was led, in turn, by General Horace Smith-Dorrien, South African General Jan Smuts, and British General Arthur Reginald Hoskins
 
The force was composed of units of the KAR and the 27th Bangalore Brigade from the British Indian Army, with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment (North Lancashire) under command. The German forces of von Lettow-Vorbeck's Schutztruppe remained undefeated and surrendered on 25 November 1918, 14 days after the Armistice in Europe.
 
The casualty rate amongst British and Empire troops, excluding the Africans, was 6,000 dead and 3,000 wounded. More troops died from diseases than from enemy action, and illness accounted for 70% of the total casualties.
 
The Gallipoli Campaign - See The Gallipoli Star Entry.
 
The Mesopotamia Campaign - In March 1917, British troops entering Baghdad.The British force fighting in Mesopotamia was principally drawn from the British Indian Army, with only one solely British formation, the 13th (Western) Division. Its objective was to secure the Royal Navy's oil supply from Persia. On 7 November 1914, the British Indian force - led by General Sir John Nixon - invaded Mesopotamia, and on 23 November, entered Basrah.
 
After this initial invasion, there followed a disastrous and humiliating defeat for the British by the Turks at the Siege of Kut-al-Amara from 7 December 1915 – 29 April 1916, when the entire garrison of 13,000 British and Indian troops surrendered.
 
The British reorganised and raised the number of available troops to 250,000. The British eventually regained momentum upon General Frederick Stanley Maude becoming commander, and a new offensive began in December 1916. On 24 February 1917, Kut-al-Amara fell to the joint British and Indian force, and Baghdad was captured in March 1917.
 
A week after the capture of Baghdad, General Maude issued the Proclamation of Baghdad, which contained the famous line, '…our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators'.
 
Lieutenant General Sir William Marshall succeeded Maude following the latter's death from cholera on 18 November 1917. He continued with the River War until October 1918, when the British captured the Mosul oil fields, a development that led to the collapse of the Turkish forces. The Armistice of Mudros with Turkey was signed on 30 October 1918. During the campaign, 100,000 British and Indian casualties were caused. Of these, 53,000 died, with 13,000 of the dead succumbing to disease.
 
The Sinai And Palestine Campaign - The Sinai and Palestine Campaign was fuelled by criticism of the policy of a static defence of the Suez Canal, which employed six infantry divisions and five mounted brigades. After the repulse of the Turkish First Suez Offensive, nine divisions were sent to the Western Front and one to Mesopotamia.
 
The British Army in the Sinai and Palestine subsequently included the 10th, 42nd, 52nd, 53rd, 54th, 60th, 74th and 75th divisions. British yeomanry formed part of the ANZAC Mounted Division, Australian Mounted Division and Yeomanry Mounted Divisions. With the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade, mounted troops formed the Desert Column. The whole force—known as the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF)—was under the command of General Sir Archibald Murray in Cairo.
 
Murray made steady progress against the Turkish forces, which were defeated in the battles of Romani, Magdhaba and Rafa. However, he was repulsed at the first and second battle of Gaza in 1917. The defeat in the Second Battle of Gaza prompted the War Office to change the command of the EEF, and on 28 June 1917, Murray was replaced by General Sir Edmund Allenby, who reinvigorated the campaign.
 
Allenby reorganised his forces along more conventional lines. The EEF now included the Desert Mounted Corps, under Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel; XX Corps under Lieutenant General Sir Phillip Chetwode and XXI Corps under Lieutenant General Edward Bulfin. In October 1917, they defeated the Turkish forces in the third battle of Gaza and the battle of Mughar ridge, which succeeded in causing the Ottoman Seventh and Eighth Armies to withdraw towards Jerusalem and Haifa respectively. This led to the capture of Jerusalem in December 1917.
 
In February and April 1918, Australian mounted troops took part in two raids east across the Jordan River near Es Salt, a village in Palestine 14 miles (23 km) west of Amman. Although these raids were unsuccessful, they encouraged Turkish commanders to believe that the main British effort would be launched across the Jordan, when in fact it would be launched along the coastal plain.
 
The EEF was greatly weakened at this time by the crisis in France, which led to the despatch of the 52nd and 74th Divisions to the Western Front, the breaking up of the Yeomanry Mounted Division, and the replacement of most of the British infantry in four of the remaining divisions with Indian troops. In September 1918, Allenby's forces won the decisive Megiddo Offensive, which precipitated the Armistice of Mudros with the Ottoman Empire, which was signed on 31 October 1918.
 
Total Allied casualties in the Sinai and Palestine campaign were 60,000 of which 20,000 were killed. Some 15,000 of the dead were British.
 
The Persia Campaign - Following the abdication of the Russian Tsar in 1917, the Caucasus Front collapsed, leaving Central Asia - and beyond it India - open to the Turkish Army. The War Office responded with a plan to send a force of hand-picked British officers and NCOs to organise any remaining Russian forces or civilians who were ready to fight the Turkish forces. This force became known as Dunsterforce after its commander, Major General Lionel Charles Dunsterville, the inspiration for the titular character of Rudyard Kipling's novel Stalky & Co.
 
It arrived in Baku in August 1918. It was hoped that Dunsterforce could raise an army from the Christian Georgian, Armenian and Assyrian people who had supported the Russians and had historically feared the Turks. While Dunsterforce had some success the task proved beyond its ability.
 
The Senussi Campaign - In late November 1915, in response to the growing threat from a pro-Turkish Islamic Arab sect known as the Senussi, a composite British body known as the 'Western Frontier Force' was sent into the Libyan Desert to Mersa Matruh, under the command of British Indian Army officer Major General Alexander Wallace. A series of sharp battles against the Arabs ensued at Um Rakhum, Gebel Medwa, and Halazin during December and January.
 
The Western Desert Force, now under Major General William Peyton, re-occupied Sidi Barrani and Sallum in February and March 1916. Shipwrecked British seamen from HMT Moorina and HMS Tara, who had been held at Bir Hakeim, were rescued by a contingent of armoured cars led by the Duke of Westminster.
 
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.