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25/02/2020 18:26pm

British War Medal 1939-45

Conflict
 
World War II.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The British War Medal 1939-1945 was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and awarded to those who had served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy full-time for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.
 
In the Merchant Navy, the 28 days must have been served at sea. It is sometimes described as the ‘Victory Medal’ for World War II, although that is not its correct name.
 
The medal was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding.
 
The medal was designed by Edward Carter.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in cupro-nickel - although the ones issued to Canadian forces were struck in silver.
 
The obverse of this medal depicts the crowned coinage effigy of King George VI, facing left, and the inscription; ‘GEORGIVS VI D: G: BR: OMN: REX ET INDIAE IMP:’ (George VI by the grace of God King of Great Britain and Emperor of India).
 
The reverse depicts a lion standing on the body of a double-headed dragon. The dragon's heads are those of an eagle and a dragon to signify the principal occidental and oriental enemies. At the top, just right of centre are the dates; ‘1939/1945’ in two lines.
 
The ribbon suspender is of the plain, straight and non-swivelling style riveted to the medal.
 
The medals were issued un-named; except for those awarded to personnel of the Canadian Merchant Marine, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who served only on the RCMP schooner St. Roch, the Royal Indian Army, South African and Australian forces where the recipient's details can be found on the medal's rim.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 32mm wide and consists of a number of vertical stripes of red white and blue, these representing the colours of the Union Flag.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
A single bronze oak leaf emblem is worn to signify a ‘Mention in Despatches’ and a silver oak leaf is worn to signify an award of a King's Commendation for Brave Conduct.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
British War Medal 1939-45
£10.00
Canadian Silver Issue
£25.00
With Mentioned in Despatches emblem (add)
£10.00
 
* 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.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- British Forces During World War II.
 
British Forces During World War II - The British Army during the Second World War was, in 1939, a volunteer army, that introduced limited conscription in early 1939, and full conscription shortly after the declaration of war with Germany. During the early years of the war, the army suffered defeat in almost every theatre in which it was deployed. With mass conscription, the expansion of the army was reflected in the formation of larger armies and army groups. From 1943, the larger and better equipped British Army hardly suffered a strategic defeat.
 
The pre-war British Army was trained and equipped to be a small mechanized professional army. However, its main function was to garrison the British Empire and as became evident during the war, was woefully unprepared and ill-equipped for a war with multiple enemies on multiple fronts. The army at the start of the war remained small in comparison to its enemies and up to 1939 would remain an all-volunteer force; by the end of the war over 3.5 million men had served in the army.
 
The army was called upon to fight around the world, starting with campaigns in Europe in 1940, and after the Dunkirk evacuation fought on in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East. After a series of setbacks, retreats and evacuations, the British Army eventually, with its Allies, gained the upper hand.
 
This started with victory in Africa and then Italy was forced to surrender after the invasions of Sicily and mainland Italy itself. In the last years of the war, the army returned to France driving the German Army back into Germany, while in the Far East forcing the Japanese back from the Indian border into eastern Burma. Both the Germans and Japanese were defeated by 1945, and surrendered within months of each other.
 
With the expansion of the British Army to fight a world war, new armies were formed, and eventually army groups were created to control even larger formations. In command of these new armies, eight men would be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. The army commanders not only had to manage the new armies, but also a new type of soldier in formations like the Special Air Service, Army Commandos and the Parachute Regiment.
 
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.