Tag Archives: medal

Peace Medals

When all the fighting was done, the UK decided to have a national Peace Celebration. The selected day was Saturday 19th July 1919. This was a little optimistic as the Great War was not officially over when they started the planning, and we were still engaged fighting the Bolsheviks in Russia. We were also still fighting amongst ourselves, with mutinies in Southampton, Calais and Kinmel and tanks on the streets of Glasgow.

There was trouble during the celebrations too, with the riot at Luton being the best known. The town museum, as I remember from a visit many years ago, has a livelier version of events than The Guardian. They blame trouble between the The Discharged Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Federation and the Comrades of the Great Warfollowed by a riot which involved looting a piano shop and playing Keep the Home Fires Burning after setting fire to the Town Hall. The two ex-service organisations had different political outlooks, the Comrades of the Great War being set up as a right wing alternative to The Discharged Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Federation. Eventually they were to resolve their differences and become founder organisations of the British Legion.

Part of the Peace Celebrations featured the giving of medallions, often in white metal, to local school children. Unlike 1911, Nottingham didn’t produce a medal. The Nottingham Peace Celebrations provided sports, cinema visits, fancy dress parades and teas for 30,000 children, though there is no mention of medals, apart from sports prizes.

Some places provided generic medals, though others were specifically made for individual towns and villages. The Derby Peace Medal in the header page is one of the better examples of design – featuring the badge of the local regiment.

The Sheffield medal is more typical, with a generic figure of Peace on one side and the city coat of arms on the other side.

The Birmingham medal is slightly better from the design point of view – I’ve always liked this representation of Victory. It features on a generic peace medal, with an agricultural scene on the reverse, which was the first of these medals I ever had (given to me by my grandfather back in the 1970s).

This is the obverse and reverse of the Derby medal.

Note: I’ve added a link to the previous post to access a picture of the 1911 silver steward’s jewel.

Thoughts of Mayors and Medals

I thought it was time for more from the junk box. We’ve covered coronation medals and other commemoratives so here is something a bit different.

This is a fund raising medal issued by the Borough of Newark to raise funds for the families of soldiers who fought in what they refer to as the Transvaal War, now generally known as the Boer War in the UK, though they have other names for it in South Africa. I won’t discuss the Boer War here, as it will take a lot of space and reflects no credit on the British.

As you can see, it is one step beyond the junk box and appears to have been buried at some point. It also looks like someone has attempted to put a hole through it at the top, probably to use it as a watch fob or wear it on a ribbon.

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Newark  Fund Raising Medal 1900 (Reverse)

They originally cost a shilling, with silver ones costing five shillings and a case costing sixpence extra. There were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in £1, in case you are a decimal baby.

As you can see from a careful look at the picture, they were made by Vaughtons of Birmingham.

It is the local equivalent of the Absent Minded Beggar medal, part of a massive Boer War fundraising effort.

The war served as something of a wake-up call to the British, when they got the runaround from a bunch of farmers. This meant that we called for volunteers and found that one in three was rejected due to the effects of poor diet. This would lead to the Education (Provision of Meals) Act (1906) because properly fed citizens were needed for the services. I would have thought it was counter-productive as fatter soldiers make bigger targets, but I suppose they need to be strong enough to march and carry things.

There’s a picture of F H Appleby here, with a truly inspiring soup strainer moustache, with further details here. He really was a busy man.

The spiritual descendent of this medal is the current Newark Patriotic Fund, which helps ex-servicemen and their families.