Gallantry Medals Gallantry medals reward a particularly brave or ...

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Gallantry Medals Gallantry medals reward a particularly brave or ...

Gallantry MedalsGallantry medals reward a particularly brave or gallant action. The differentmedals may provide you with clues about your relative, for example, an Armyofficer with a Military Medal must have served through in the ranks at one timeas only non commissioned officers and men were eligible for this award. Mostgallantry medals were named (although those that were not engraved arementioned below), and you should be able to get some idea of the date byseeing which sovereign is represented on it.First World War medals feature the head of King George V, while SecondWorld War medals feature King George VI (either as the coinage head, or asthe royal cipher). Some awards are much better documented than others (forexample, the Victoria Cross has a great amount of information available whilea Mention in Despatches can be very difficult to trace). An award can bemade more than once, and if this happens the recipient will be given a ‘bar’ towear on the original medal’s ribbon.Notification of an award (which just gives the information that an individualhas been awarded a particular decoration) would be published in the LondonGazette - sometimes the citation (a short description of why the award wasgiven) would accompany this, sometimes this would appear in a later issueand sometimes no citation would appear. No citations were published forawards announced in either of the two half-yearly Honours Lists published inJanuary (new year) and June (birthday). Few citations were published duringthe Second World War. There is often a considerable delay between the dateof the award and the date that the notification, and the citation if appropriate,was published. Often an individual would be recommended for a particularaward, but this would not be granted, or he or she would be awarded a lesserdecoration.You can now check the London Gazette online athttp://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveSearch.asp?WebType=0Another type of award that is not an official award, and therefore does notfeature in the London Gazette, are the gallantry certificates distributed bycommands such as divisions or corps. These would confer local recognition,and may be recorded in war diaries or published histories.Imperial War Museum Your History www.iwm.org.uk/yourhistory


Claiming Gallantry MedalsAll gallantry decorations should have been either presented or posted to theindividual - therefore no gallantry decorations should be unclaimed.Caring for medals at homeMedal ribbons• Remove medal ribbons before cleaning (you may want to replace themif frayed or dirty)• If medals are broach mounted for wearing it may not be possible toremove the ribbons. Take care not to get cleaning agent on the ribbon,as it will stain.• If the medals are court-mounted, you will have to cut the cotton threadsholding the medals in order to clean themCleaning medals and metal badges• Don’t use harsh chemical cleaners or abrasive cloths• For preference use a silver cleaner (such as Silvo silver polish) onmedals and badges whether they are made of silver, brass, cupronickelor white metal• Use a brass polish (such as Brasso) only for very stubborn stains onbrass. Brasso is harsher than most silver polishes, and repeated usecan wear away fine detail• Use cotton buds to clean both dirt and the cleaning agent out ofcrevices; for stubborn stains use longer time, greater pressure and(with care) an old toothbrush• Buff to a shine with a soft cloth, making sure to remove all traces of thepolish (residues can cause corrosion).• Do not touch directly with fingers after cleaning• Don’t clean at all if they have an attractive and even-coloured ‘patina’,showing that they have never been cleaned and rarely handled.For more details on how to clean medals and badges, and to lacquer themwith to reduce re-tarnishing, see the Australian Department of Veteran AffairswebsiteImperial War Museum Your History www.iwm.org.uk/yourhistory

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