The Tank Museum | British War Medal 1914-18 (silver)

British War Medal 1914-18 (silver)

Country: United Kingdom

British War Medal 1914 - 1920

This medal, issued in both silver and bronze was issued to all forces of the Empire both to commemorate the end of the Great War and to record service. It was originally intended to cover service up to November 11th. 1918 but was extended to 1919-20 to include post war operations in North and South Russia, the Eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and the Caspian. Approximately 6,500,000 silver and some 110,000 bronze medals were issued - the bronze was mainly given to Chinese, Maltese, Indian and other labour battalions who performed war service duties. It is possible for the B.W.M. to be given singly to certain regular and mobilised personnel who did not see any fighting.

The obverse shows the uncrowned left-facing profile of King George V by Sir Bertram Mackennal. The reverse is of St George on horseback trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the Central Powers and a skull and cross-bones, the emblems of death. Above, the sun has risen in victory. The figure is mounted on horseback to symbolise man's mind controlling a force of greater strength than his own, and thus alludes to the scientific and mechanical appliances which helped to win the war.

The ribbon is watered silk with a wide centre band in orange flanked by stripes of white and black to either side and borders of royal blue.