Medals and Awards

The museums database contains the names of some 2500 local people and a number won awards for acts of bravery or special service. From references in the East Suffolk Gazette we can see at least the following numbers of people recieved awards from this area:

Medal or awardNumber recorded
Military Medal48
Mention in Dispatches25
Distinguish Conduct Medal15
Military Cross13
Distinguished Service Order8
Meritorious Service Medal7
Croix de Guerre4
Royal Red Cross Medal4
Distinguished Service Medal3
Distinguished Service Cross2
Royal Order of St George2
OBE3
MBE2
Bel Croix de Guerre1
Certificate for Gallant Conduct1
Chev Cr Belg1
Cross of Kara George - 1st Class1
Le Mer Agric1
Russian Medal1
French Legion of Honour1
Military Merit1
Military Service Medal1

1914 Star

The Star was first approved for use in 1917 and was for issue to Officers and Men of the British forces who served in France and Belgium between Britain’s declaration of War, the 5th August and the start of the first Battle of Ypres, 22nd November 1914.

The majority of awards were to officers and men of the pre war British Army who formed the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and landed in France shortly after the start of the war.

A total of 365,622 were awarded and soldiers who received the award also were given the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These medals were also referred to as the Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

1914-1915 Star

(note 1)

The Star was first approved for use in 1918 and was for issue to Officers and Men of the British forces who served in the theatre of war between Britain’s declaration of War, the 5th August and the 31st December 1915. A total of 2,366,00 were awarded. 283,500 to the Royal Navy and 71,150 to Canadian forces. As with the 914 Star Soldiers awarded the 1914-15 Star also were awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

East Suffolk Gazette. 31 January 1921. War Decoration

The 1914-15 Star awarded by the War Office to the troops who took part in the early war operations have recently been delivered by registers post. The star is of gold colour with crossed swords surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves and acorns with the letters GV at the bottom, a scroll at the centre, and dated 1914-15, surmounted by a crown. The ribbon accompanying the medal is of a very pretty design of watered silk, red, white and blue. The name of the owner is engraved with the rank held when proceeding overseas on the reverse side and the years 1914-15.

It will be remembered that the Beccles Territorials were mobilised at once on the declaration of war, and with other units of the 1/5th Suffolk Regiment made up to full strength. After a period of further training they left Liverpool with other regiments on board the Aquitania for the Dardanelles, and took part in the Sulva Bay landing and subsequent operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. After the evacuation they engaged in the Palestine operations, being present at the several engagements which finally led up to the fall of Gaza (which they were among the first to enter) and capture of the first Turkish Army Corps alter. Nurses in war hospitals from 1914 have also received the decoration.

British War Medal

(note 1)

The Medal was first approved for use in 1919 and was for issue to Officers and Men of the British forces who served in the theatre of war between Britain’s declaration of War, the 5th August and the end of the war, 11th November 1918

A total of 6,390,000 Silver awards and 110,000 Bronze awards were made.

Victory Medal

(note 1)

This medal was awarded to those who were given the 1914 or 1914-1915 Star and also the British War Medal

The Territorial Force War Medal

This campaign medal was given to those who served as part of the British Territorial Force or Territorial Force Nursing Services and served overseas in World War 1.

The medal was first approved for use in April 1920 and awarded to those who volunteered for service on or before 30 September 1914. 34,000 of the medals were awarded.

Mercantile Marine War Medal

The medal was awarded by the Board of Trade to members of the Merchant Navy who had one or more voyages through a war zone during World War 1. A 133,000 medals were awarded.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

The DCM was awarded to ‘other’ ranks in the British Army and also for a while to non British troops. The award dates from 1854.

Distinguished Service Cross

The DSC was awarded to Warrant and Junior Officers in the British Army and at the start of the First World War to Naval Officers. The award dates from 1901.

Distinguished Service Medal

The DSM was awarded to members of the Royal Navy up to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. The award dates from 1914 and is given for bravery and resourcefulness on active service at sea.

Distinguished Service Order

The DSO was awarded to Officers, normally of the rank of Major or above, in the British Army and also for a while to non British troops. The award dates from 1886. Some 9000 awards were made during World War 1.

Order of the British Empire

The MBE was created in 1917 by King George V who wished to honour the people who had served in non-combatant roles. Originally it was a civilian award but in 1918 it was also awarded to the Military.

Member of the British Empire

The OBE was created in 1917 by King George V who wished to honour the people who had served in non-combatant roles. Originally it was a civilian award but in 1918 it was also awarded to the Military.

Military Cross

The Military Cross was awarded to commissioned Officers of the rank of Captain or below. The award dates from 1914 and is awarded in recognition of acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against an enemy on land.

Mentioned in Dispatches

To be Mentioned in Dispatches is the lowest award that can be made. It is where the senior Officer at an action formally reports or commends the behaviour of a soldier to his superiors in the official report of the action. It is one of only two awards that can be made posthumously, the other being the Victoria Cross. Winston Churchill is recorded as starting the act of reporting these awards while he was a Reporter with the Morning Post during the Boer War.

Soldiers who were Mentioned in Dispatches were given an emblem of multiple oak leaves in bronze to wear with their Victory Medal after the end of the First World War.

Military Medal

(note 2)

The Military Medal was awarded to members of the British Army below commissioned rank. The award dates from 1916 and was granted for bravery in battle on land

Military Service Medal

No information Available

Royal Order of St George

Described in East Suffolk Gazette dated 10 September 1918 as awarded to ST Wade. This Order was founded in 1769 by the empress Catherine II, for rewarding military service exclusively, and it is now bestowed for bravery in action in much the same way as our VC and DSO. The badge consists of gold white enamelled cross pattec within the centre a representation of St George fighting the dragon. There are really six grades of the Order, but the first two are extremely rare – Grand Cordon, Grand Officer Commander, 3rd Class, 4th Class, 5th Class, 6th Class; also four medals, two of gold and two of silver. The Commander's Cross is only given to those who have already received a lower Order o f the grade. The 3rd Class is only given to officers of senior rank, and it is interesting to note that it was conferred on Admiral Sir John Jellicoe after the battle of Jutland. The 4th Class is also for officers. The 5th and 6th Classes are for men and in their case the cross is of silver.

Bel Croix de Guerre

French 1914-18 War Cross

Chevalier Croix Belgium

Belgium 1914-18 War Cross.

Cross of Kara George

A Serbian award

  • Note 1 - The Museum Collection includes objects 2011-76-A, B and C, The 1914-1915 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal as awarded to Lance Corporal AW Salter of the Suffolk Regiment.
  • Note 2 - The picture (front view) is of the medal awarded to Percy Hall and includes a 'bar'. The picture (rear view) is of a medal donated by J Sayer.