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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Rank engraved on medals


Peter Woodger

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Hi

I was looking at the service record of an Aussie KIA where his NOK was complaining that his Star was engraved Pte yet he died a Corporal. The explanation given was that a Star was engraved with the rank held on entry to the qualifying zone but War and Victory were engraved with rank held at the end of the War.

Question- did this apply to a man who entered as a Pte and was commissioned during the war and ended up as say a Major?

What rank was engraved for a man promoted post Armistice but prior to medal issue.

Peter

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Hi Peter,

Yes, it did count for men commissioned during the war, I have a couple of groups were he entered theatre as a private and ended up as a Captain. The rank embossed would be the highest rank he attained during the war itself, not after the war.

Hope this helps.

Andy

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Andy

Thank you for that. To be absolutely clear is it up to Armistice or end of War?

Peter

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Peter and Andy

Tp confirm, among the medals of my father, George Oswald Mitchell (G.O.M.), the 1914-15 Star is engraved with Pte, the rank he held on being mobilised on 5 August 1915. His War and Victory medals are engraved Sgt, the rank he held at the Armistice, However, he was demobilised in 1919 as a 2nd/Lt, which is not given on his medals. Unfortunately, I don't have the original of his Territorial medal, only a half size miniature.

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

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Jeremy

That makes it absolutely clear. Thank you

Peter

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Jeremym

If he was awarded a Star he would not be entitled to the TF medal. You had to be in the TF before the end of September 1914, but not go overseas until 1916 or later. That is why only 30,000 were issued.

Pete

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I think the rank reached whilst in a theater of war is nearer a more exact definition otherwise its as Andy stated. The war continued after 1918 in for example Russia . So if you were promoted whilst home and never returned overseas this rank would not be on the BWM/victory medals. gareth

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However, he certainly could have been awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal (TFEM, also known as TEM at different times) rather than the Territorial War Medal that Pete has referred to.

Steve.

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Thank you for that. To be absolutely clear is it up to Armistice or end of War?

It is to the last point the man served in a designated theatre until the end of the qualification period, which for some theatres was 1920.

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The explanation given was that a Star was engraved with the rank held on entry to the qualifying zone

That was what the army order says, but it was not alway applied. The MIC for James B McCudden (sic) VC, DSO, MC, MM gives his rank as Sergeant although, he first entered France as an AMI.

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WW1 campaign medals have the naming detail impressed and not engraved.

Interestingly, I have a relatives 1914-15 trio. The star is impressed with the number 241405 and the pair with 3496. He was KIA in 1917.

He went to France on 24.12.1915 and would therefore have had the number 3496, the 6 figure number only being given to him in 1917.

Does anyone know why the naming is like this other than human error?

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I have a BWM to a man who ended the war as a Lance Corporal, but the medal is impressed with "Pte.". Another BWM is to a man who was appointed to, and demoted from, Acting Coproral twice during the war, and was eventually discharged as a Private. However, his BWM shows "A.Cpl".

Seems the rules were a little flexible.

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Itemco, Infantry lance corporal is or rather was an appointment rather than a rank, so would not or should not be on a medal. Acting corporal is a the rank of corporal and I beleive one would have needed a court martial to lose the rank. On the other hand lance corporal was at the behest of the senior officer and was tempary and as needed by the unit.

The question of acting/ temporary officers ranks are even more confusing in terms of naming of medals . Gareth

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Thanks, Gareth! Certainly explains the Lance Corporal's medal.

The Acting Corporal lost his appointment both times due to misconduct. There was nothing in his record indicating a court martial, but given the state the records are in, he was either never court martialed officially, or that page was lost over the years. Although, his not being court-martialed definitely explains why he has one rank on his medal, and not another. You're right, the whole Acting/Temporary rank system is incredibly confusing. Seems that no matter how much I read on it, I can never keep it straight!

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Great-uncle 901641 Edward Allan 85th CIB was in Bramshott with the 185th CIB when he was made A. Lance Corporal 4/2/18. On 27/2/18 he reverted to the ranks at his own request presumably so he could get to France with his mates to reinforce the 85th..they left the next day. KIA 30/3/18 Gavrelle.

Both his BWM/Victory medals are impressed with A.L.Cpl

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