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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Should I add a clasp to these medals


mrfish

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Before we all knock too many spots off one another, how about that old one I have seen many times over the years? Where a 1914 Star - without clasp - is mounted in a group with the rosette intended for the ribbon bar on the unifrom ?

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Err... I should have said 'is mounted in a group with the rosette intended for the ribbon bar on the uniform attached to the ribbon of the full-size medal?'

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This thread is very interesting; since I began researching my grandfather I learned that since he was wounded twice he was entitled to get the Prussian black wound badge, but nowhere in his records do I see any mention that he ever got one. I have been thinking of framing some of his memorabilia and considered getting a wound badge for the display but now I have thought the better of it. He never got one, so it would really be a fiction to add it to his stuff, in my mind.

Now, if only I could find his lost EKII, we'd be in business. :(

Daniel

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Err... I should have said 'is mounted in a group with the rosette intended for the ribbon bar on the uniform attached to the ribbon of the full-size medal?'

I suppose that this has to be put down to a mistake, as this was clearly not the intended place for the rose to be worn. I have seen instances where two roses and the clasp were attached to the ribbon of the full sized medal and various other variations on that theme.

I wonder if anyone would have the nerve to walk up to a veteran (or a widow for that matter) and point out the fact that they were wearing "their" medals with an incorrect configuration of clasp and roses--I think not, unless of course they were a member of your own family, and even then probably not!!

On a formal military parade the perpetrator may expect to receive some sort of reprimand or punishment, otherwise I doubt that anything would be said.

Robert

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There's something that hasn't been properly clarified in this (very interesting) thread.

The bar was authorized for wear on the ribbon of men who had come under fire with their units during the qualifying period. I understand that much of the debate so far has related to men who had obviously come under fire because they had been killed or wounded.

However..... the bar was authorized for wear by individuals, not units.

There are certain battalions in which it's possible to say that pretty much every man came under fire because hardly any men from that unit actually survived the retreat from Mons unscathed.

But there will also be units in which most, but not necessarily all, of the battalion came under fire (i.e. the fact that a man's MIC doesn't record the C&R being issued doesn't necessarily indicate that he didn't get round to applying for it - he may not actually have been entitled to it).

I accept Robert's argument about entitlement not having to be established by the issue of C&R being recorded on the MIC, but I also recognize that it's well-nigh impossible to establish the facts of any individual's situation during this period (without reference to a personal diary, perhaps). So I'd suggest that a bar could only be added to a star if it's possible to establish beyond doubt that a man came under fire (casualty or POW, or by reference to a personal account - diary or newspaper report). The fact that his unit is proven to have come under fire is not necessarily sufficient proof of entitlement.

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There's something that hasn't been properly clarified in this (very interesting) thread.

The bar was authorized for wear on the ribbon of men who had come under fire with their units during the qualifying period. I understand that much of the debate so far has related to men who had obviously come under fire because they had been killed or wounded.

However..... the bar was authorized for wear by individuals, not units.

There are certain battalions in which it's possible to say that pretty much every man came under fire because hardly any men from that unit actually survived the retreat from Mons unscathed.

But there will also be units in which most, but not necessarily all, of the battalion came under fire (i.e. the fact that a man's MIC doesn't record the C&R being issued doesn't necessarily indicate that he didn't get round to applying for it - he may not actually have been entitled to it).

I accept Robert's argument about entitlement not having to be established by the issue of C&R being recorded on the MIC, but I also recognize that it's well-nigh impossible to establish the facts of any individual's situation during this period (without reference to a personal diary, perhaps). So I'd suggest that a bar could only be added to a star if it's possible to establish beyond doubt that a man came under fire (casualty or POW, or by reference to a personal account - diary or newspaper report). The fact that his unit is proven to have come under fire is not necessarily sufficient proof of entitlement.

Headgardner,

You are absolutely correct, this is an incredibly murky/grey area on one hand and crystal clear on the other!! I have wondered many times how the powers that be could discriminate between men in these cases, unless of course the battalion kept meticulous records as to whom was subjected to enemy action and who was not. This becomes even murkier in respect of the fact that the bar was not sanctioned until 1919, so presumably no one would be aware that they needed to keep records and by that time who would remember anyhow!!particularly when you take into account the fact that many of those men who may have been entitled were killed later in the war and not during the qualifying period.

I would suspect that the best that the authorities would be able to do was say: "Pte Smith accompanied his battalion to the front on the 12/8/14, and this battalion was in action many times during the period which Pte Smith was serving, so on that basis it would have to be assumed that he would have qualified for the clasp--unless of course it could be proved that he had spent 3.1/2 months peeling potatoes behind the lines and beyond the range of the enemy guns!!

Basically, I feel that they would have to assume that all the men of such a battalion were entitled unless it could be proved otherwise.:thumbsup:

Robert

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Has anyone, on the Forum, got a copy of the Form that had to be completed,certified in order to make an application for the Clasp?

This may shed light on the actual process and how entitlement or not was decided.

George

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Has anyone, on the Forum, got a copy of the Form that had to be completed,certified in order to make an application for the Clasp?

This may shed light on the actual process and how entitlement or not was decided.

George

Good point George.

I have personally never seen one, although I have seen several of those which came with the issued clasp.

Has anyone ever seen or possess one of these application forms?

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Headgardner,

You are absolutely correct, this is an incredibly murky/grey area on one hand and crystal clear on the other!! I have wondered many times how the powers that be could discriminate between men in these cases, unless of course the battalion kept meticulous records as to whom was subjected to enemy action and who was not. This becomes even murkier in respect of the fact that the bar was not sanctioned until 1919, so presumably no one would be aware that they needed to keep records and by that time who would remember anyhow!!particularly when you take into account the fact that many of those men who may have been entitled were killed later in the war and not during the qualifying period.

I would suspect that the best that the authorities would be able to do was say: "Pte Smith accompanied his battalion to the front on the 12/8/14, and this battalion was in action many times during the period which Pte Smith was serving, so on that basis it would have to be assumed that he would have qualified for the clasp--unless of course it could be proved that he had spent 3.1/2 months peeling potatoes behind the lines and beyond the range of the enemy guns!!

Basically, I feel that they would have to assume that all the men of such a battalion were entitled unless it could be proved otherwise.:thumbsup:

Good point. I hadn't really thought about it from an administrative perspective. I thought entitlement was determined by a list of names put forward by each regiment in 1919. Quite how they determined that list is a good question. I'll bet that the process itself was determined at regimental level and that it varied from regiment to regiment; some CO's nodding everyone though, others maybe calling a 'pow-wow' of all the remaining officers and SNCO's.

Anyone have any thoughts on this....?

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Another thought.

Clasps for many, if not all campaign medals, only require that a man be on the strength of a unit whilst serving in a theatre of war between certain dates, in order to qualify for the clasp.

I am not sure that there is any requirement for the man in question to have served within the range of the enemy guns or indeed to have engaged with such an enemy. Please correct me if I am wrong.

If this is the case then the criteria for qualification of the clasp to the 1914 Star is possibly unwittingly? a completely different animal. This requires a man to have served on the strength of a unit within range of the enemies guns, or words to that effect, within certain dates. I wonder if those who sanctioned the clasp realised that for the qualifying criteria, it would be almost impossible definitively to prove compliance in many cases?

Hope you can see what I am getting at?

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Good point. I hadn't really thought about it from an administrative perspective. I thought entitlement was determined by a list of names put forward by each regiment in 1919. Quite how they determined that list is a good question. I'll bet that the process itself was determined at regimental level and that it varied from regiment to regiment; some CO's nodding everyone though, others maybe calling a 'pow-wow' of all the remaining officers and SNCO's.

Anyone have any thoughts on this....?

I wonder how many, if any, battalions would still have their original CO's or indeed any original officers/SNCO's, who would have been with the battalion since going overseas in 1914,

still on their strength?

Not many I would have thought.

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Another thought.

Clasps for many, if not all campaign medals, only require that a man be on the strength of a unit whilst serving in a theatre of war between certain dates, in order to qualify for the clasp.

I am not sure that there is any requirement for the man in question to have served within the range of the enemy guns or indeed to have engaged with such an enemy. Please correct me if I am wrong.

If this is the case then the criteria for qualification of the clasp to the 1914 Star is possibly unwittingly? a completely different animal. This requires a man to have served on the strength of a unit within range of the enemies guns, or words to that effect, within certain dates. I wonder if those who sanctioned the clasp realised that for the qualifying criteria, it would be almost impossible definitively to prove compliance in many cases?

Hope you can see what I am getting at?

I can't think of another clasp that is anything like this (maybe the rosette on the ribbon of the S. Atlantic medal is a little bit like it...).

Basically a clasp to a campaign medal is designed to record an individual's presence at a particular battle or 'action' within the campaign, or service between certain dates that would carry certain significance in respect of that campaign. The '14 star didn't simply specify the campaign; it was designed to distinguish those members of the BEF who served under French within that particular campaign. The clasp further distinguished those members of the BEF serving under French who had come under fire between certain dates within that campaign.

So I suspect that it would be a 'given' that men from certain units would automatically qualify. I suspect that the clasp was less concerned with excluding men from fighting regiments than with including men from certain non-fighting units (ASC, various medical services, etc) who might have had reason to claim that they had also risked life and limb, along with the fighting troops.

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I wonder how many, if any, battalions would still have their original CO's or indeed any original officers/SNCO's, who would have been with the battalion since going overseas in 1914,

still on their strength?

Not many I would have thought.

Agreed, but there must have been some sort of process by which a man from a non-fighting unit could apply for a clasp - the clasp wasn't simply unit-specific.

Thinking about it again, I suspect that it may simply have been a document signed by a senior member of the man's unit (officer or SNCO) stating that the man had come under fire. That's certainly how applications for the TFWM worked (but not with regard to whether the person had come under fire, of course....). As to how many officers and SNCO's of a [particular unit were left at the end of the war, and how easily traced they might have been, would be a matter of pure chance.

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"The answer is absolutely NO. It only means it was not claimed or issued…the clasp was only approved on 16th October 19191, when most men had been demobilised and it was a lot easier to buy a bar than apply on the official post office form"

It may well be that most veterans wore 14 trios with privately bought clasps as indicated above. If the wearing of a clasp, entitled but unconfirmed, was more the norm, who are we to argue? :)

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Basically a clasp to a campaign medal is designed to record an individual's presence at a particular battle or 'action' within the campaign, or service between certain dates that would carry certain significance in respect of that campaign. The '14 star didn't simply specify the campaign; it was designed to distinguish those members of the BEF who served under French within that particular campaign. The clasp further distinguished those members of the BEF serving under French who had come under fire between certain dates within that campaign.

hg,

From the covering letter issued on 24th February 1920.

"Sir,

I am directed to transmit to you the accompanying "1914 Star" which would have been conferred upon ------,Royal Scots had he lived.It is now sent to you in memory of his services with the British Expeditionary Forces employed in France and Belgium between the outbreak of war and midnight,22nd/23rd November,1914."

George

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Was it easier to buy a bar? Surely not every town or village had a tailor, especially one that dealt in regimentals.

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Was it easier to buy a bar? Surely not every town or village had a tailor, especially one that dealt in regimentals.

In the 1920's I would think that most large towns had a regimental tailor, or a tailor who dealt with regimentals as a side line, simply because most of these towns had at least one barracks which was being well used at that time by Territorials, etc.. That apart it would be quite easy for one man who was visiting such a town or city to purchase several for his pals, but lets not forget that we a talking of relatively low numbers here, as many would have already applied and received their clasps through the official channels.

So, yes, to answer your question, it would have been quite easy at that time.:thumbsup:

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Was it easier to buy a bar? Surely not every town or village had a tailor, especially one that dealt in regimentals.

I think you'll find that plenty of very small communities had tailors. They would have been pretty commonplace and wouldn't have earned the connotations that we now attach to the title 'tailor'.

The very small highland village (pre-ww1 population; approx 350) that I used to live in and whose war memorial I'm researching was able to support a whole family of tailors. The 1901 census shows the father as a 'master tailor' employing 2 of his sons as tailors and one daughter as a machinist. Besides that, I know that one of the other sons was also apprenticed to his father.

No-one in the village earned a 14 star and bar, though.......

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WHEN OUR FAMILY HOME WAS DESTROYED BY A DOODLEBUG IN 1944 I MANAGED TO RETRIEVE MY FATHERS M.M AND 1914 STAR TRIO. MEDALS

YEARS LATER WHEN I STARTED ON FAMILY HISTORY I REALIZED THAT THE BAR TO THE 1914 STAR WAS MISSING.

I PURCHASED A REPLACEMENT BAR FROM A REPUTABLE MEDAL DEALER,PROBLEM SOLVED.

TO ANY MEDAL ENTHUSIAST FOR THE 1914/1918 WAR THE RECENT PUBLICATION,THE GREAT WAR MEDAL COLLECTORS COMPANION BY HOWARD WILLIAMSON,

IS SURELY A MUST.

REGARDS ALLEN

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WHEN OUR FAMILY HOME WAS DESTROYED BY A DOODLEBUG IN 1944 I MANAGED TO RETRIEVE MY FATHERS M.M AND 1914 STAR TRIO. MEDALS

YEARS LATER WHEN I STARTED ON FAMILY HISTORY I REALIZED THAT THE BAR TO THE 1914 STAR WAS MISSING.

I PURCHASED A REPLACEMENT BAR FROM A REPUTABLE MEDAL DEALER,PROBLEM SOLVED.

TO ANY MEDAL ENTHUSIAST FOR THE 1914/1918 WAR THE RECENT PUBLICATION,THE GREAT WAR MEDAL COLLECTORS COMPANION BY HOWARD WILLIAMSON,

IS SURELY A MUST.

REGARDS ALLEN

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As almost all the recipients of 14 stars would have been regulars (or long serving TF men), it seems likely that the clasps would have become available at their depot/barracks/drill hall from some enterprising source.

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Allen,

I and I doubt,anyone on this Forum, will question the efforts you made to save your Father's Medals.

But the question you have not answered.

Was your Father entitled to the Clasp and Roses,applied for them,received them and wore them,at the appropriate times as a proud ex-Soldier in the inter-War years,or as a WW1 Casualty, his Medals took pride of place in your Home and you felt,despite the danger, you must retrieve them?

I do not question your Father's bravery but was his 1914 Clasp legitimately added to his Trio or have you added it for completeness?

George

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That's what I like Allen, someone who is decisive and makes a quick and correct descision regarding a replacement bar for your father's trio :thumbsup:

Thank goodness you didn't drft into the realms of deception and the rewriting of history theories--good man :thumbsup:

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Phil,

I feel you are doing a disservice to the subject we are discussing. :D

Certainly,in my time in,you could go to a tailor and have your uniform altered or obtain a "stripe attachment" which avoided duplicate sewing.

But the fact remains that the 1914 Clasp was correctly worn with " an earned and awarded 1914 Star" or without full Medal wear as a rosette on the Ribbon.

I do not deny that in the early post-WW1 years,ex-Soldiers,who earned a 1914 Trio,may have,in their efforts to find employment,worn their Medals to an interview and added a Clasp,whether applied for and correctly received,or bought locally to try and impress the prospective Employer of their job-worthiness.

When WW1 ended,returned British Servicemen, although promised "Karma",received little acknowledgement for their service and had to use any means possible to find paid employment.

It is a testimony to their generation that I, and many on this Forum, weep about the current excesses in London and elsewhere.

My Father joined the Police Service,as a 19 year old, in 1919 and served in that Organisation during the 1926 Miners Strike against men who had been WW1 soldiers but were demobbed early to return to work underground "for the Nations benefit".

I'm sure those same miners wore their WW1 Medals with pride,on Armistice Days,with or without correctly awarded Clasps,and they waved to the Bobbies,on parade, and the time-served WW1 Bobbies just waved back. :whistle:

George

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Allen or is it ALLEN, thats ok and if it was previously attached then there is no problem, if he hadn't claimed it then it shouldn't have been added to the star.

And as for publications yes there are some very good books and I have most of them but never treat anything as difinitive, the answer to this issue obviously isn't easy for some but for some of us it is obvious.

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