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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum


Guest Acorn

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When I found that no-one in Edinburgh seemed willing or able to re-ribbon and remount my medal, I finally found an old regimental tailor to help me out. I then took it upon myself to learn how it was properly done so the skill wouldn't be lost! Since then I have been privileged to handle masses of different medals and clusters of medals and never cease to be awed by the service and bravery they represent. I've dealt with almost all the major awards, deeds of valour, meritorious service and conduct, etc.

Occasionally I come across those belonging to quite exceptional 'ordinary' men and women - the most notable to date, I think, were those of a friend's father: He had served as an officer cadet in Poland, been arrested by the Russians, got out of that and found his way to Britain, joined the Polish army in Exile and served with them throughout the Italian campaign (specifically Monte Cassino). He was commissioned and finished the war with a chest-full of British campaign medals as well as bravery medals and campaign medals from the Polish Governemnt in Exile. He never returned to Poland. he married a Scots woman, changed his name, and never mentioned anything of his experiences again. It was only after his death that my friend discovered the extent of his father's achievements. As I say, "quite exceptional 'ordinary' men and women".

You can see his array on my personal website at http://members.lycos.co.uk/davidanson51/hobbies0.html

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How do you prevent your medals from tarnishing, in particular the BWMs

I used to clean my silver medals with baking soda and a soft tooth brush to remove the black patina.

However I am of the mind now that I would not like to disturb the natural changing colour of my medals. In fact I have grown to appreciate the black colouring.

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

As Silver is a relatively soft metal any sort of abrasive action will wear the surface and damage the detail. It saddens me when I visit fairs and see what in some cases are no more than shiny bits of metal with faint outline.

If you wish to remove the black oxidised surface off a BWM, jewellry cleaners that act by vibrating the layer off are best.

I once cleaned a BWM found in a box in my local junk shop as it was just a black lump. I regretted it but would not have been able to see the name if I had not. Good thing is that the surface is starting to darken again so all is not lost!

Ian :)

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