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Remembered Today:

Order of wear/display of French medals?


4thGordons

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Being largely ignorant of  such matters beyond British trios - could some kind soul let me know the correct order of display of this set of French medals I recently purchased to accompany a uniform display. They are all to a French Artilleryman (Benoist? 2 artillery, 53rd battery according to the cards which came with them).

Thanks,

Chris

 

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Reverse the order of the war and victory medals and you've got it (officially) correct (though it is extremely common to encounter them in the order you already have them due to the practice of wearing 'commemorative' medals in order of receipt)

 

Dave

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Thanks very much, Dave.

Chris

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I have several sets of French medals, and they are all laid out differently. This is the set of Corporal Felix Bodin of 48th Artillery regiment. Both his citations were awarded at Verdun. he was badly wounded at the 'Cavaliers of Courcy' in April 1917.

 

Cheers,

            Steve.

 

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Edited by Stevie
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Another set... and again laid out differently. Pierre Bourlot is listed as killed in action on 27th May 1918 at 'Chemin des Dames.' It wasn't until January 1921 that he was finally declared dead. This set came out of a junk shop in France, there was no frame and the Victory medal & Medaille Militaire ribbons were beyond saving - both medals being held in place by nails. The other ribbons were reversed to present their best side. The frame was in a dilapidated state when I bought it, most of the veneer needed replacing. All medals are in the order they were when originally attached to the certificate.

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On 6/22/2017 at 13:19, Stevie said:

Another set... and again laid out differently. ... 

 

Interesting to see both of those Stevie! I don't have any French ones, but it is educational to see the variety.

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Here is a group of four French Miniature Medals mounted on a gold coloured pin as worn with their original brown pouch for safe keeping -  they are continental miniatures and are clearly smaller than British miniatures - there being no attribution provided when purchased several years ago: 

 

Medaille Militaire -   this is the French counterpart of the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Croix de Guerre  with 2 bronze stars (Unit Despatch) World War 1

Combatants Cross - Croix de Combatants - created by degree of 24 August 1940  - for those who had the combatant's card.

Victory Medal - the reverse has 'The Great War for Civilisation 1914-18 in French.

 

For an indication of actual size a ruler has been provided.

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Philip

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A very nice set of miniature medals Philip. Here is another set, and again laid out differently. Although the frame is original to the certificate and medals, the whole lot was in a very dilapidated condition. All the ribbons had rotted away, the medals were glued to the certificate, and all the veneer had gone from the frame - which was badly holed by woodworm. This set is to Louis Carbonnier, but I have so far been unable to track down his records.

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On the same theme, here are two citations to the same man, one at regimental level, and the second at divisional level. The first citation was awarded to Sergeant Vianey for holding his section together whilst under a fierce bombardment, and then forcing back the ensuing attack by enemy soldiers. The second citation at divisional level was awarded to him for an attack he carried out with his section, on an enemy strongpoint which was; "defendue par des mitrailleuses."

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The final medal is a single Croix de Guerre with a very faded ribbon mounted on a green velvet background. The oak frame is period original and houses a silver frame with a picture of the recipient, sadly though - there is no name.

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This is perhaps (to me) the most poignant of my items to the French soldier. I purchased it off a French lady who said that it was a call-up card and rosette given to a French volunteer at the start of the Great War. The card has a well-known poem which starts... 'Petit pioupiou, petit soldat.' In order to preserve it I placed it in a frame, I have never seen one like it and wondered if perhaps it was something done in a particular area? Can anyone help? The number '48' caught my eye as well, although there is no way of knowing if it is for an artillery or infantry regiment. By one of those curious coincidences which sometimes happen to collectors, quite a few months after purchasing the set of medals to Corporal Felix Bodin of 48th artillery regiment, I purchased an officer's helmet named to Commandant L Caillard of 48th artillery regiment. Perhaps the two men knew each other. As a former 'gunner' myself, I do tend to go for artillery-related items.

 

Apologies to Chris... I am not trying to hijack your thread!

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On 24/06/2017 at 05:33, Stevie said:

...a call-up card and rosette given to a French volunteer at the start of the Great War. ... ...I have never seen one like it and wondered if perhaps it was something done in a particular area? Can anyone help? .

 

The 'rosette' is a medaille de conscrit and is usually stamped with the class year of conscription for compulsory military on the reverse. Though not universal, these were often given as a souvenir by his local community to the young (soon to be) soldier in the year running up to his entering service (therefore unlikely to have been issued to a volunteer at the start of the war). A big thing back then, it served as an annual 'coming of age' event and was massively observed in villages and communities throughout France with a number of events, usually culminating in a Bal des conscrits which were probably not too dissimilar to today's High School Proms (in fact, in some parts of France, what is ,essentially, the school 'prom' is still called a Bal (or Fete) des conscrits in homage to these historic events). Japes, wine, trickery, drunkenness, beer, dressing up, wine, music, wine, and dancing (and wine... did I mention that?:D ) all went hand in hand throughout the 'Bal' year and many minor misdemeanours were overlooked by the authorities as just high spirits.

 

On a more poignant note, some of the other 'souvenirs' of this year are actually quite sad when viewed today... invites to the 'Bal' listing all of that year's conscrits from a particular community and postcard photographs illustrating the young men themselves. It is VERY rare to find one of these (depicting class years where war service was a certainty) where all those listed actually made it home in 1918/19.

 

I'd suspect that the card is a similar souvenir(?) as the official call up card was very plain and boring (see below). ... and note that, on your card, the character obviously celebrating his conscrit year has a number stuck in his hat - the '48' is unlikely to be a reference to any regiment (he wouldn't yet have been allocated). More likely to be something to do with this celebration -  or (if it actually does relate to the military ... and this is highly possible) something like his matricule au recrutement.

 

 

***Edit***       The number is a potential recruit's numero au tirage ... in other words his 'draft' number prior to his conscription. Probably pre-dating1905 then?

 

 

Hope that helps.

 

Dave

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On 24/06/2017 at 10:34, CROONAERT said:

 

On a more poignant note, some of the other 'souvenirs' of this year are actually quite sad when viewed today... invites to the 'Bal' listing all of that year's conscrits from a particular community and postcard photographs illustrating the young men themselves. It is VERY rare to find one of these where all those listed actually made it home in 1918/19.

 

... a few examples of the group-photo postcards (note the rosettes/medals on the 1911 Class recruits) and Bal invites ... at least one man on each of those depicted was dead by the end of the first month of the war ...

 

Dave

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Back to Chris for a mo'...

 

This is the official order of precedence bearing in mind that, as a modern document issued after the death of the last Great War veteran, Great War medals have not been mentioned. However, these should be slotted in on the list prior to the two positions where the dates '1939-1945' can be seen (Croix de guerre and Croix du combattant volontaire ... the oldest issue having priority in order over the newer issues) and, for the Great War group, the Medaille coloniale would , of course, be in the place of the Medaille d'outre-mer.

 

Dave

594dbbe127010_Frenchmedalsorderofprecidence.jpg.de5a331e931ee8b1f333a8e0c5ccb826.jpeg

 

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Those are some very nice displays Stevie / Dave - thank you for adding them. Great to see others.

The order for the decorations is also useful thanks.

Chris

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Dave, thanks so much for the information concerning the call-up card. 

 

Cheers,

            Steve.

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Certainly fascinating to see those medals mounted with the certificates! And all the other items as well! Many thanks one and all.

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