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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Ribbons on SD jackets


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How common (or uncommon) was it for Other Ranks to wear ribbons on their SD jackets while on active service?  Not ribbons for valor but ones like Boer War campaign, LS/GC, MSM, etc.  The photo books I have indicate uncommon except for some older NCO's.  Was it discouraged? 

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I really wish I could answer your question because its a very good one. I can remember shots of troops up to their necks in it where one may have a DCM or MM ribbon but as you say excluding gallantry/valour/valor. 

I can recall shots of men displaying South Africa medal ribbons though they tend to be shots of training battalions/TA where the NCO's are ex regulars subsequently utilised to impart some military knowledge/discipline.

There have been numerous posts of medal groups featuring SA and WW1 service medals but I'd not thought about wearing earlier medal ribbons when joining/recalled in 1914. I'd somehow expect it more on an officers uniform but that's based on absolutely no evidence.

I think there are examples of 'old contemptibles' wearing the ribbon of the 14 star ribbon whilst still on the western front (1918) but I'm far from certain.



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It was a standard entitlement for a man who had earned campaign medals to wear them on his service dress, regardless of rank.  The medals and ribbons were issued to the soldier but were then his responsibility to look after.  Clearly senior NCOs became steeped in such matters and developed pride in appearance and their service record.  Men who completed just a short service engagement and then discharged were a different matter.  When war began and men returned to the colours from civilian life they had not always retained their medals, or ribbons.  Regaining them would understandably not necessarily have been their highest priority as they were issued new uniforms and embarked on training to bring them up to date with weapons, equipment, tactics and procedures that had often changed since they last served.

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