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Wearing a relatives' medals - 2nd attempt


DCLI
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This morning I wore my Dad's medals as usual, on the right-hand side.

An elderly chap spotted them:

Him: Ah, another Burma Star!

Me: Yes, it's my father's.

Him: Your husband's, is it?

Me (a bit put out): No, my Dad's!

Him (clearly very hard of hearing): Your son's?

I am utterly crushed! "Husband" was bad enough, but I sincerely hope I don't look that old! :doh::(:lol:

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My son wears my Grandfather's medals (on the right breast) on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day here. He is an adult and is normally in uniform when attending these ceremonys (Not Military Uniform) As I understand it he (OR I) can wear these medals as a remembrance on these occassions as my Grandfather is deceased. My son cannot wear MY medals (at present) as I am NOT deceased(yet) however as soon as I kick the bucket he could wear them as well, on the RIGHT breast on remembrance occassions if he so chose. (For personal reasons I do not attend these ceremonies which is why I allow him access to G.D's medals on those days)

You cannot wear the medals of a living person (relative) nor can you wear medals or decorations to which you are not entitled. The exception to that rule I think only applies to actors playing a role in a play or movie etc where they can wear the decorations appropriate to the person they are portraying, WHILE portraying them, for the purposes of that play, movie etc. Even THAT can cause controversy as happened recently here where a popular (fictitious) TV drama show set aboard a R.A.N. Patrol Boat was criticised for having actors wearing medal ribbons, even though they were consistent with the characters being played.

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Now when it comes to those self awarded medals, well thats another story.

Mick

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My Nan died the beginning of October and I was left my Great Granddads BW and Victory medals, this morning while attending the local Remembrance Service I wore them (on the right breast). I felt extremely proud and privileged to do so. It was a one off event as they will now be mounted to be displayed at home but I'm glad that I did it.

Regards Doug.

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And what better way can there be to honour and represent a relative.

Mikc

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Are Medals baubles?

Make no mistake,by default,subject to Official Approval,I may be entitled to wear on my left chest two Trios,belonging to Uncles,killed in WW1,plus my Father's Police Medals.I chose not to do so,partly because the Trios are still in the envelopes,in which they were delivered,and I feel I am not good enough to wear my Father's Medals,which he must have worn,in Uniform, on Official occasions,as they are mounted for wear.

I have total respect for Gentlemen,who "enjoy" the Poppy period,both to wear their earned Medals,and to collect for a Fund,which in reality many ex-Servicemen disdain.

I have not yet met an ex-Serviceman,who chose to join or was forced to join the Forces to earn Medals,but rather they were thrust upon the individual in recognition of his service.

Many of us recognise WWI and WW2 Ribbons but I confess I will be at a loss,when in the future, I meet an ex-Serviceman,proudly wearing his post-WW2 Medals,trying to entice me to drop my loose change in his "tin".I may ask him where he served to receive his Medal entitlement,but no more.

Is it not more important now to publicise,the current Ribbons,and what,unspoken, they may mean?

George

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George.. please explain how earth.. as you put it.... by default and subject to official approval.... you have any right to wear someone elses official medals upon the left?

There is no default when it comes to officially earned or awarded medals. They are either yours [by which, you have the right to wear them on the left], or they are not yours [by which, you can only officially and by true eticate, wear them on the right].

Please expand upon your statement!

Seph

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Further to Borden Battery's post;

As recently as 2007, it was, if memory serves me correctly, not only contrary to the Gov. General's regulations, to wear the medals of another person, but it was actually a criminal offence to do so.

Parliament has proposed an amendment to the particular section of the Criminal Code to allow family members to wear the medals of deceased relatives only upon Remembrance Day or some other equally solemn occasion. As yet, this has not been proclaimed, so is not law.

But why would anyone want to wear another person's medal(s), particularly a gallantry award?

George

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An interesting and contentious subject. You can't mitigate for the motives of individuals, but I can't help thinking that some folk wear the medals of their forebears as a means of garnering attention rather than celebrating their achievements. Difficult to call; I wear my own paltry collection (Iraq, Afghanistan and Queen's Jubilee) and feel proud, but have so far resisited the temptation to get my relatives' medals mounted up for my young sons as I'm not sure what purpose would be served by them wearing the medals of people they'd never met. I may feel differently later on, but my medals (exempt Jubilee - gizzit) were awarded for doing a job of work, and I can't imagine a circumstance wear I would feel it appropriate for anyone else (including nearest and dearest) to actually put them on. Tricky, and definitely a personal choice.

I reserve my real contempt for those that purchase "bling" for self glorification, or put medals up - on either side - just for a fleeting moment of self glorification. I've seen good men die without a chest full of ribbons, and recently I've seen their families given their Elizabeth Cross to commemorate their sacrifice; a welcome move from an otherwise cut-throat and flinty-hearted Government with regard to our Armed Forces dependants.

Apologies for the digression and conjecture, but whilst this is a fantastic forum for Great War discussion, it's worth remembering that some things are eternal.

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No problem Dibw29. From a former H.M. Serviceman to another.. stand proud me old chum!

Seph

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Perhaps it's slightly different for me, being a female (and d'un certain age), but the reason I wear my Dad's medals - on Remembrance Sunday only - is that usually someone will ask me about them.

(Preferably not in the context I mentioned above, but my friends & I have all had a good laugh about it in the pub tonight at my expense :lol: )

But I lost my Dad when I was 10, and so I don't see many people who knew him, and it gives me a chance to talk about him. Though I was so young when he died, I have always known he was in Burma "in the jungle" as he used to say, because he told me. And I loved him very much and am very proud of him, and I can show it this way just once a year.

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George.. please explain how earth.. as you put it.... by default and subject to official approval.... you have any right to wear someone elses official medals upon the left?

There is no default when it comes to officially earned or awarded medals. They are either yours [by which, you have the right to wear them on the left], or they are not yours [by which, you can only officially and by true eticate, wear them on the right].

Please expand upon your statement!

Seph,

The Medals belong to my Uncles,who never had the opportunity to wear them,but have come to me, through the Family, as the one of the two living male heirs who share their Surname.

As I said earlier I would never to choose to wear them,if allowed,because they have never been mounted and are probably more historically correct remaining in the envelopes in which they were originally delivered post-WW1.

George

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George.. I don't think anyone has a problem with medals getting passed down the line. I have my Grandfathers. However... your not entitled to wear them on the left breast, as they were not awarded to you. As a direct family member, you are entitled to sport them proudly on the right.

Seph

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Seph,

Agreed,my fault,meant right. :lol: Never did get the hang of my left and rights in the TA.

However,there is the daft thing.I received no personal Medal entitlement from my time in the TA.Not a complaint just a fact due to the time I served.

I could,however,wear nine Medals on my right i.e. the Two Trios plus my Father's Police ones, this includes WW2 as he served from 1919 to 1955.

Bit of overkill I suggest, plus the pain of trying to determine in which order they go e.g. my Father's first,his oldest Brother immediately below and his older Brother immediately below them.

I did notice from the Television Programme, from the Cenotaph yesterday, that there were some children marching past,proudly wearing Medals on the right.They were accompanying an older generation,post WW2,who had a similar Medal entitlement.I presume they are the children of servicemen who have either died since leaving the Forces or died in-service.

I have no problem with either the right of children to wear their Parent's Medals or to take part in the march-past.

For me that is the difference.

George

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Its interesting that the Canadian Government were looking at legislation about the wearing of medals, was this because of a particular problem of people impersonating ex-service personnel?

In the UK I think in future in will be more difficult to suss those not entitled just because of the numbers of medals now being issued and the numbers of theatres. When I served, unless you received a gallantry or other award the most you got was the Falklands, the CSM bar NI, maybe a UN medal and a LSGC. to see 4 medals was very unusual. On my NCO's course in 1986 out of 18 in the course photo there were only 3 of us with a medal and that included instructors and the RSM (despite serving 20 years he was never awarded the LSGC).

Mick

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...and the RSM (despite serving 20 years he was never awarded the LSGC).

Mick

RSM was a naughty boy.. got caught!

Seph

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It seems to me that although I agree there are quite a number being issued now, there are not really that many theatres of operations.

I still think that people would get "found out" if wearing current medals and not entitled. The forces and ex-forces community seems keen on this from within their own, so to speak.

[i've attended a parade near Telford for the last 4 or 5 years, with friends, as I happen to visit at that time. I noticed this year the usual standard bearer for the Legion was not there. I asked a member friend who told me he had been "found out". I'd noted him wearing 2 GSM's of the 1918-62 style and commented idly 3 years ago why wasn't he issued just 1 and then an additional bar. Someone else must have noticed because it turns out he wasn't entitled, and actually on investigation hadn't even served. This info came from ex-forces personnel who'd bothered to check up.]

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Perhaps somebody should have told the late Mr Parr, he had no right to wear his deceased relatives medals!

Sorry about the picture quality, but I am sure you can see what I mean. Picture taken from the IOW County Press.

post-890-1257754375.jpg

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The way I 'do' it.

My grandad was a WW1 veteran - and I'm very proud of him - he hated to wear medals and gave them to me when I was fairly young. They are framed.

I bought a miniature 'trio' of replicas which live in a display cabinet.

My daughters (12 & 10) have a lively interest in Remembering and I'm thrilled to encourage it.

I don't feel 'right' in wearing his medals - purely because I remember him so clearly saying he'd never wear them himself...but I'm sure he'd have had a grin a mile wide to see his 10 yr old grandaughter wearing miniature replicas of the medals he was entitled to on the Remembrance Day parade. (on her right hand side!).

(This way....when a child wears them - there's no confusion for others).

Simon.

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The below is not "mine" it comes from a reputable medal "specialist" firm here and is I believe essentially correct (For Australia anyway)

"Military medals have been a source of fascination by Australians for generations, with many thousands of ex-service people (and many civilians) turned collector, despite medals not being freely available for wear by all of us. How did the practice of awarding a medal start? In ancient times, Roman Legions awarded the first legionnaire to go "over the wall" a laurel of oak leaves which was later amended to a gold button. Napoleon rewarded his bravest soldiers the Legion of Honour, which became an enduring symbol of excellence in France to this day, to the extent where holders of the Ordre Royale de la Legion D'Honneur to give it it's full title, are saluted by gendarmes and traffic is halted for them to cross a street. Decorations, awards, campaign, and service medals are a token of esteem awarded by a country to it's most distinguished citizens (and often citizens of other countries).

Medals are worn with the obverse side showing. Medals conferred by the Australian government are impressed or more latterly engraved on the rim (or in the case of stars and some more recent medals, engraved on the reverse) with the service number, name and initials of the recipient and worn on the left breast. If you are wearing medals of a relative, then in accordance with accepted ex-service organisation protocols, you would wear them on your right breast. For more information about the order in which you should wear specific medals, see the Order of Precedence. Riband (often erroneously called ribbon) bars generally are worn with each riband between 10mm to 13mm high and usually 30mm wide (some gallantry and older medals have wider riband than the standard 32mm), again mounted invisibly with a brooch or clutch pin fitting. Riband bars are worn only whilst in uniform and the length by protocol is restricted to roes of ribands with a maximum of four ribands wide.

Riband or ribbon bars, are worn only whilst in uniform.

It must be stated; there are no laws relating to how medals should be worn other than those applicable to serving personnel, and these are defined in the relevant orders and instructions like ASOD (Army Standing Orders for Dress) relating to each branch of the service and enforced by the Defence Force Discipline Act.

There are however, accepted standards called protocols which have been developed by ex-service organisations like the RSL for retired or ex-service personnel that relate to the wearing of medals with civilian dress. For example; medal entitlements are worn on the left breast, and generally court or swing mounted on an invisible mounting brooch affixed to a jacket or coat. Often there is a requirement to wear medals only on a shirt (particularly in the case of currently serving military, fire, emergency services and police service personnel to name a few) in uniform.

The Defence Act 1903 (as amended) does however have penalties for those who misrepresent themselves as returned service men or women, and those penalties have been stiffened considerably. S80B of the Act states;

Improper Use of Service Decorations

(1) Subject to this section, a person shall not wear a service decoration unless he is the person upon whom the decoration was conferred.

(2) Where the person upon whom a service decoration was conferred has died, it is not an offence against subsection (1) for a member of the family of that person to wear the service decoration if the member of the family does not represent himself as being the person upon whom the decoration was conferred.

(3) It is not an offence against subsection (1) for a person to wear a service decoration in the course of a dramatic or other visual representation (including such a representation to be televised) or in the making of a cinematograph film.

(4) A person shall not falsely represent himself as being the person upon whom a service decoration has been conferred.

(5) A person shall not deface or destroy, by melting or otherwise, a service decoration.

Penalty: $3,300.

Service Decoration is defined under the Act as; Service Decoration — means any order, medal, badge, clasp, bar or other insignia that was or may be conferred for valour, distinguished conduct or service, long service, good conduct, devotion to duty, efficiency, participation in a campaign or other warlike operation or for any other reason on a member of the Defence Force or of any armed force of any part of the Queen's dominions or of any Power allied or associated with Australia in any war or warlike operations in which Australia is or has been engaged, and includes the ribbon of any such order, medal, badge, clasp or other decoration and any colourable imitation, representation or miniature of any such order, medal, badge, clasp or other decoration. This therefore refers to any award.

Official medals then are only to be worn by those to whom the medal has been conferred, generally by the Australian or British government, or those of Australia's allies. The major exception to this ruling occurs on commemmorative occasions like Remembrance Day (November 11), Viet Nam Veterans' (Long Tan) Day (August 18) and Anzac Day (April 25). On these occasions, descendants wear the medals of deceased recipients but usually acceptably only on the right breast.

Medals are worn in specific order, called the Order of Precedence, and the award of some medals preclude the wearing of others. For example a Viet Nam Logistics medal is not awarded (or worn) in addition to an Australian Viet Nam medal, or in the granting of both the ASM (Australian Service Medal 1945-1975), and the current ASM (1975+) to a long-serving career soldier, sailor or airman/woman, the latter would fall second as the first recognises prior service. The accepted protocol of wearing medals on the left breast of the awardee can be traced back to the time of the crusades in the 13th century, when knights of the realm wore their badge of honour close to their heart. The left side was generally the side that was covered by the shield which was held on the left arm protecting both the heart and the badge of honour.

Miniature medals should only be worn at formal dress functions, after dark. "

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