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Remembered Today:

Clasps for individual actions


IanA
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If a soldier was awarded the QSA medal then clasps would have shown which actions he fought in. This system was obviously abandoned for the Great War. Has anyone any idea why soldiers were not awarded a clasp for the Somme or Cambrai?

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Cost & Admin??...

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As far as I am aware, clasps were drawn up but never instituted but there were loads of 'em! You occasionally see them on miniatures but not full size medals.

It's probable that someone more knowlegeble on the subject will be along shortly.

Les

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"Cost & Admin" - it would make sense. Many more soldiers involved in the Great War than the Boer War.

"Clasps were drawn up" - that's interesting. I had not heard of this. And I have not seen them on a miniature.

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A Series of some number of Clasp were authorised for the Royal Navy,those for the Army were mooted {They would have been granted for the "BWM" which is also more correctly known as the General Service Medal 1914~1920} but never officially sanctioned,the clasps to the RN were abandoned due mainly to Cost {hence their appearance on a few miniatures,sold no doubt to accomodate those who considered their entitlement was thus...} & the obvious minefield of cross referring claims for the myriad of Bars against relative Ship Service

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I believe the RN went so far as to make a list, and may even have started production, but the Army realised there would be rather a lot, so binned the idea.

Aha - just read this: 79 bars were suggested by the Army, and 68 by the Navy, but as about 6,500,000 British War Medals had been earned, the idea was dropped on the grounds of expense. However, the Naval bars were authorised, but not issued, which is why miniatures to Naval awards sometimes have bars. (The Observer's Book of British Awards and Medals, EC Joslin).

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The issuing authorities had enough trouble coping with the clasp for the 1914 Star! The administration would have been a nightmare; the previous highest number of bars on a medal to a recipient was 15 on the Military General Service (1793-1815) Medal, which was issued over 30 years after the last clasps qualification date. That reduced the numbers who were around to qualify and Wellington's army was half the size of the original BEF! Imagine the numbers of clasps that the Old Contemptibles would have qualified for, even those who fell during First Ypres. I would think 30 clasp medals would have been possible; and that is picking a number at random and a conservative estimate. The implications of cost just in cross checking the clasps and riveting them together before moving on to costs of the actual materials: 30 silver clasps on top of the medal, varying lengths of ribbon, or all medals with enough ribbon, a more complex box. Just in man hours (don't forget this was all being processed by hand) the requirement is stratospheric, it would have added years to the issue dates. In turn that would have increased the complexities of tracing the men to send the medals to.

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Firstly, a thank you to everyone who has responded. The objections to the awarding of clasps appear obvious but, because of the military tradition, one imagines that something could have been done. Do I remember the old soldier Frank Richards despising medals without clasps. A bar was issued for the 1914 star - subsequent years might have earned clasps to a maximum of six including 1919. Another way forward might have been the model adopted in the Second World War where stars were awarded for general areas of conflict.

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