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Remembered Today:

Do You Win a Medal


PhilB
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It usually says "Lt Smith won an MC" or similar. It doesn`t sound quite right - makes it sound like a competition he won. "Earned an MC" doesn`t quite do it either - he may have earned it but not got it. "Was awarded" sounds proper but a bit colourless. What`s the best way to put it?

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Phil,

I agree with you on the term "win" - they didn't go out with the intent of winning anything. I'd say they earned it for what ever given reason. If it was "given" then everyone else would have one too.

This is what I say to people when they talk about men "winning" the VC... aaggghhhh

Les

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Win - to go out with intention of obtaining

Earn - awarded through bravery/meritorious action above & beyond the call of duty

Given - issued "for being there" (sounds callous, but that's the only way I could put it in to words)

Awarded - the act of giving a medal to a recipient

When it comes to a bravery decoration (not medal) then the holder is a recipient not winner.

This is how I look at it, but like you, many people have their own thoughts on the correct wording. It's possibly one of those like quirks that may never be settled.

Les

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From the Fleet Order re.1914 Star:

"HM The King having been pleased to approve the grant of a distinctive decoration....the following regulations for the award of the decoration are issued for information." And later "The 1914 Star is now ready for issue ... The award is to the Officers and men ...The Star is not granted to any Officer or man employed ...Those who have deserted ... will not be granted the Star."

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I dont think one word covers all.

Some medals are granted, awarded, given, allocated.

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Popular vernacular (especially the press) = won, official terminology = awarded (or granted). Don't forget that won also means obtained by (great) effort (and is used , especially in the 19th and early 20th century in this context there are often phrases like "the valuable ore hard won from the unyielding rock"

Earned is a difficult one - there must have been many men who earned a gallantry award but didn't get one and (inevitably in the fog and confusion of war) some others who got one they hadn't earned (it would be invidious however to attempt to identify such).

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I think it's fair to say that something like the LSGC medal is "earned".

The problem with "award" and "grant" isn't so much with the verb as the noun. "Awardee" and "grantee" for some reason don't sound so usable. There's always "recipient" of course, but it's a bit of a mouthful and a bit cumbersome to say and spell. Perhaps that's why "winner" is often used. I've been guilty of this myself recently.

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I just read a contemporary account where the officer was relating the story that one of his mates had "bagged" an MC which was really nice as his older brother had also bagged one a few months earlier

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While I can see that an officer might "bag an MC", I can`t quite see a private "bagging a DCM".

"Lt Smith gained an MC" doesn`t sound bad?

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But "Gained" suggests he already had one & gained another....

The press of the day usually refer to "Winning" an award,wether the VC or MM;used in it's grammatical sense of the time,when things were "Hard Won" rather that todays expectation of being a prize expected??

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Also one must keep in mind that the wording must change depending on whether it was a DECORATION (Order) or a MEDAL.

Many people confuse the terminology and believe that MEDALS were awarded for bravery or some other act, where they are generally for "bing there".

The Veteran's Affairs Canada site gives some good wording for all the listed items:

VAC Site for Orders, Decorations, Medals, Etc.

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Colliers used to 'win' coal from the face. A ship reaching a port through a storm was said to have won home. Winning had connotations both of success in a competitive field but also of achievement through struggle. However we should also remember that people 'win' the Nobel prize.

Win is obviously a much easier form to use - consider

"He joined the 24th Loamshires in Mesopolonica where he preformed the deed for which he was awarded the Military Medal"

"He joined the 24th Loamshires in Mesopolonica where he won the Military medal"

The second is much easier and more fluent. Take a look at that excellent book Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson - a history of the development of English - ease wins every time (until you get to the US were there is currently sometimes an almost Germanic use of portmanteau words and phrases)

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In the case of an award for bravery............I think the term "Decorated for Gallantry" is most fitting.

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Guest KevinEndon

You see a lot saying GOT. "I got a gallantry medal just for doing my job" or I got my medals through the post and got rid of them as I didn't go to war to win medals.

A good phase would be DESERVED AND RECEIVED

Kevin

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In the case of an award for bravery............I think the term "Decorated for Gallantry" is most fitting.

This can be even more cumbersome - consider

"He joined the 24th Loamshires in Mesopolonica where he was decorated for with the Military Medal"

and might not be accurate - he may have done the deed in theatre but decorated back in the Britain so you end up with:

"He joined the 24th Loamshires in Mesopolonica where he preformed the deed for which he was decorated for gallantry with the Military Medal"

as well as sounding a wee bit pompous.

"He joined the 24th Loamshires in Mesopolonica where he won the Military medal"

still beats it hands down for brevity and simplicity.

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Certainly pompous by todays standards, but 'won' sounds like a word one would associate with something trivial, for example you can win at bingo or win on a slot machine. Simplicity I`ll agree with, but not brevity.

Distingiuished himself in the face of the enemy..........is another one I like. Its pompous for a reason, to command respect from ones peers and highlights importance and thus takes nothing away from the act.

I really feel that what your suggesting is dull and lacks period dramatical flare, which is something that really excites me in the writings of old Victorian officers from an age long gone. When speaking of something as prestigous as an award for gallantry it should be written up in a most meritorious fashion and inspire much Mafekinging amoungst comrades. :P

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