British Military Medals: A Guide for the Collector and Family Historian Paperback – 19 Nov 2009
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|Paperback, 19 Nov 2009||
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Top customer reviews
My other pet hate is the increased use of the word “military” to encompass all armed forces - including Naval and Air Forces, when the word actually refers to ground troops - i.e. soldiers. Within British awards, there is the Navy Cross, Air Force Cross and Military Cross available separately to each of our different services although members of the Royal Marines, which are part of the Royal Navy, will be considered for the MC simply because their fighting role is similar to that of the army.
Whilst I am, therefore, disappointed with the title of this book, I am also confused by a significant amount of the content - such as the inclusion of certain civilian awards - WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service), civil service, colonial police, prison service and others who are certainly not armed fighting units and do not, therefore, come under the heading of ‘military.’ Elsewhere, some of the information is incomplete such as the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) medal with no mention of the post nominal letters “UD” (Ulster Decoration) being used by officers of that regiment in the same way as “TD” (Territorial Decoration) is used by officers of the Territorial Army.
In addition, we are left wondering what is meant by the author’s choice of words such as “Others never did” appearing at the end of one photo caption. We are informed that the present day Army Long Service and Good Conduct medal with Queen Elizabeth II head was introduced in 1930 and is still issued today. I don’t think Queen Elizabeth was on the throne in 1930 and, although I know what the author “meant” to say, I am commenting on the overall ambiguity.
Nevertheless, much of what is written is very refreshing. Unlike other books about British medals, we have additional information over and above basic data. As examples of this ‘good and bad,’ I learned that a medal was issued to the crew of the Carpathia for their work in rescuing survivors of the Titanic disaster and that the Tayleur Medal was awarded for life-saving between 1861 and 1875 - instituted from funds raised to benefit survivors of a ship of that name which sank in 1854. How these might be classified as military awards is, however, beyond my comprehension .
The second part of the book’s title reads; “A Guide for the Collector and Family Historian” and made me wonder how many people might have inherited an obscure medal before beginning some form of search. With so few medal illustrations in the book and even fewer ribbons shown in colour, I fear the researcher is unlikely to find the answer here.
Altogether, therefore, considerable confusion on a number of fronts, insufficient illustrations and that must be offset against the occasional significant new information which I have not seen recorded in books on similar subjects.
British army major (retired)
It is a pity the author did not check the references from the works he consulted as he has reproduced a number of errors and cited information that is now known to be out of date.
There are other works available that are cheaper and better.
Purchased to help with identifying the medals issued to family ancestors and the history as to when and why they were won.
My only complaint is the small number of colour pictures; somehow a black and white image does not make the medal so easily recognisable. Official descriptions are precise but do not lend themselves to accurate images in the mind's eye - the language of colours moves with the times.
I would happily have paid more for colour pictures throughout ...even artist's colour impressions would have improved this book.
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