CAMPAIGN MEDAL AWARDED TO WILLIAM HUNTER (1861-1937) – GREAT WAR
The British War Medal was awarded to those who served in the campaigns of the Great War or World War between 5 August 1914 (the day following the British declaration of war against the German Empire) and the armistice of 11 November 1918… both dates inclusive. As war approached again in the mid-1930s, this Great War or World War became known as World War One.
The British War Medal – a medal of the First World War – was established on 26 July 1919. In its Silver version, 6,390,000 were awarded. Some 110,000 Bronze versions of the medal were awarded to labour battalions. The British War Medal was designed by the Aberdeen-born sculptor William McMillan (1887-1977).
The medal is a circular silver design – or in bronze- and 36 mm in diameter. The ribbon is 32 mm wide with a broad orange watered stripe down the centre bordered with white, black and blue stripes. The medal obverse (the principal side) shows a bareheaded King George V effigy, facing left, with ‘GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:’ (George 5th, King of all the Britain’s, and, Emperor of India).
The reverse of the medal shows St. George, naked, on horseback armed with a short sword (an allegory of the physical and mental strength which achieves victory over Prussianism). The horse tramples on the Prussian shield and the skull and cross-bones. Just off-centre, near the right upper rim, is the sun of Victory. The dates 1914 and 1918 appear in the left and right fields respectively.
The British War Medal shown here was the one awarded to Edinburgh University alumnus William Hunter who served in Serbia during the Great War (see the May 2015 post of these Untold Stories, ‘William Hunter & the Order of St. Sava’). Hunter was President of the Advisory Committee, Prevention of Disease, in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia (Gallipoli, Egypt, Salonika, Malta and Palestine), and he also served with the Eastern Command, 1917-1919.
It is contained within the collection of Medals, awards and decorations of William Hunter (1861-1937) curated by the Centre for Research Collections (CRC), Edinburgh University Library, Coll-1146.
Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, CRC
Sources: (1) Online resources. (2) British battles and medals. Lawrence L. Gordon. London: Spink, 1979. Ref. .7372(42) Gor. (Closed stack)