Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Gallantry Medals of WW1

This postcard printed in England by Gale & Polden Ltd., London, Aldersot, and Portsmouth. No. 1355.

This postcard shows three very important medals that were used during the First World War to recognise special deeds of bravery. On the far left is the Military Cross, made of silver, which was instituted on 28 December 1914. It was awarded to commissioned officers of captain and below, and Warrant Officers in appreciation of distinguished and meritorious service in time of war. Some of the New Zealanders to receive this award include; Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Stewart, Captain NH Prior, Captain S Natusch, the Reverend C Houchen, Captain T Hiroti, and Captain Harold Eric Barrowclough.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for all ranks awarded "For Valour" in the face of the enemy. This medal (pictured in the centre of the postcard) was introduced in 1856 and is made from metal of guns captured from the Russian army in the Crimean War. New Zealanders to win this prestigious award for valour during the First World War include; Leslie Andrew, Cyril Bassett, Donald Brown, James Crichton, Samuel Forsyth, Samuel Frickleton, John Grant, Reginald Judson, John Laurent, Henry Nicholas, and Richard Travis.

The Legion d'Honneur is the highest decoration in France and was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The award is made from a selection of five categories; Chevalier (Knight), Officier, Commandeur, Grand Officier, and Grand Croix. Some notable New Zealanders to receive this award during the First World War include; the New Zealand Prime Minister (1912-1925), William Fergusson Massey awarded the Grand Officier; Major General George Napier Johnston, Commander of the NZ Division Artillery; Major General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell, Commander of the NZ Division on the Western Front; Doctor Leslie Cecil Lloyd Averill, first up the ladder during the liberation of Le Quesnoy in 1918, and many others. 

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