WWI Victory Medal

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WW I Victory Medal

WW I Victory Medal with Submarine Clasp and ribbon showing both sides
WW I Victory Medal with Submarine Clasp and ribbon showing both sides

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

World War I Victory Medal

Awarded for "service between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, or with either of the following expeditions:

American Expeditionary Forces in European Russia between November 12, 1918, and August 5, 1919. American Expeditionary Forces Siberia between November 23, 1918, and April 1, 1920."

A medal of bronze 36 millimeters in diameter. On the obverse is a winged Victory standing full length and full face. On the reverse is the inscription The Great War for Civilization and the coat of arms for the United States surmounted by a fasces, and on either side the names of the Allied and Associated Nations. The medal is suspended by a ring from a silk moire ribbon 1 3/8 inches in length and 36 millimeters in width, composed of two rainbows placed in juxtaposition and having the red in the middle, with a white thread along each edge.

Country: United States
Presented by: Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy
Eligibility: Military personnel only
Motto: The Great War for Civilization
Status: Obsolete
Established 1919: 104 years ago

The World War I Victory Medal (known prior to establishment of the World War II Victory Medal in 1945 simply as the Victory Medal) was a United States service medal designed by James Earle Fraser of New York City under the direction of the Commission of Fine Arts.

Award of a common allied service medal was recommended by an inter-allied committee in March 1919. Each allied nation would design a 'Victory Medal' for award to their military personnel, all issues having certain common features, including a winged figure of victory on the obverse and the same ribbon.

The Victory Medal was originally intended to be established by an act of Congress. The bill authorizing the medal never passed, however, thus leaving the military departments to establish it through general orders. The War Department published orders in April 1919, and the Navy in June of the same year.

The front of the bronze medal features a winged Victory holding a shield and sword on the front. The back of the bronze medal features "The Great War For Civilization" in all capital letters curved along the top of the medal. Curved along the bottom of the back of the medal are six stars, three on either side of the center column of seven staffs wrapped in a cord. The top of the staff has a round ball on top and is winged on the side. The staff is on top of a shield that says "U" on the left side of the staff and "S" on the right side of the staff. On left side of the staff it lists one World War I Allied country per line: France, Italy, Serbia, Japan, Montenegro, Russia, and Greece. On the right side of the staff the Allied country names read: Great Britain, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Rumania (spelled with a U instead of an O as it is spelled now), and China.

Navy Operational Clasps
For sea-related war duty, the Navy issued the following operational clasps, which were worn on the World War I Victory Medal and inscribed with the name of the duty type which had been performed.(see above photo) Clasps for Navy and Marine Corps personnel are rectangular bronze bars with a stylized rope border measuring 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches.

(There is a whole list given but for our purposes we are just noting Submarine Service)

Submarine: Submarine duty performed on the Atlantic Ocean May 25,1918 November 11, 1918

You can see it was a very limited time of duty and for what reasons we don't know at this time. Seemingly it is only the Atlantic service that seems to leave out those aboard submarine that served in Panama and the Pacific. The Navy limited the use of these clasps to only one per medal unlike the other services and campaigns.

To read the full Wikipedia article on the WW I Victory Medal, please try this link.

Original medal and ribbon in the private collection of Ric Hedman

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Ric Hedman & David Johnston
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