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Galloglas
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Further up the chain, this does rather seem to have got a bit steamy. Though modern formally expressed policies on the wearing of medals have evolved from those of the past, they are primarily intended to address the regulation of the serving military.

Civilian practice is ostensibly expected to follow the military principles, most of those wearing medals having served, but there are nowadays many 'popular' practices that diverge significantly from the older conventions, and would have been frowned upon very much by the more conventional pre-WW2 serving soldier.

If we return to some things already addressed:

- It is still the convention that medals belonging to another person awarded them (if worn) should be worn on the right breast and properly mounted within the customs that would have applied to the original recipient. This principle does not apply to the serving military, in uniform, who should only wear their own medals. The purpose of this practice is to make it absolutely clear that the wearer is not indicating their own entitlement to the medals of others. The wearer might also need to wear their own medals in the correct way at the same time. Here, it is the actual medals that were worn by another that should be worn. THese have often been passed to the requested wearer by somebody unable to be present themselves, by incapacity or death. It would not be consistent with this very dignified custom for people just to assume they can make up a set of replica medals as if that fell within the same custom through some more remote degree of kinship, or as a personal choice.
- It is not unusual for those living recipients holding the VC to safeguard the actual medal as a separate keepsake whilst wearing a replica mounted with their other medals. Very regrattably, this necessary precaution has to be taken as a counter to possible theft.
- Re-enactors, and re-enactors who are also in some relationship by descent from original recipients, need to take special care that they are not in conflict with more fundamental convention. For example, and I do not personalise my remarks here, that a family member was once awarded a VC would not of itself create a justification for wearing a replica of one or of the other medals earned subsequently. Bequeathed medals, are in a different category, and might well be worn in this way on recognisably appropriate circumstances. Similaerly, if the purpose is faithful re-enactment of events, then it begs the question of whether the medal (or replica) could or would have been worn by the recipent in the situation actually being re-enacted. It's also not very faithful re-enactment to appear wearing a medal in symbolism of a person, if the person himself was not ever present at that place wearing it. There can be exceptions when the context is making it obvious that there is a stronger degree of simulation. So, if the presentation of the medal is being re-enacted, or in like circumstances, then perhaps, but probably not otherwise. Wearing of medals for theatrical (or film) purposes is in another category, since there is no real supposition that the person wearing them for dramatic effect is connected to the military or the individual recipient. It would serve re-nactors well to be very scrupulous in this regard, and the best of them always are.
And, finally, the impression is created by the appearance of something and its context and evident or asumed purpose. The award of a VC to a distant relative is possibly not of itself a justification for the continued or occasional wearing of one - real or replica. Better not to, I suggest, lest it might be thought that some form of indirect credit (and recognition) might be being sought. Purity of motive is not always manifested by the visible.

My intention here is not to offend, but I do wish that those re-enactors (or people who like dfressing up) and who stray of good principle and orthodoxy would take more care in these matters. As Burns said:
"Wad the pow'r the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us"
G
Galloglas
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As examples of modern formal policy for all 3 armed forces:
WEARING OF MEDALS

1213. Only those medals awarded to the individual are to be worn.

1214. Medals awarded to the individual are to be worn in accordance with Joint Service Publication 336 Volume 12: Supply Chain Instructions for the LAND Environment on one row on the left hand side of the chest (only the Life Saving Medal of the Order of St John, The Royal Humane Society medals, Stanhope Gold Medal and the medal of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution may be worn on the right side of the chest). When medals cannot, on account of their number, be suspended from the brooch so as to be fully seen, they are to overlap with the first medal fully exposed. Care is to be taken that the obverse is showing and not the reverse.
WEARING OF MEDALS AFTER LEAVING THE SERVICE

1220. While on leaving the Service personnel cease to be bound by these instructions, they are expected to conform to the general instructions published in the London Gazette and in particular not to add any order, decoration, medal or emblem to which they are not verifiably entitled or which has not been approved for acceptance and wear. The wearing of unauthorised awards is a grave discourtesy to Her Majesty The Queen.

G
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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G
A very clear explanation, sensitively and fairly put. Thanks - and also for the up-to-date position (from QRs?).

Saw - I think the Medal of Honor regulations you have described have much to commend them. Firstly, because they are crystal clear and allow for no ambiguity. Secondly, because there is a positive attempt to demonstrate that the rules are strict specifically to promote or support the uniqueness and prestige of the award.

I suspect - like most "rules & regs" this side of the pond - our present position has developed gradually by custom & convention, periodically ratified or clarifed by KRs/QRs, WO/MoD decrees etc., etc. As a lifelong civvy with no personal experience of these things but a very close interest, I'd consider a tightening up of the VC (at the very least) regulations to be in everyone's interest. For what it's worth, I'd allow widows* only to wear a VC, if that. No duplicates/replicas to be worn, other than by the recipient. Campaign medals or other awards to be worn only by the recipient's immediate family - siblings; own children - in agreed, limited circumstances at appropriate, official occasions only. But I'd agree that there is a good case for insisting that a VC or duplicate should only ever be worn by the recipient himself.*

Peter

* or widowers
* or herself
(The day will come, I suppose).
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
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These things seem straight-forward and they are not.

The wearing of ancestors' medals (on the right breast) has never bothered me in the past. Sometimes the originals will have been lost so a duplicate/copy set is worn. OK..........

But, what happens, for the sake of argument, when more than one descendant wants to wear the medals? Three or four people could be chinking along wearing identical sets.

I have my grandfather's WW2 medals (unmounted) and have never worn them. He survived the war. I also have the medals to a local man killed during WW1. On Remembrance Day I tuck these into an inside pocket and take them to the service.

The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel is close to me, and commemorates, among others, the 14 men of HMS Glamorgan killed on 13 June 1982 when it was hit by a shore-based Exocet missile. HMS Glamorgan is the only ship ever to have survived such an attack. When I visited the chapel on the anniversary of the attack, I took with me the South Atlantic Medal to one of the men who fought the fire that day, and placed it briefly on the memorial of stones. So we all honour those who have passed in our different ways.

Peter
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Colin Fielding


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
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Obviously the wearing of medals not earned by myself has caused negative debate and that was never the intended target. Easy way out of this for me for the future is to keep what I have to myself. So that's one less redcoat on the scene for the general public to continue or initiate an interest in these epic battles. I am just a very proud descendant, not a re-enactor, I take my hat (pith helmet ) off to those who do know enough detail about life in Victoria's Army to put on an accurate display.I'm just trying to add what I can. No one at any event that I have ever attended in uniform has even thought about questioning any right to wear replica medals. I come home hoarse after most events having spent two/three days chatting with the general public in positive and hopefully, informative ,
discussion. It's not my red tunic either , nor the trousers, or the boots but it seems OK to wear them so where is the line drawn? Damned if I know, but anyway, that's immaterial as they will be staying in the wardrobe now.

Good luck to those who continue. Regards and ta ta , Col.
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1326
Location: Wales
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Colin,

you should carry on exactly as you were. No one ever imagines that you are a VC holder.
It is right that you should wear the cross to make people aware of your
connection to a person who is being remembered.
You should not be affected by any suggestions that it is not 'quite right'.
I for one would think it a great pity if you stopped doing your bit. You are
one of the most genuine people I know and your attendance at various events
is much appreciated.

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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
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Here's another example of wearing medals to honour those who are no longer here.

One man recently discovered his great-grandfather was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal at the age of 53 for two acts of gallantry in Burma in WW2. One act involved repulsing a Japanese ambush and recovering the bodies of his comrades.

The descendant was able to trace the names of those killed that day and contacted a number of relatives, including a widow and two brothers. He has since met the widow. I understand that all involved have been very moved by the experience to keep strong the memories of the dead.

The DCM descendant has also joined the Gallantry Medallists' League and may be invited to walk past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. He will wear a replica set as the originals have long since left the family.

Honouring yesterday's warriors takes many different forms, and we should each do what is right for us as individuals.

Peter
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Galloglas
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What people actually do is ultimately up to them. However it's clearly wise to be aware of what is generally deemed to be conventional and orthodox and what might not be.
Modern practice is often divergent from the rigorously formal and traditional ways of the past. More's the pity in several respects.
What might the men being commemorated think? In a way, and rather like the enemy in modern counter-insurgency operations they 'have a vote' too.
Meaning no discourtesy, I have no idea who Colin Fielding is and can only wish him well in the choices he makes.
G
Directions to Pte Savage grave.
Colin Fielding


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
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Scorer, as requested.
The plot number is R464.

Entrance is most easily gained via the entrance on Allensbank Road, though the parking is best near the Chapels on Fairoak Road.

I can send you a map via e-mail if you wish.

Regards, Col.
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rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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Again, I don't think it better in any way--just peculiar that Yanks who aren't seemingly as tradition driven as Brits have so much more draconian rules. Why is that I wonder to myself wonder I?


You know we may have "draconian" rules about those medals but what gets me is that it doesn't deter those infamous impersonators who go around wearing all those bravery medals at military affairs basking in the adulation they might receive for being "in the battle cauldron" so to speak.
Some have no compunction in doing it. I'm not sure to what exent it occurs in Britain but it sure does happen here.

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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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Colin, I (for one) consider your wearing of your ancestor's VC respectful and perfectly acceptable. I hope you didn't misinterpret my observations on our own laws concerning our MOH to be any sort of negative judgement on you. It's great that you can brush off the dust and display it among the hoi polloi and I'm guessing that the ranker who earned it would have felt the same.
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Its that man again!
John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 923
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Saint Margaret's Church, Westminster last night hosted a Help for Heroes event, when Rob Caskie of Fugitives' Drift Lodge gave a lecture on Rorke's Drift. There was I in my own little world admiring the surroundings when a hand reached over from the pew behind me and tapped me on the shoulder, when I turned around I discovered the ubiquitous Colin Fielding!

Rob played to a packed house, and certainly managed to enthral the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, as I discovered afterwards in a discussion with the Dean. To Rob and all those involved in organising the event well done for raising funds for such a worthy cause!

To the rest of you, where were you? I'll accept no excuses!

You still have a chance to redeem yourselves by attending Rob's concluding talks at:

Tuesday 28th June 2011, Brecon Cathedral, Brecon

Thursday 30th June 2011, @Bristol (That's the name of the venue), Bristol

Friday 1st July 2011, Caerhays Castle, Mevagissey

Times vary according to venue, see website for more detail: www.h4hzuluwartalks.co.uk


John Y.
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Re: Directions to Pte Savage grave.
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Newport
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Colin Fielding wrote:
Scorer, as requested. The plot number is R464.

Entrance is most easily gained via the entrance on Allensbank Road, though the parking is best near the Chapels on Fairoak Road. I can send you a map via e-mail if you wish.

Regards, Col.


Yes, please, I'd appreciate that - you can PM me with it if it's possible - thanks!

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pte. savage location
Colin Fielding


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
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Scorer; will do asap, PC at work has thrown a strop !

Regards, Col.
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Re: pte. savage location
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Newport
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Colin Fielding wrote:
Scorer; will do asap, PC at work has thrown a strop ! Regards, Col.


Ah, this new technology ..... bring back the quill pen, is what I say - thanks!

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Edward Savage
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