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Brigade-Piron

Belgian Korea Medals

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Hello guys, this is my first post on this board, so be nice!

I'm really interested in the Belgian-Luxembourg Contingent (BUNC) in Korea so below I've put pictures of the medals I've got so far. I apologise for the awful quality of the photography, but they're the best I've got at the moment.

First up, the Medal for Foreign Operations.

MyMedal.jpg

Note the Corée-Korea bar.

Second, the Medal of the War Volunteer (post-1952 version) with Corée-Korea bar. The PUGNATOR bar is missing.

DSCF1186.jpg

Next, the Belgian-Type UN Medal:

DSCF2598.jpg

DSCF2599.jpg

I'd apreciate any information on this type - why was the standard medal not used?

Then, the Militaire Decoratie/Decoration Militaire Article 4 medal:

DSCF2592.jpg

I believe that this is this medal is an unofficial version and that the Corée-Korea bar was not authorised. The EENDRACHT MAAKT MACHT (along the top) L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (along the bottom) legend and lions of both sides, means that it was issued from 1952 (?) though I'd be grateful if someone could confirm this. Also, I'm afraid that I don't know whether this is the 'good service' or the 'gallantry' type - the chevron is correct for the former, the ribbon for the latter, which type is it - or is it both?

Thanks!

BP

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BP

Thank you for posting the pictures of the Belgian Korean War medals in your collection. I have examples of the first three medals, with only the UN Korea Medal looking as though it had been worn.

In his book 'Honours, Medals and Awards of the Korean War', Kevin R Ingraham writes of the Belgian UN Korea Medal as follows:

"Belgium originally issued the standard French coinage. The unique Belgian style was a private purchase item which later became the official issue. It has a raised rim and a ring suspension, deleting the claw and bar of the other coinages. The obverse is signed "J. DEMERET". The obverse is the same as the reverse of the Belgian Overseas Operations Medal."

Regards

Brett

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I believe that this is this medal is an unofficial version and that the Corée-Korea bar was not authorised. The EENDRACHT MAAKT MACHT (along the top) L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (along the bottom) legend and lions of both sides, means that it was issued from 1952 (?) though I'd be grateful if someone could confirm this. Also, I'm afraid that I don't know whether this is the 'good service' or the 'gallantry' type - the chevron is correct for the former, the ribbon for the latter, which type is it - or is it both?

You are right in assuming the Corée-Korea bar is not authorised for this medal. The ribbon is indeed the Art.4 (gallantry) type and the chevron denotes the 1st class of this medal. For it to be a Korean War award, it officially would have to have a silver palm with the royal cypher "L" on its ribbon.The reverse centre would have no royal cypher but the same climbing lion as on the obverse.

The bilingual motto on the medal was made official on 24 October 1951 but manufacturers did have unilingual medal stocks which they would have wanted to get rid off before producing the bilingual model ...

Regards,

Hendrik

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Thank you very much for the information!

Brett - I'm not sure about that detail about the UN medal - mine does not have the J. Demeret on it - is this a matter of concern? The other thing is the safety pin fastening is not on many examples of this medal I've seen (which usually have the standard double bayonette fastening) - is this common?

Thanks again!

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BP

The Belgian UN Korea Medal in my collection has the "J. DEMERET" inscription followed by "51", perhaps indicating the date of design or date of manufacture. It has a replacement ribbon with neither the safety pin nor the double bayonet pins. The latter must have been the contemporary method of attachment.

Perhaps the medal in your collection is recent copy. Evidently, there are many official and unofficial copies of the original UN Korea Medals in circulation, so the Belgian medal may now have been added to this list.

Regards

Brett

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BP

I have attached a very poor picture of the SE quadrant of the Belgian UN Korea Medal in my collection. I hope this helps. If not, I will try again.

Regards

Brett

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Ah, that's much clearer - thanks!

I'll have to wait 'till next week to check my medal, but I've examined the photos I've got of mine - and they seem to have some text (?) in the same area as the text on yours.

I'll check and get back to you when I can. I must get a copy of the book you refered to as well!

All the best,

BP

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Brett

I've checked my medal and it does indeed have the mark in the place you indicated, though I wouldn't have noticed it if I wasn't looking specially. I guess that indicates that its a real one - with ribbon replaced?

Laurence - that's a very nice medal!

Thank you for all your help,

BP

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Hello dear friends, interesting posts that ask for more ;)

1° The bar CORÉE-KOREA is normally the one fitting the Arrêté Royal from 26 09 1951.

But other versions exist as : COREE COREA (Corea with a C), KOREA CORÉE (with Dutch language first) or simply COREE.

They also exist with different sizes, texts can be in highlight or engraved, aso.....just according the ideas of the makers.

2° The signature is J. DEMART 51 and not DEMARET (without second E) but a model without engravers name also exists.

The 1st medal shown (MED COMMEMORATIVE DES OPERATIONS EXTERIEURES) can also have following 3 bars according to the theatre of action :

IMJIN / HAKTANG-NI / CHATKOL.

3° the Belgian made medal came because it was cheaper than the official French language one and the maker DEGREEF in Brussel saw a financial opportunity to shortcut the official ones....

Also because most of the Belgian medals are worn on a ring (nor on a bar) and the wearers found it more elegant to hold to a more Belgian conventional way of medals...

3° Of course, the War Volunteer medal can be found with the brass colour bar COREE KOREA in the different varieties.

4° the same medal but named VOLONTAIRE COMBATTANT (fighting volunteer) wears the same bar but SILVERED.

5° Hendrik is right about the Art.4 Military Medal, yet some veterans told me that they put the COREE KOREA bar on the ribbon to make THE difference with the other wearers of this medal...

6° The national orders (LEOPOLD, COURONNE, LEOPOLD II) can wear crossed swords with a bar COREE KOREA if the veteran deserves it.

These swords with bar can be found in brass, silvered and gilded...and with different bar varieties...

So, hope this can help you in your collection.

friendly regards ;)

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Hello dear friends, interesting posts that ask for more ;)

1° The bar CORÉE-KOREA is normally the one fitting the Arrêté Royal from 26 09 1951.

But other versions exist as : COREE COREA (Corea with a C), KOREA CORÉE (with Dutch language first) or simply COREE.

They also exist with different sizes, texts can be in highlight or engraved, aso.....just according the ideas of the makers.

2° The signature is J. DEMART 51 and not DEMARET (without second E) but a model without engravers name also exists.

The 1st medal shown (MED COMMEMORATIVE DES OPERATIONS EXTERIEURES) can also have following 3 bars according to the theatre of action :

IMJIN / HAKTANG-NI / CHATKOL.

3° the Belgian made medal came because it was cheaper than the official French language one and the maker DEGREEF in Brussel saw a financial opportunity to shortcut the official ones....

Also because most of the Belgian medals are worn on a ring (nor on a bar) and the wearers found it more elegant to hold to a more Belgian conventional way of medals...

3° Of course, the War Volunteer medal can be found with the brass colour bar COREE KOREA in the different varieties.

4° the same medal but named VOLONTAIRE COMBATTANT (fighting volunteer) wears the same bar but SILVERED.

5° Hendrik is right about the Art.4 Military Medal, yet some veterans told me that they put the COREE KOREA bar on the ribbon to make THE difference with the other wearers of this medal...

6° The national orders (LEOPOLD, COURONNE, LEOPOLD II) can wear crossed swords with a bar COREE KOREA if the veteran deserves it.

These swords with bar can be found in brass, silvered and gilded...and with different bar varieties...

So, hope this can help you in your collection.

friendly regards ;)

Belgoman,

Very interesting and helpful post.  It leaves me with some questions though.  Was there a regulation publish by Belgium making the MED COMMEMORATIVE DES OPERATIONS EXTERIEURES the official UN Korean medal for Belgium?  If so, what was the date of this regulation?  The reason I ask is that since there were three separate rotations of Belgian troops sent to Korea would all of them have received the UN official French version or would some of the soldiers only receive the MED COMMEMORATIVE DES OPERATIONS EXTERIEURES?  I found this ribbon bar, attributed to Raphael Dael, with both medals mounted together. Lawrence H. Borts, in his book "United Nations Medals and Missions, says that the United Nations Korean Service Medal (Standard French Version) was awarded to "Belgium,Canada (French-Speaking) France and Luxembourg with the COREE bar and that 16,900 were awarded.  That, considering what has been said on this thread, makes me curious as to how many of these medals would have been awarded to Belgian servicemen.

Also, would please tell us something about the "Belgian United Nations Command For Korea Medal" worn on the bar pictured. 

Regards,

Gordon

13721_original.jpg

Edited by Gordon Craig

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Here are some interesting papers on a Belgian soldier that died in Corea. There is a letter from the Corps Commander to the parents (with picture), a diploma awarding posthumous the Commemorative Medal for Foreign Theatres with Coree-Korea bar, a diploma awarding the War Volunteer Medal and a diploma awarding posthumous the Knight Cross of the Leopold II Order with Palm, the War Cross 1940 with Palm and the Medal for War Volunteer-Fighter.

 

Best regards,

 

GM1 

IMG_3464.jpg

IMG_3465.jpg

IMG_3462.jpg

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GM1,

Very interesting post.  I am always looking for medal groups like those you have posted the documents for.  Especially for the Korean War.  Thanks very much for posting these documents.

Regards,

Gordon

 

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4 hours ago, Gard said:

Can anyone tell me if this bar is correct

The bar "Korea-Coree" does not belong on this medal but it is not uncommon that veterans put this sort of bars on their medals. Belgium is not very strict about this things.

The "Military Decoration (art. 4)", for gallantry, can only have a chevron (for a first class award) and a palm (for gallantry in war) on it's ribbon.

There are four types of Palms:

  • with an "A" (created in 1915)
  • with an "LIIIL" (created in 1941)
  • with an "L", (created in 1952)
  • without any monogram since 1954

The black bar means the recipient fell during combat or died from wounds received by the enemy. The mother of the fallen soldier was allowed to wear this medal if this bar was attached.

The black bar on your medal looks not well made. It should have silver sides with black enamel (not sure I translated this correctly) in the middle. Personally I thinks it's not genuine.

 

Vincent

Edited by VC89

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Hello Gard,

there is something wrong with these bars , though there is nothing wrong with the "Military decoration"

Bar "Korea-Coree" does not belong there. Mothers bar ( black enameld ) is not original and the palm seems to be of a different type as usual.

We seen al lot of them on ebay Belgium. Some sellers put anything they have on the ribbon to make it more expensieve since Korean war items are sought after.

 

 

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It appears that Belgium may follow the French custom of having/allowing multiple manufactureres of medals and bars, with the almost inevitable result that various persons including both veterans and unscrupulous sellers can easily obtain extra bars to 'improve' medals.

It is certainly the case that as long as medals have been issued they have been appropriated and worn or displayed by soldiers who felt entitled to them, regardless of what some $%##$** regulation said.  Sadly, this means that it is often impossible to tell who has added bars and medals to a group or even why: a real soldier who only served 29 of the needed 30 days to qualify for an awrad, for example, or the dealer trying to get more money from a  buyer.  That is why, I think, named medals have always and will always command such a premium. 

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