Jump to content

An Ethiopian ( Derg) Campaign medal


Recommended Posts

I have long suspected that the Ethiopian Derg regime, once the Marxists had eliminated their opposition on the "Council", reissued the nations' more popular medals, probably around 1980 or so. While my struggles with the Amharic dictionary are still epic, I have recently had a bit of a breakthrough with this medal.

My imprecise translation is that the medal commemorates "Struggle against Fascist Aggression" with the dates, 1928-1933. Given the Ethiopians follow the old style Julian calender, this translates to 1935-1940, or the years of the Italian-Ethiopian war.

Thus, I believe I can now (tentatively) identify this mysterious medal as a reissue, almost certainly made in the GDR (or Czechoslovakia), of the earlier Patriotic War Medal, which had featured the bust of the Emperor, Hale Selassie.

There seems to have been also a reissue of the refugees' medal, which also had incorporated the Emperor's likeness and the Victory Star, as a medal.

Note also that there are two "types" of this medal, with a slightly different inscription on the planchet. Also, what I presume to be a later version seems to be lighter in weight and made of a cupro-alloy, not (faux?) bronze (as here).

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 66
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Here is the third "Resistance" / Medal of the Patriots of the Interior / Underground Medal made by Sevadjian. An obvious difference from the English Mappin & Webb version shown earlier in the thre

Posted Images

These days the old veterans, not many of whom are still around, wear their Hale Selassie versions. Note their enormous home made ribbon bars, to which they attach their medals.

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

In the same vein. This is a recent acquisition from Addis. This is a Derg replacement for the earlier "Refugees' medal", which the Emperor had awarded to those who had assisted refugees during the Italian occupation.

Loosely translated, this says" Celebrate ( the) Homecoming" (Return to the Motherland) and dates: 1936-1940 (Western usage).

It is believed to have been issued in 1981 or 1985, at the height of Mengistus' power.

Blank on the reverse, it is of bronze and almost certainly was struck in the DDR. The right hand image is a mirror image to display the medal ribbon.

Derg campaign ribbons seem to have been in a triple striped, (of equal width) pattern with the outer edges repeating.

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

This recently popped up for sale on the internet-alas, I lost it to my French nemesis!

Still, it shows an interesting tricolor pattern ribbon. It is the Derg version/commemoration of the victory medal.

the original star (made by mappin and Web) is placed next to it for comparison.

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lastly, these are the three (maybe 4) classes of bravery medals. interestingly-these were awarded to both Russian/Soviet and Cuban advisers in some quantity. They show up in obscure pictures from the 1970s. The dream of course, is one of these awarded to one of the GDR advisers. The GDR was heavily invested in Ethiopia and sent many army detachments there, some of which saw combat. I suspect the medals were made in the GDR given the boxes , but given the ribbon and hook suspensions, maybe Czechoslovakia as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Much to my surprise, the "famous" and oft-seen on eBay "UN service medal" aka "The Famine Medal" is not that at all!

At least i do not think it is.

After spending some serious time with a Gee'z dictionary and my Ethiopian/Somali ex-officer friend "Dave", who now works at Dunkin Donuts in Lewiston, Maine, the UN medal appears to be a Derg restrike of the Korean war medal!

The original imperial Korean War medal had the old Emperor on its face.

The "new" medal says, "United Nations Service: 1943 (+8 for the Ethiopian calender=1951)! This follows the pattern of replacing or banning the old medals which had the Emperor's countenance upon them and the tri-color ribbon (all of the same width). Often it comes in a GDR made box.

It is a form of Ethiopic cross, reminiscent of the original Korean (Swedish made) campaign cross.

Thus, it is a Communist medal awarded for fighting against another Communist regime!

Now watch the prices sky-rocket!

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
  • 2 years later...

The one on the left shows up and I suspect is a "heroic worker" type medal. The one on the right I think is the new (post derg/Mengitsu regime) UN service medal. The newer Ethiopian medals used to be listed on the Ethiopian Presidents' website and I think Fred Borgman did an OMSA article on some of them. The US military attache' (navy) for the Gulf fleet did a write up on some of these @ 8 years ago and helpfully had it on-line. i shall check.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

This recently popped up for sale on the internet-alas, I lost it to my French nemesis!

Still, it shows an interesting tricolor pattern ribbon. It is the Derg version/commemoration of the victory medal.

the original star (made by mappin and Web) is placed next to it for comparison.

Ulsterman,

Are you still looking for one of these medals? Just back from Addis and I have spares - no ribband though. PM me if interested.

It is Adowa Day today and as I was driving to the airport in a taxi this morning I passed a couple of dozen bemedalled Ethiopian veterans heading up the hill, presumably to St George Cathedral. i wish that I had the the time to stop and chat to them and take a few photos.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Me too! You will never see their like again. The more I read and research these elderly Patriots the more awed I am at their courage and dignity throughout their decades of suffering. They fought a hard war against the Italians, who answered the popular unrest by reprisals and mass executions that the SS would have approved of. Most older patriots live today in extreme poverty.

Under the Marxist Derg regime, having served in Korea or being a member of the Imperial Guard was enough to get one tortured to death-(or shot in the head if you were lucky)- along with ones' family. In 1986 Mengistu made ALL representations of the old Emperor illegal and upwards of 40, 000+ "Monarchists" were murdered by death squads.

This recent picture of the patriots' Day parade in 2010 is interesting because it clearly shows how the older imperial medals were exchanged. This man was a member of the Imperial Guard, an NCO and had served in Korea, yet he proudly wears a mixture of the Derg replacement medals and the old Imperial ones. If you look closely you can see the replacement Korean medal, the Derg wound medal, (center) a modern wound medal (far right) as well as Imperial awards (left side and above- also guard badges).

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites

This guy meanwhile is awesome. Note his bravery medal at the front- something that was NOT handed out lightly (esp. as it had a cash reward and land attached by imperial gift).

He is a Patriot who must have begun fighting the Italians as a teenager warrior, probably a rifle/spear boy following his father. He later became a professional NCO and ended up in the Imperial Guard fighting in Korea and the Congo. He is lucky to still be alive. Note his UN medals and the Korean war veterans' associations medal (handed out by the Korean premier when he visited Addis a few years ago).

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2013/post-171-0-73183200-1364266398.jpgI wish I was in Ethiopia for Patriots Day- in 6 weeks or so. There can't be more than @150-250 Patriots still alive. Their stories are jaw dropping.

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ulsterman,

Image attached of a couple of what I believe are DERG era medals but that I have yet to identify - any ideas?

Tim

attachicon.gifDERG Era Medals.jpg

I have now identified the medal on the left with the cog, book and dividers as the Medal for National Service. Instituted by the DERG Decree 110/1977, amended and completed by Decrees 157/1979 and 169/1979 of 5th September 1979.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Frustratingly no - except for the ribbon (and that doesn't match any of the 3 that I have bought this medal on!). I found a document on the web by DRAGOMIR M. ACOVIĆ entitled "SURVEY OF AWARDS OF ETHIOPIA Beograd, 1996/1999, 2002. I have tried to identify the DERG period medals from the descriptions which, although not exactly the same seem pretty close. I may of course be wrong. What I really need to get hold of now are the references. The exact text reads as follows:

MEDAL FOR NATIONAL SERVICE

Médaille pour le service civile

Zivildienstmedaille

Medalja za gradjansko službovanje

Instituted by the DERG Decree 110/1977, amended and completed by Decrees 157/1979 and 169/1979 of 5th September 1979.

O= Circular medal, ø 35 mm.

B= Gold.

D= Obverse of the medal displays a five-pointed star, a cogwheel, a compass and a book, all surrounded with Amharic circumscription (A).

L= White with narrow orange middle stripe: 1st Class;

Orange with narrow white middle stripe: 2nd Class.

T= The Medal was awarded in 2 Classes, and was worn suspended from the Ribbon upon left breast:

1st Class: As described;

2nd Class: Same as described, only silver made, and different Ribbon.

Motto= (A): For Long Service.

K= The Medal was awarded for long civilian (Public) service. First Class was awarded for 20 years, and 2nd Class for 15 years.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Christoph Ernst Kredel: “Ethiopia Tikdem; Orden und Ehrenzeichen im so-zialistischen Äthiopien” (Orden-Militaria-Magazin; Jhrg.84, # 14- p. 342-343, # 15- p. 353-354, # 16/17- p. 379-381); Negarit Gazeta (38th Year, #5; Addis Ababa, 7th March, 1979);

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim and Ulsterman

Truly awesome medals [and the vets wearing them]. In fact, the vets are the more awe inspiring of the two. History on the hoof. Sadly, as you say, most will be gone in another few years and probably the majority of their stories will be lost to the wider world. One finds this ancient heroes in many places but, by and large, few appreciate what they were and did, outside their families and a [very] small group of 'oddball' collectors like yourselves. Thanks for sharing both the photos and your knowledge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

test? trying out the IPad uploaded. note the wounded Patriot on left is wearing a very tattered gold Derg Police service medal.

Edited by Ulsterman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Blog Comments

    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
    • At work the standard indian tea such as PG tips is referred to as chimp tea. This goes back to the days when we had a Spanish girl working for us whose command of the English language was extremely limited. One lunch she said she was going to the shop could she get anything. I asked if she could get a pack of tea bags. She returned with some disgusting herbal concoction. I tried to explain what was required but without success. I then remembered PG tips had a picture of a chimpanzee on the packe
    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
    • I have been known to drink Lapsang Souchong and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot... both "without pollutants". I normally have one mug of coffee in the morning, then spend the rest of the day drinking Orange & Mango squash (by the pint). Then evening comes and it's a pint, followed by red wine with dinner and sometimes a drop of Laphroaig afterwards.
×
×
  • Create New...