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Tony Farrell

Military LS&GC Medals

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I thought I?d give this an airing - my latest acquisition: Military Long Service & Good Conduct Medal ? Southern Rhodesia issue. The Military LS&GC (often referred to erroneously as the ?army? LSM) was introduced in 1930, and replaced the Army LS&GC in the United Kingdom, and (gradually) the Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas LS&GC in the various dominions, colonies and protectorates.

The British Regular Army issue not withstanding, examples to the main dominions of Australia, Canada and New Zealand (whilst not exactly plentiful) are the ones most likely to be encountered. The other relatively ?common? issue is that awarded in India ? which was neither a colony nor a dominion, but rather an autonomous British Indian administration. South African examples ? once extremely hard-to-find are now slowly starting to appear on the market. Colonial issues on the other hand are generally difficult to source, though they do crop up on the market from time to time, and several scarcities are currently listed in one notable dealer's catalogue.

The Elizabeth II issue of this particular variant was only in existence for a very short time, as Southern Rhodesia (along with its northern counterpart) became absorbed in to the Central African Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland in 1953. It is doubtful if it was actually awarded during its brief tenure, as it was soon replaced by the Rhodesia & Nyasaland version. Whilst I have yet to confirm actual issue numbers for the Southern Rhodesia variant (1930-53) of the medal, what is certain is that it is a scarce issue, with total awards likely to be in double figures only.

Edited by Tony Farrell

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Military LS&GC - New Zealand

I might as well post another example - this time from New Zealand. Just one hundred and nineteen George VI examples were awarded - the post-Imperial variant (1948-53) - that illustrated - being by far the rarest with just thirty nine awards. The Elizabeth II version is still awarded in New Zealand.

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Military LS&GC - Canada

This time a Canadian example - one of the 2200 awarded before the 'powers that be' decided to homogenise the Canadian awards system. Twelve hundred & fifty of the above total were George VI issues - which, when one considers the size of the Canadian Army at the time, is not a very large crop. Thirty-two second award bars were awarded to George VI issues and just two to the 250 retrospective Elizabeth II medals that were awarded in lieu of the Canadian Forces Decoration that replaced all Canadian LSMs.

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Just to add to Tony's show-and-tell, the "INDIA" LSGCs, awarded only to natives (of the British Isles). Indians received a different design of the LSGCand MSM (except for the 1888-89 period, when they received Imperial designs).

The GV - "SJT. J. BROWN, I.S.C."

The GVI - "S-SGT. J. N. STARK, I A O C"

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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And the Indian MSM and LSGC series, part one.

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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And, to show the obverse/reverse a GVI MSM - OK, an MSM, but all that changes on reverse of the LSGC is the legend.

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The various issues of the Indian LSMs & MSMs ideally should have their own thread as they're a separate class of medals to the India variant of the Military LS&GC - which (as you've pointed out) were for British personnel actually serving in the Indian Army - something which causes great confusion to the uninitiated - no doubt exacerbated by ribbon commonality and the continued habit by some dealers to lump them all together.

Edited by Tony Farrell

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Maybe, Tony. Maybe.

But they all lie in the wider universe of late-Imperial military long service awards. Not sure you can understand them in artificial isolation? Dunno.

The MSM is, of course, much more complex (and interesting) and arguably deserves separate attention.

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I think artificial isolation is the key to preventing confusion - something I've specifically undertaken regarding the work I've been doing. The Indian LS&GC - whilst initially an Indian Army award - was extended to the naval and air arms, and was thus a truly homogeneous, joint service award.

The same could not really be said of its European counterpart - the Military LS&GC, which was predominantly for the permanent military forces of the various dominions, colonies & protectorates. With the exception of the South African & Southern Rhodesian issues - which also covered the respective air arms (in leiu of the RAF LSM as per the other dominions) it was (in the main) an army LSM. This total lack of naval content sets this issue apart from the Indian medal.

The award criteria also sets the Indian issue apart: (at least) twenty years' service, unit allotment, vacancy, not to mention the pecuniary issue - aspects not synonymous with its European 'brother'. The medal's design is unique also, and it is rather odd that it did not warrant its own distinctive ribbon - something that (no doubt) caused resentment amongst some.

To lump the Indian issue in amongst the already 'lumped' pre & post 1930 Army LSMs is far from ideal and a distinction should be drawn to prevent confusion - which abounds with other issues that utilise similar or identical ribbon, such as the TFEMs, TEM and Efficiency Medals. One would not 'lump' IDSMs and DCMs together. Whilst they all come from 'family' groups - whether it be gallantry or long service, they all have their own distinctive traits, and only by breaking them down to workable units of isolation does one begin to understand the greater picture.

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Much to think about, thanks. These are the kinds of broader issues that we need to be considering.

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