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Group of British WWII medals


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A few months ago I bought a group of British WWII medals. Remarkable about the group is that at 3 medals the ribbons are reversed. Namely the 1939-45 star, the Atlantic star and the Africa star. Also, the 1939-45 star features the "France and Germany" clasp. As far as I know this clasp cannot be worn on the 1939-45 star. This clasp probably belongs on the Atlantic star.

Despite of the errors in the composition, I do have the idea that a British WWII naval veteran wore the group.

The patina and wear damage on the medals and discolorations of the ribbons (also under the 2 clasps) speak for themselves.

Is it possible that the recipient of the medals has put them (invalid) together by himself?

Did veterans do this more often?

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Sure looks like an amateur job in putting them together..... May have been done by the veteran himself or possibly by a dealer who does not know what the correct ribbon arrangement...... There can be many reasons......

Mike

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Sure looks like an amateur job in putting them together..... May have been done by the veteran himself or possibly by a dealer who does not know what the correct ribbon arrangement...... There can be many reasons......

Mike

Thanks for your reply. The composition looks indeed unskilled. As I wrote, the medals are damaged in a proper way. The ribbons are correct discoloured. Also the threads (stiches) at the clasps and ribbons are worn and weathered. It gives me the impression that the group was composed a long time ago.

I bought the group of medals a few months ago at a military fair. The seller wanted to separate the group. I can also separate them but it does not give an added value. I leave the group as it is.

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I also know that a maximum of 5 stars could be awarded to one veteran. What about this example; http://www.slideshare.net/scottaddington/ww2-british-and-commonwealth-campaign-medals ?

If the group is a fake than it should be composed a long time ago. For putting the group together the same yarn is used. This yarn is worn everywhere in the same way. It really gives me the impression that somebody had worn the group. Would somebody like to appear in public with an impossible group of medals?

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see the problem is the defence medal! the group suggest that the owner was on operation service in operational areas for probably all of the war but the defence medal suggest he had some none operational service!heres a link to the requirement for it,the defence medal can actually be quite hard to get also dont forget if this group was put together 10-15 years ago thats still 10-15 years of wear!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_Medal_%28United_Kingdom%29

Edited by paddywhack
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I think that it is possible that it was worn in this way, but from the sounds of it, it would be an easily spotted error by just about every vet. I see tons of folks in today's military that are wearing the wrong medals. Most remedy the issue once being made aware of it.

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Paul's point is good I often come across groups as worn by the recipient which contain medals that they were most certainly not entitled to, often the case of "well if he got one, I did a better job than him, so I will award myself it".

Paul

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The medals were sent to recipient in a small brown cardboard box, with the medals and ribbons loose, and a slip of paper about which ribbon to match with the stars/medals. For conscrips and war time volunteers who left the Forces in or shortly after 1945 and who probably never wore their medals there was no issue about mounting them correctly.

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Thank you all for your explanation. We will probably never know the truth but the statement of Odulf seems most plausible. If a forger should have composed the group than he did it carelessly. When I saw the group for sale at the military fair, I noticed immediately the 3 inverted ribbons.

Despite the strange composition I leave the group as it is..

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I agree with the general feeling , that this is a genuine group. Paul is quite right - many veterans thought they

should all have the same medals and added any they felt entitled too. However, there is one other possibility.

Britain set up training camps in North Africa to train personnel ready for the Italian Campaign. For some reason

the two camps - one in Egypt and one in Tunisia (or, maybe Libya) - gave the Defence Medal to people who

completed the course. This why you often find the Defence on a South African group. Perhaps this man - although

in the Navy, attended such a course ? Just a thought - I am sure the Navy would have had men ready to go ashore

in Italy. Mervyn

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On basis of the stars, could it be possible to figure out on what Navy ship the veteran could have served?

Is it known what British naval vessels were involved by so many operations/theatres like these during WWII?

Could it also be possible that the recipient of the medals have served on several Navy ships?

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Gentleman,

I’m not so quick to accept this as a genuine original group. I do agree with Mervyn concerning the Defense Medal. The first thing that I find a bit suspicious is the France and Germany bar. I don’t care what medal ribbon it is on as when these were put together by the recipient or later by their heirs the bar could end up on nearly any ribbon so if in doubt the first medal’s ribbon on in the group got the bar attached. It should have been on the Atlantic Star, but this is not a consideration when discussing the possibility of whether this is authentic or not. The problem is that in the case of the France and Germany bar it served the purpose of representing a star. This being the case then the recipient would have had the equivalent of six stars.

The other issue I have is the existence of the Burma Star. It seems to me to be highly unlikely for the recipient to have been in both theaters of war, though not impossible.

I would not say that the patina or the “correct” damage proves or disproves much as it was very easy to “match” a group of medals, especially a number of years ago when they were more were available. In addition to this, the damage the stars made on each other or on the medals next to the star was common to all groups and individual medals that had been issued quite often exhibit this damage. As to the mounting style, it looks fine to me; though not professional by any means.

If the group was put together several years ago the ribbons could easily show age, I don’t see any extreme wear on the ribbons to suggest that the group was worn a lot. In fact to my eye the ribbons look quite new. If this is an authentic group then the fact that the medals were mounted on a bar yet the ribbons show almost no wear (if any at all) suggests that the group was mounted after the original recipient had passed then on. This is not to say the group is a fake as they could have been mounted by a son or daughter etc. once they were in their hands. At the same time I think it has to be taken into consideration that the group may have been a “put together” of individual medals, for whatever reason; use on stage or television for a play comes to mind.

Since none of these (British and Canadian) medals were named it is hard to say if it is or is not authentic. My first thought is that it has been put together for whatever reason and not an awarded group. Having said that we know that war makes for conditions and situations that make such decisions impossible to fit nicely with in the normal guidelines.

To my way of thinking this group would fall under the category of plausible yet not completely probable.

Thoughts?

Regards

Brian

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Gentlemen.....

I just did a quick check in the archives of one of auction houses......

I found 3 very similar sets.....

1) The same 5 Stars, 3 Bars, Defence, War and MID sold for 330 Pounds in 2013

2) The same 5 Stars, Pacific Bar on Burma, North Africa Bar, Defence and War sold for 180 Pounds in 2011

3) Group of 4 Stars and 3 with Bars (F. & G., N.A., Pacific), Defence and War

Mike

Edited by QSAMIKE
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Good work, Mike.

Not to drag this out but were these "confirmed" as authentic or simply sold "as is" groups.

Just to be clear I am not taking a stance on this question, only asking the questions that need asking when it comes to larger groups of unnamed British medals. I think we owe it to the hobby to be a bit skeptical.

Regards

Brian

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Good work, Mike.

Not to drag this out but were these "confirmed" as authentic or simply sold "as is" groups.

Just to be clear I am not taking a stance on this question, only asking the questions that need asking when it comes to larger groups of unnamed British medals. I think we owe it to the hobby to be a bit skeptical.

Regards

Brian

When I bought the group of medals I was sceptical too. I am collecting for many years and therefore I have seen a lot of fakes.

The price of it was lesser than the similar sets that Mike found in the archives of an auction house. In that way it was not a wrong buy.

Maybe the ribbons look quit new at the pictures but I can assure that they are discoloured.

Like you suggest, without documentation of the original recipient we will never know or this group is authentic or not.

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OMG Gentlemen......

I guess it is old age......

Was sitting watching TV tonight and it struck me.......

I have a group in my collection that contains 5 stars and 2 bars but no Defence......

Since I am interested in QSA's I have the Fathers set of 5 and the Son's set of 8......

They were issued to C/MX.47967 ERA HERBERT THOMAS PARKYN and his MID was September 8th, 1942.....

Mike

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I would suspect that it is a veterans group, but the individual decided to add a few extras.

My father was at a memorial service a few months ago and he met someone who had a Queens Silver Jubilee medal in his group. He was immediately suspicious as the guy had similar service to him and he queried with him how he had a silver jubilee medal as it was only issued to very few. This guy although serving, like my father would not have been in the running for receiving the medal. He became a bit embarrassed and started bluffing about how all those serving in 1977 were entitled to the medal, but as only a few were issued you could now officially retrospectively get one etc etc. This of course was all rubbish and although it is not quite as Walter Mittyish as wearing campaign medals you are not entitled to, shows the thinking behind why someone might do it.

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with regard not naming ww2 medals it took something like 3 years+ to name the ww1 medals so with the shear volume that would have had to be named i can understand why they didnt!dont forget england wasnt in great shape post ww2 so not naming medals did kinda make sense!

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Asjemenou,

It’s really good to hear the comments that this group is most likely genuine. I used to hesitate to question such groups as I didn’t want to upset anyone, especially the member posting the group. With the passing of time I started to realize that any questioning, at least by me, was in the interest of gaining knowledge and getting to the facts not only for myself and other members but also for the owner of the group in question. So, congratulations on a fine group. :cheers:

Gentlemen,

Thanks for weighing in on my questions as I am sure it was a positive exercise for all.

I tend to question almost everything except, it seems, when it comes to making a quick purchase for myself. Then it seems that afterwards I am beating myself up for not having questioned the item before I foolishly parted with my cash.

It is a shame that the British and Canadian governments didn’t see fit to name the medals for the Second World War service people, as they had in times past. I think this would make a good post all on its own at some time.

Regards

Brian

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This is a group of medals open for conversation for many months and more...

It is not since so long that these, unattributed, groups are fetching higher prizes because they are getting fewer.

In the past dealers bought these 2nd WW groups for pennies, broke them up and sold the individual stars and medals for a few bob, after seperating the bravery, meritorious and long service medals first and Air Crew Europe Star also; because the market (i.c. collectors) was not interested in run of the mill stars and medals....

This has always been a game of fast money making, and I have seen bags full of similar stars change hands for little money.

Primeraly, this was up to the veteran or his descendants - disposing his medals for whatever reasons, next the medals landed with a (kind hearted) dealer who had to make a living but wanting to pay coin, and now, after 70 years these simple groups (without named bravery and long service medals) are getting a bit of respect.

I guess, that's how it goes....

An unnamed (Naval) group of let's say China (1857-60), Crimea, and Turkish Crimea will fetch some money today (when on the original broach...) or otherwise a fair market prize, but half a century and a bit more ago, these were sold for little more than scarp silver. Bronze and nickle medals were the cheapest Britain could offer in the 40s, and men who wanted to name their medals, could have that done privately (at Boots, for instance); but the vast majority did not bother.... They had to get their life together and carry on.

I feel that we have to know and respect the circumstances of 2nd WW veterans, today the living last of these, are celebrated as heroes and liberators on the continent, in their service years they were Private Nobody, and after the war they were happy to earn a simpel living. That is how the wheel of fortune and respect turns.

We have seen the prizes of Pip, Squeek and Wilfred rise when the records became available (and many groups are still missing Squeek because he was sold for silver), but the 2nd WW medals were run down by the bucket for next to nothing. Alas there are no statistics, but I would respect any group of insignificant medals with suspicion first, but also with respect when I find reasons to believe it might be genuine :)

Edited by Odulf
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