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NEWS UPDATE - Monument to Bomber Command Granted Planning Permission
A £3.5m permanent war memorial to the World War II heroes of RAF Bomber Command is to be built
in central London.
Westminster Council have granted planning permission for the open style pavilion at the
Piccadilly entrance to Green Park.
The memorial, which should be finished by 2012, will commemorate the 55,573 crew of RAF Bomber
Command, with an average age of 22 years, who were killed in World War II.
Frankly, we would like to have seen a service medal granted but this really is going to be a
fitting recognition of their courage and sacrifice.
NEWS UPDATE - Canadian WW1 Victoria Cross War Medal Group Sold
On 25th May this year (2009), the war medals of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shankland, VC, DCM,
were sold at auction for CAD$288,000.00, the equivalent of GBP£153,000.00 at the current exchange rate.
Robert Shankland was born in 1887 in Scotland and emigrated to Canada before the First World
War. He served in the 79th Regiment of Canadian Militia (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) and volunteered for
overseas duty at the outbreak of WW1. He served in the 43rd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force.
In 1916, at Sanctuary Wood, Hooge, Belgium, he was awarded the DCM whilst serving as a Sergeant
in charge of stretcher bearers. He was awarded the Victoria Cross on 26th October 1917 at Bellevue Spur,
Passchendaele. He subsequently served as a Major in the Cameron Highlanders in the Second World War and finished
WW2 a Lieutenant Colonel in command of the HQ Company. Robert Shankland died in 1968.
Mercifully, this outstanding collection of military medals was bought by the Canadian War
NEW FEATURED MEDALS SERIES
Watch out for our new series of Featured Medals! Beginning with the German Iron Cross, we will
be featuring individual medals, with a brief history of the decoration and specialist listings. See the page
listings on the left tool bar.
Update - The British Mons Star and the 1914-1915 Star are now featured!
We have now added a new FORUM to world-war-medals.co.uk for specialist collectors of war service
and gallantry medals. Please visit the forum, sign up, and get the discussion going!
The forum can be used to exchange views, ask for advice or just to tell us about your
Please also feel free to use the comment section below or, if you prefer, just email us for
A Quick Guide to Collecting Medals - Update
Medals from the World Wars are very collectible and can change hands for tens of thousands of
pounds. It is very important though for the novice collector to be aware of the substantive difference between
service (or campaign) medals and gallantry medals.
The service medal, sometimes referred to as a campaign medal, is awarded to service personnel
who have taken part in a particular conflict or campaign. There is no requirement that the soldier, sailor or
airman has behaved in a particular manner, simply that they were there.
The most common and collectible are British service medals from World War One, usually sold in
pairs, and easily identifiable from their ribbons, assuming, of course, that the correct ribbon has been attached.
Referred to affectionately as ‘Squeak’ and ‘Wilfred’ ('Pip' being the 1914 or Mons Star), these are the Great War
Medal and the Victory Medal awarded to every soldier who took part. The pair will usually retail in the region of
£20 depending on the unit and ancillary documentation available.
The name, serial number and regiment of the recipient of each medal will be marked on the side
and it shouldl be possible to research details of the soldier’s war service record via the British Public Record
Office and/or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is even possible sometimes to trace the recipient's living
relatives. Please note, though, that many records were lost during the Blitz in World War 2.
Other British service medals to look out for are the 1914 Mons Star, awarded to members of the
original British Expeditionary Force, and the 1915 Star awarded to those who took part in the Second Battle of
Ypres in 1915. For those interested in the ANZAC involvement in the Great War, the 1915 Gallipoli Star is also
highly prized. For obvious reasons, these medals are fewer in number and, consequently, are more expensive to
acquire. A Mons Star will perhaps sell for £40, more still if it comes with Pipsqueak and Wilfred. Compare this to
the £60-80,000 you will need to pay for a Victoria Cross and you will immediately see the premium paid by the
collector for gallantry medals.
The Victoria Cross is, of course, the highest award for bravery in the British Armed Forces and
is equivalent to the U.S. Medal of Honour. It is rarely awarded and then, very often, posthumously. More often seen
in museums, particularly the National Army Museum and the Imperial War Museum in London, there are some very
substantial collections of Victoria Crosses in private hands.
The award of British gallantry medals is also interesting in that a distinction is made between
officers and ‘other ranks’. The same act of bravery for which an officer received the Military Cross would result
in a member of the ‘other ranks’ receiving the Military Medal. Similarly, in the RAF, when an officer might receive
the Distinguished Flying Cross of ‘DFC’, a member of the ‘other ranks’ would receive the Distinguished Flying
Medal, or ‘DFM’.
Collecting military medals is a very rewarding and interesting pastime and it is possible to
build up a substantial collection of service medals. Collecting gallantry medals requires far greater resources
and, very often, attendance at specialist auctions.
Watch out for our Quick Guide to Collecting U.S. War Medals coming soon!
Buying war medals can be a rewarding experience. Particularly building a collection and perhaps
also researching the service record of the recipient of the medal. Do be on your guard though, there are plenty of
fakes for sale on the internet and you would be well advised to check the authenticity of a particular medal before
making a high value purchase.
If you are in any doubt your first step ought to be to clarify the matter with the seller. Email
him or her and ask about the provenance of the medal and for details of the recipient so that you can do some
research before buying. For British war medals try the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or the Soldiers Died CD
Rom. The Public Records Office may have further details on those who survived although many records were lost
buring the blitz. Similar resources exist for other countries, of course.
When looking at specialist medals, do be aware that there are a number of forums on the
internet where members will happily share their very considerable knowledge with you. Don't be afraid to ask
and, if you can, post a photograph of the medals you are considering buying.
US War Medals
For collectors of United States gallantry medals, it is vital to be aware of the Stolen Valor
Act. The Act renders unlawful the unauthorized wear, manufacture, sale or claim (either written or verbal) to any
U.S. military medal. Its aim is to protect the reputation and importance of gallantry medals and it was largely
intended to stop the manufacture and sale of fakes. Its effect, however, has been to prevent their wider sale. Be
aware, therefore, that it will apply to any U.S. gallantry medal offered for sale. This will include not only the
Medal of Honor but also any form of Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and Purple Heart, amongst others.
You have been warned!
We have included a useful video on the Stolen Valor Act on our US War Medals page for further
STOP PRESS !! UpdateRAF Bomber Command Service Medal Campaign
Please watch the video above. We believe that the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of the men
and women who served in RAF Bomber Command during WW2 should be recognised by the award of a Service Medal.
We are conscious of the current political sensitivities but remain convinced that it is a matter
of lasting shame that their courage has not been recognised in this simple way.
Please participate in the free poll and if you agree with our campaign, please write to your
Member of Parliament and make your feelings known. Please note that there is currently a petition live on the
Downing Street website. Please sign up HERE