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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 Museum.


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 collection.

Please also feel free to use the comment section below or, if you prefer, just email us for advice.

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!

Medal Buying

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 information.

STOP PRESS !! Update RAF 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

Copyright: World-War-Medals.co.uk - 2011

World War II For Good Conduct Medal WW2
World War II For Good Conduct Medal WW2
World War 1 Silver British War Medal 1914 - 1918 CAPT.J.W.JAMES
World War 1 Silver British War Medal 1914 - 1918 CAPT.J.W.JAMES
1911 RARE sports football medal D.F.C. Brunn Sudetenland Mahren pre-war pre WWI
1911 RARE sports football medal D.F.C. Brunn Sudetenland Mahren pre-war pre WWI
Russian Baltic Civil War Medal 1918. Rare
Russian Baltic Civil War Medal 1918. Rare
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What medals do you collect?

Do you agree with the Stolen Valor Act?

Should RAF Bomber Command WW2 veterans receive a Service Medal?