Robert E. Wyllie.

Orders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each online

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men of the Navy and Marine Corps who served at Vera
Cruz on April 21, 22, or 23, 1914, when the Navy landed
and occupied the city of Vera Cruz, also to all who served
on shipboard off the Mexican coast between April 21 and
November 26, 1914 or between March 14, 1916 and


February 7, 191 7 also to any who were actually present
and partidpated in an engagement between armed forces
of the United States and Mexico between April 12, 191 1
and February 7, 191 7. The obverse shows the old castle
of San Juan de Ulloa in the harbor of Vera Cruz (Plate
10). The green edges of the ribbon suggest Mexico, the
national colours of that country being green, white, and red.

Nicaraguan Campaign Medal. This commemorates the
naval expedition, consisting principally of marines, which
went to the aid of the Government of Nicaragua in 1912.
A short but sharp campaign ensued in which the revolu-
tionary forces were defeated, order was restored and our
troops withdrawn. It was awarded to all officers and men
of the Navy and Marine Corps who took part in the expe-
dition between August 28, 191 2 and November 2, 1912.
The obverse shows the Nicaraguan volcano, Mt. Momo-
tombo, rising from Lake Managua behind a tropical for-
est (Plate 10).

The Haitian Campaign Medal. This commemorates a
very similar expedition to Haiti in 191 5. A detachment
of marines has remained on the island ever since to insure
the preservation of order, but the medal is awarded only
to the members of the joint naval and marine expedition
which conducted the active campaign between July 9 and
December 6, 191 5. The obverse represents a view from
the sea of the mountains of Cape Haitien, with water in
the foreground (Plate 10). The colours of the ribbon are
red and blue, the same as the national colours of Haiti.

The Mexican Border Medal is given to all members of
the National Guard who served on the Mexican Border


American ^erbice jMebafe antr JSabgesf

during the years 1 916-17, and to members of the Regular
Army who served in the Mexican Border patrol during
the same years, prior to April 6, 191 7, any service in the
Army after that date being covered by the Victory Medal.
It will be noted that for a regular soldier to be eligible for
this medal he must have been actually a member of the
border patrol, to be merely stationed on the border is
not sufficient as is the case with the National Guard.
This medal bears the same relation to the Mexican Service
Medal that the Spanish War Medal bears to the Spanish
Campaign Medal, being given to those who were ready
and who were engaged in work aiding the furtherance of
our policy, but who did not participate in any actual en-
gagements, so the sheathed sword is again appropriate
and the medal is exactly the same as the Spanish War
Medal, except that the inscription substitutes "Mexican
Border" for "War with Spain" (Plate 7). The colours of
the ribbon are also the same, green and yellow, but the
arrangement in this case is suggestive of the Mexican flag
with its three stripes of equal width.

The Victory Medal. During the spring of 191 8, while
hostilities were still at their height, the different allied and
associated nations agreed to adopt a medal which would
be the same for all, to commemorate the Great War. This
plan has two advantages, in the first place it is symbolical
of the union and solidarity of purpose which animated
the countries fighting against Germany and her allies;
secondly it obviates the necessity of following the practice
of exchanging service medals. In previous wars it had
been customary for nations to bestow their war medals


©rberflf, decorations;, anb SnfiJignia

on the personnel of their allies who were attached to them,
or associated with them, in different campaigns and en-
gagements. The immensity of the operations in this war,
the millions of soldiers engaged therein and the inter-
mingling of large units under one command, all pointed
to the impossibility of such a procedure in this instance.
It was impracticable, and by the adoption of a medal the
same for all, it would be unnecessary, since no matter in
what army a man served the medals would be alike. In
order to carry this plan into execution an interallied com-
mission met in Paris after the Armistice. This commission
found that it was not possible to adhere strictly to the
original plan to have the medals identical for all as it
would have required the submission of designs from art-
ists of all the nations involved, with a critical examina-
tion by a special commission of artists in order to select
the most appropriate and most artistic, and there was not
sufficient time to go into such detail. The armies were
being demobilized and the soldiers had no desire to wait
for years before receiving their medals, so it was decided
to have an identical ribbon but allow each country to
design its own medal according to general specifications
which were drawn up by the commission. In this way
the medals, while not identical, follow the same general
design, and the artists of each country had the opportunity
of producing the medals for their own soldiers. The name
of this medal in all countries, as determined by this com-
mission, is the Victory Medal. The ribbon is a double
rainbow, having the red in the centre with a white thread
on each edge, symbolizing the dawn of a new era, the calm


lameritan g>etbice illebate anb JSabges^

which follows the storm. It was manufactured in France
under the immediate direction of the commission, and
upon a satisfactory design being produced, a piece was
sent to each of the allied countries as a standard sample.
The specifications of the medal are as follows :

Bronze, 36 millimetres in diameter, suspended from the rib-
bon by a ring (the same as most of our medals). On the
obverse a winged Victory, standing, full length and full face.
On the reverse the inscription ** The Great War for Civiliza-
tion" in the language of the country concerned, and either the
names or the arms of the allied and associated nations.

By the terms of the interalHed agreement this medal
is to be awarded only to combatants, it is not for general
distribution to all who participated in war work. In
France, for example, almost every male was mobilized as
a soldier but great numbers did no real military work,
being utilized in the manufacture of munitions, in agri-
cultural pursuits, on the railroads and other similar work
which was essential to carry on the war but which could
not be considered as military. This medal cannot be
awarded to them although they were technically members
of the French Army. We had no corresponding class in
our Army and Navy, therefore our Victory Medal will be
given to all the members of those two services who were
on active duty during the war, they are all considered com-
batants in this connection . This consideration also decided
the question as to which of the nations should appear
on the reverse of the medal. Under the specifications, as
already set forth, it would have been permissible to have
included all those that declared war against Germany, or


even all who suspended diplomatic relations, but a num-
ber of these did not participate in the fighting and there-
fore were not actual combatants. As a result it has been
decided that the only nations to be represented on the
reverse of the medal will be those which actually took
part in hostile operations by sending troops or ships to
the theatre of war. The following is a list of such nations
arranged in the order of their entry into the war :

Serbia Italy

Russia Portugal

France Roumania

Belgium Greece

Great Britain United States

Montenegro China

Japan Brazil

As already narrated a system of clasps was adopted for
this medal, and to show the possession of a battle clasp a
small bronze star is worn on the service ribbon (Plate 7).
This is a new departure in decorations, the British have
used clasps for over a hundred years but they have never
indicated them on the service ribbon, a man may have a
dozen with his medal or none, the service ribbon is the
same, so this wearing of small bronze stars on the service
ribbon to denote the possession of battle clasps is an inno-
vation, and as the medal itself is seldom worn, the service
ribbon frequently, it gives more credit for services per-
formed. In accordance with the general principle that
senior decorations are to the right, silver citation stars
should be worn to the right of bronze stars on the service
ribbon. The illustration on the title page shows a Victory
medal with three battle clasps and one citation star.


American ^erbice ifMebafe anb JSabgeje;

Our Victory Medal is awarded to all officers, men, con-
tract surgeons, field clerks, and nurses who served in the
Army, Navy, or Marine Corps between April 6, 1917,
the date of the declaration of war against Germany, and
November 11, 1918, the date of the Armistice. It is also
given to those who served in Russia or Siberia after the
Armistice, who joined the service subsequent to Novem-
ber II, 1 91 8. Conscientious objectors who refused to
accept military service, and the men who were rejected at
camps before doing military duty, rendered no military
service and therefore will not be given the medal. Mem-
bers of the Y. M. C. A. and other welfare societies are
also not eligible for it, as they were neither soldiers
nor sailors and cannot be classified as combatants.
The medal was designed by Mr. J. E. Eraser of New
York City under the direction of the Commission of Fine

Thirteen major operations will be shown by clasps on
the ribbon. The estimated number of men eligible for
each clasp is given in the following list :


Clasps Number

Cambrai — Between May 12 and Dec. 4, 1917 2,500

Somme, defensive — Between March 21 and April 6, 1918 2,200

Lys — Between April 9 and April 27, 1918 500

Aisne — Between May 27 and June 5, 1918 27,500

Montdidier-Noyon — Between June 9 and June 13, 1918 27,000

Champagne-Mame — Between July 15 and July 18, 1918 85,000

Aisne-Mame — Between July 18 and August 6, 1918 270,000

Somme, offensive — Between August 8 and November 11, 191 8 . 54,000

Oise-Aisne — Between August 18 and November 11, 1918 85,000

Ypres-Lys — Between August 19 and November 11, 1918 108,000

St. Mihiel — Between September 12 and September 16, 191^. . 550,000

Meuse-Argonne — Between September 26 and November 11,1918 1,200,000

Vittorio-Veneto — Between October 24 and November 4, 191 8 1,200


In addition there is the Defensive Sector Clasp which is
given for any occupation of a defensive sector or for par-
ticipation in any engagement not enumerated above in
France, Italy, Russia, or Siberia, but only one Defensive
Sector clasp is given to any one individual. Thus every
one who took part in actual fighting will receive at least
one clasp. The above are called battle clasps and for
each one a small bronze star is worn on the service ribbon.
In addition there are five service clasps which are not given
to those who are entitled to a battle clasp, and no stars
are worn for them on the service ribbon. They are:

France — For any service in France between April 6, 191 7 and

November 11, 191 8.
Italy — For any service in Italy between April 6, 191 7 and

November 11, 191 8.
England — For any service in England between April 6, 191 7

and November 11, 19 18. With the additional proviso that

this clasp will only be given to those who served in England

and nowhere else overseas.
Siberia — For any service in Siberia since April 6, 191 7.
Russia — For any service in Russia since April 6, 191 7.

Officers and men forming part of the crews of Transports
receive one of these clasps, depending on the country to
which they sailed.

The Navy has made provision for sixteen clasps, but
only one is to be given to any one person, a bronze star
will be worn on the service ribbon to indicate its possession.


I. Transport — On transport duty across the northern








^ I 1 nil 1 I m^mmmmm^ mi^


United States Qualification Badges

1. Military Aviator

2. Distinguished Marksman

3. Military Aeronaut

4. Observer

5. F'lying Instructor

6. Departmental Firing Medal

9. Expert Rifleman

10. Sharpshooter

11. Marksman, Special Course "A"

12. Swordsman

13. Marksman

14. Pistol Expert

2. Escort — On escort duty across the northern Atlantic

3. Armed Guard — On armed guard duty across the
northern Atlantic

4. Grand Fleet — Service with the Grand Fleet between
December 9, 191 7 and the Armistice

5. Patrol — In European waters prior to May 25, 191 8
(the date of the appearance of submarines off the American
coast) ; anywhere in the northern Atlantic after that date

6. Submarine — Same conditions as Patrol

7. Destroyer — Same conditions as Patrol

8. Aviation — Same conditions as Patrol

9. Naval Battery — After July 10, 1918

10. White Sea — Service on a vessel making a White
Sea port

1 1 . Asiatic — Service on a vessel making an Asiatic port

12. Mine Laying — After May 26, 1918

13. Mine Sweeping

14. Salvage

15. Atlantic Fleet — After May 25, 191 8

16. Overseas — On shore in Europe

Naval forces that served with the Army receive the
Army clasps and stars to which they are entitled by their
services. The Navy citation star (see ''Citation Stars'*)
is worn in lieu of a bronze star, while in the Army it is
additional to the bronze stars to which the person is

The lapel button for wear on civilian clothes is an excep-
tion to the general rule of design. It is usually called the
Victory button and is in silver for men who were wounded


in action, all others have a bronze button. It was designed
by the sculptor, Mr. A. A. Weinman of New York City
under the supervision of the Commission of Fine Arts and
applies to both Army and Navy.

The fourteen battle clasps, in addition to the name of
the engagement, have a star on each end of the clasp,
(title page). The stars are omitted on the five service
clasps. These army clasps all have a plain edge, those of
the Navy have a narrow raised border in a rope design.

The medals have now all been described, the following
are the authorized badges:

Marine Corps Good Conduct Badge. This is given to
any enlisted man of the Marine Corps who has served
one full enlistment of four years with marked attention
to his duties and is recommended by his commanding
officer for obedience, sobriety, industry, courage, neat-
ness, and proficiency. Having received one such badge
on any subsequent recommendation at the end of a four
years' term of service, he is given a clasp to be worn on
the ribbon of the badge. The obverse bears a ship's
anchor and chain and in the centre a marine standing at
the breach of a rapid-fire gun, and on a scroll the motto
of the Marine Corps "Semper Fidelis" (Plate 9). The
reverse has the inscription "Fidelity — Zeal — Obedience"
in a circle, enclosing the name of the recipient, the date
of his enlistment and the name of the ship on which he

Navy Good Conduct Badge. This is given to enlisted men
of the Navy under the same conditions as the Good Con-
duct Medal for the Marine Corps. The obverse shows the


jamerican ^txbitt iMebate anb JSabgejBf

old frigate Constitution launched in 1797 (Plate 9).
The reverse is the same as the Marine Corps badge.
These two badges are worn next after all medals.

The present Aviation Badges for the Army were de-
signed by Mr. Herbert Adams of the Commission of Fine
Arts. They are made of silver metal and are w^om above
the line of medals. There are three kinds: the Aviator* s
Badge, which is wjm by officers w^ho are qualified pilots
of heavier-than-air machines; the Aeronaut's Badge, for
pilots of balloons and dirigibles ; and the Observer's Badge,
which is given to all officers who are not pilots but who
have qualified as observers, bombers, or aerial gunners.
The single wing in this badge is symboHcal of the fact
that the wearer cannot fly alone (Plate 11). There is
but one Aviation Badge in the Navy, it is gilt, is worn
above the line of medals and is given to all who qualify
as pilots of airplanes, balloons, or dirigibles (Plate 11).
The Navy has no Observer's Badge.

All the following badges are worn below the line of
medals. The badges showing quaHfications with the rifle
are those for marksman, sharpshooter, and expert rifleman,
the latter being the highest (Plate 11). To obtain these
the regulation infantry course must be fired, and the
badges are silver. Badges in bronze having a bright gold
appearance, but of exactly the same design, are given to
National Guardsmen who quaHfy over a special National
Guard course which is easier than the regulation one. A
National Guardsman who fires the standard course gets
a silver badge. Special course "A'' (Plate 11) is fired
usually by Coast Artillery troops only, it is a short range


0thtxii, ©etorationi(, anb Snsfignia

course and has no higher qualification than marksman,
however, it is more difficult to obtain than marksman in
the regular course. Badges are given as prizes in compe-
titions in departments, divisions, the entire army and in
the national interservice matches, these are of gold, silver,
and bronze. The one illustrated (Plate ii) is a badge
given in the competitions in the Western Department.
A distinguished marksman is one who has won three badges
in a department, division, army, or national competition.
The Marine Corps badges are of the same design as in
the Army.

Pistol qualifications are 1st class pistol shot and expert
(Plate 1 1). These are also given in bronze for the special
National Guard courses. The same departmental, di-
visional, army, and national competitions are held and a
distinguished pistol shot requires the same qualifications as
with the rifle.

Machine gunners also obtain badges for qualifying with
their weapon, the names being the same as for the rifle,
and the badges are designed along the same lines, making
appropriate substitutions.

The Swordsman's Badge (Plate 1 1) is worn by the most
expert swordsman in each troop of cavalry as determined
by competition.

The Military Aviator's Badge is no longer issued (Plate
ii). It was the one originally supplied and is now very
highly prized, as in the days when it was given flying was
a much more dangerous pursuit than it now is. A very
large proportion of those learning in the early days of the
art were killed, so that few of these badges are now worn.


lameruan ^etbice ifWebate anb SJabgeiEf

The badge for Flying Instructors (Plate ii) is worn on
the cuff of the sleeve. This duty is perhaps the most
dangerous now in the Air Service, so those who undertake
it are entitled to some distinction.

Gunners in the artillery wear red cloth insignia on the
sleeve to show their qualifications, a projectile for a second
class gunner, a projectile with a small bar beneath for
first class, and the same enclosed in a circle for the expert
gunner; these three grades corresponding to the three
grades of rifle qualifications.




GREAT BRITAIN can be considered the home of
the modern system of decorations and medals.
Nearly all of the principles involved can be traced
back to a British origin, and in no other country has the
system been carried to such lengths. For these reasons
a survey of the entire British institution is of importance.
The following is the order of precedence of the orders,
decorations, and medals:

1. Victoria Cross

2. Order of the Garter

3. Order of the Thistle

4. Order of St. Patrick

5. Order of the Bath

6. Order of Merit

7. Order of the Star of India

8. Order of St. Michael and St. George

9. Order of the Indian Empire

10. Order of the Crown of India

1 1 . Royal Victorian Order

12. Order of the British Empire

13. Order of the Companions of Honour


(great Ptitain

14. Distinguished Service Order

15. Imperial Service Order

16. Royal Red Cross

17. Distinguished Service Cross (naval)

18. Military Cross

19. Distinguished Flying Cross

20. Air Force Cross

21. Order of British India

22. Indian Order of Merit (military)

23. Kaiser-i-Hind Medal

24. Order of St. John of Jerusalem

25. Various Jubilee, Durbar, and Coronation Medals

26. Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field

27. Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (naval)

28. Distinguished Service Medal (naval)

29. MiHtary Medal

30. Distinguished Flying Medal

31. Air Force Medal

32. War Service Medals (in order of date)

33. A long list of miscellaneous medals including those
for life saving, for meritorious service, for good conduct,
and long service, for small arms and police work, and to
commemorate certain arctic and antarctic expeditions.

The above rules of precedence, so far as they relate to
orders, apply only to equal classes. A member of a
higher class of a junior order wears the decoration per-
taining thereto ahead of a lower class of a senior order.
For example, a Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and


St. George, who is also a Companion of the Bath, wears
the decorations in that order, although the Bath is the
senior order of the two. The same rule applies to the
service ribbons. There is no distinction in the service
ribbons for the different classes of British Orders. All use
a ribbon of the same width as the ribbon of the lowest
class of the order without distinguishing mark thereon.

Several features about this list are worthy of comment.
It will be observed that in general the orders take prece-
dence. However, the first on the list is a decoration and
there are five other decorations, Nos. 16-20 inclusive,
which are ranked higher than three of the orders. The
Victoria Cross is open to officers and men alike, but with
that exception all down to No. 25 are for officers and
warrant officers only; Nos. 26-31 inclusive are decorations
for the men only ; the war service and miscellaneous med-
als, Nos. 32 and 33, are for both.

Service medals are of course awarded to all alike, officer
and man, but the decorations and orders for distinguished
service are limited to certain ranks according to a care-
fully worked out plan. The British consider that heroism
is the only way for the man or junior officer to distinguish
himself; their duties and respojisibihties are not of suffi-
cient importance to warrant any special recognition, on
the other hand they have many opportunities for the
display of individual gallantry and leadership, conse-
quently the decorations for enlisted men, lieutenants, and
captains are rewards for heroism only. When the grade
of field officer is reached (Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, and
Major) heroism becomes of less importance, these officers























(great JBritain

have much more responsibility, they command larger
units, and their leadership consists of planning and di-
recting the different organizations comprising their com-
mand, rather than the old way of advancing at the head
of their troops against the enemy, as the junior officers
still do. Some field officers again are staff officers of
divisions and other larger units, and as such plan the
campaigns of major organizations. It is rare that such
officers have opportunities for individual heroism, conse-
quently the British decorations for this class while they
include bravery are not limited to that, but on the con-
trary are primarily for distinguished services in an ad-
ministrative way ; however, such services must be rendered
in the theatre of active operations. With the exception of a
very few senior field officers the duties of this class at home
are not of sufficient importance to merit reward ; general
officers are the important people at the War Office and
home stations and consequently there is another class of
decorations reserved for such officers, which can be
awarded for any distinguished service of that character,

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Online LibraryRobert E. WyllieOrders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each → online text (page 7 of 19)