Monday, 26 November 2018

World War One Medals

It's been my understanding that it is a breech of protocol to wear the medals of another person. So I was surprised to find on Twitter a photo taken in 1928 in Newfoundland Memorial Park on the Somme showing veterans alongside 'Mrs O'Connor of Sheffield'. She's wearing the medals of her three sons who fell in the Great War.
Today no First World War medals can be displayed on the breast of the veteran to whom they were awarded. All those who received them are passed. The medals sit in museums or in boxes in the veteran's descendant's homes — occasionally brought out to be shown.
Now that there can be no question of the wearer claiming personal honour, if those descendants were allowed to wear them, perhaps on a specially designated day, it would serve as a reminder of just how many the conflict touched.

UPDATE
Glenn Wright points to a debate in the pages of the Legion Magazine here.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Susan Hillman Brazeau I am for wearing the medals of deceased family members who served. I believe that Remembrance Day, and other designated commemorative events, are suitable times for this. Sadly, medals most often get put away and are forgotten, or, later pawned or sold by family. We see them for sale all the time. If family members were permitted to wear the medals to honour their relative, then the medals would be less forgotten and more appreciated. I have my mom's, my uncle's (he had no children) and my husband's medals and they are going to be put in framed displays; but I wish I could wear them. A veteran may no longer be here to wear their medals, yet, those medals represent that person's service and are deserving of recognition and honour, by being worn openly and with pride, by a son or daughter, a niece or nephew, a grandhicld, or great grandchild. What a wonderful and lasting way to say "We shall remember them...". With the many recent deaths of our second world war and Korean war veterans, we will soon be seeing no more than a handful of recent veterans wearing medals...what then? Thanks for listening to my views.