my grandad was sent a letter through his regimental association saying 'we see your records show you served in Germany. we would like to notify you of a new medal that has been approved, to commemorate BFG. Due to production costs, it cannot be issued but can be bought through so and so for x amount'
my grandmother opened the letter and read it, and with something pretty close to the above genuinely believed (with 'has been approved' and 'based on your service records') that it was genuine and from the MoD and they just couldn't afford to make them, so she bought it for his birthday. wasn't for some time that I noticed it when we were mocking the 'Service Medal' (everybody gets one: http://www.awardmedals.com/military-service-medal-p-12806.html?cPath=21_33 ) on another thread and had to inform them that unfortunately it bore no value next to his issued medals.
So on the National Service Medal front, whether it's self-awarded due to not having anything else to flash, or simply self-awarded having been mislead into it by a letter like my grandad received, is questionable. Either way, I think that the actions of these medal companies producing such worthless 'commemorative' medals so that everyone can wear one is grossly immoral, not so much the individuals that wear them - with or without the knowledge that they do not really hold any value and do not belong alongside issued 'genuine' medals.
This Award medals nonsense gets right on my goat. I'm a member of the RBL and for a few years I've been acting as Parade Marshall on Remembrance Sunday. Many wear racks of medals that they have purchased, as well as the obligatory 15 lapel badges. RBL Standard Bearers have very strict dress codes, which forbid the wearing of non issued medals, however, they are often seen leading from the front in their purchased bling.
Part of the problem is that an Award medals catalogue is included in the monthly magazine from the Legion. I'm not about to start getting all outraged, nor do I intend to start a facebook group. I'm not even going to write GGGGGRRRRRRRRRR at the end of this post.