The King's War Medals

#1
One for those into medals of yesteryear, please. Before WW2 King George VI can be see in uniform wearing ribbons for the British Orders of which he is Sovereign, plus his personal campaign medals from WW1, and some foreign stuff. All fair enough. However, after WW2 we can see him with a string of campaign stars from said War. How the hell did that happen? And is he the first monarch in history to award himself his own medals?
 
#2
Are they all British medals?
Maybe he'd been given the usual bling by allied nations and they might have been offended if he hadn't worn them. I can't see why anyone would be bothered.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Because he visited the theatre of war

Having served in the Navy during the First World War, including the Battle of Jutland, the King was anxious to visit his troops whenever possible. He went to France in 1939 to inspect the British Expeditionary Force, and to North Africa in 1943 after the victory of El Alamein.

In June 1944, the King visited his Army on the Normandy beaches 10 days after D-Day, and later that year he visited troops in Italy and the Low Countries.
 
#4
I imagine that as Head of State he visited various operational theatres during the war. The qualifying period for most of the WWII stars was 1 days service in the operational zone, so therefore he would qualify.
 
#5
Cool - thanks for that Jim. So we see a shift in understanding during WW2 of what the monarch is - more public servant who shares in the decorations he awards to others?
 
#6
Trouble is, Biffins, that award of the particular Stars depends upon being first awarded the 39-45 Star, which takes a very long time to achieve.
 
#8
Because he visited the theatre of war

the King was anxious to visit his troops whenever possible. He went to France in 1939 to inspect the British Expeditionary Force, and to North Africa in 1943 after the victory of El Alamein.

In June 1944, the King visited his Army on the Normandy beaches 10 days after D-Day, and later that year he visited troops in Italy and the Low Countries.
So basically he was a medal hunting whore. The ******* walt.
 
#9
Yes Tawahi, which qualifies him for the War Medal without a doubt, but my original question was that the King is not a serving soldier in the same sense as everyone else. He is the reason there is an army in the first place, and as such, does he share in the decorations the King dispenses?
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#10
Yes Tawahi, which qualifies him for the War Medal without a doubt, but my original question was that the King is not a serving soldier in the same sense as everyone else. He is the reason there is an army in the first place, and as such, does he share in the decorations the King dispenses?
He's dead, does it really matter? He was a fieldmarshall so was a serving soldier so qualified for the 1939-1945 star and then visted the various theatres to qualify for his other medals. Sounds pretty straight forward to me.
 
#12
Yes Tawahi, which qualifies him for the War Medal without a doubt, but my original question was that the King is not a serving soldier in the same sense as everyone else. He is the reason there is an army in the first place, and as such, does he share in the decorations the King dispenses?
Err, you are not a republician are you? As HM Kiing or Queen is the head of the armed forces i'm pretty sure he / she can where their medals if they are correct to do so i.e it was a slightly different senario in 1939 -1945 than it is at present. As all the current memebers of the royal household that have served full time where medals earned during their service.

Stilts
 
#14
Yeah, well it doesn't matter at all really, Crow, but it's vaguely interesting.

Bearing in mind how we understand military medals in a monarchy - they are tokens of personal recognition from the sovereign to an individual. No other monarch has worn his own. King George V could have hoovered up a few in India, but we don't see them on his uniform. It happens, but it's a bit like a rock star wearing a t shirt with his own face on it.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#16
Yeah, well it doesn't matter at all really, Crow, but it's vaguely interesting.

Bearing in mind how we understand military medals in a monarchy - they are tokens of personal recognition from the sovereign to an individual. No other monarch has worn his own. King George V could have hoovered up a few in India, but we don't see them on his uniform. It happens, but it's a bit like a rock star wearing a t shirt with his own face on it.
Phil the Greek wears WW2 medals, because he served in the relevant theaters. I don't see what part of the King was a serving member of the Armed Forces and visited the relevant theaters and spent the required amount of time there to qualify for the medals is causing you confusion.
 
#17
Trouble is, Biffins, that award of the particular Stars depends upon being first awarded the 39-45 Star, which takes a very long time to achieve.

Only the Atlantic Star required previous entitlement to the 39/45 Star (unless in the last 6 months of the war), all the others were issued on their own criteria hence the number of groups which have other stars but not the 39/45 .

Winston Churchill also racked up a fair few by all his in theatre visits and even issued the Africa Star to Roosevelt, much to the annoyance of the King.
 
#18
Churchill was a proper medal-hunter, he missed nothing. But Phil the Greek wasn't the King. Am I thinking too laterally? Point is the King essentially awarded medals to himself, and that's never happened before or since.
 
#19
Phil the Greek wears WW2 medals, because he served in the relevant theaters. I don't see what part of the King was a serving member of the Armed Forces and visited the relevant theaters and spent the required amount of time there to qualify for the medals is causing you confusion.
I think his point is that, as medals are awarded as a mark of the Sovereign's gratitude for services rendered, it's a bit odd for a monarch to effectively award them to themselves, i.e going off to WW1 as the Prince of Wales and getting gongs from your Dad, fine. Serving in WW2 and pinning them on your own chest out of respect for and gratitude to yourself, a bit strange.

And, when you think about it, technically he couldn't have been a 'serving' member of the Armed Forces because, constitutionally, we serve the Crown, not the Country. Or something.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#20
I think his point is that, as medals are awarded as a mark of the Sovereign's gratitude for services rendered, it's a bit odd for a monarch to effectively award them to themselves, i.e going off to WW1 as the Prince of Wales and getting gongs from your Dad, fine. Serving in WW2 and pinning them on your own chest out of respect for and gratitude to yourself, a bit strange.
Possibly, but he qualified for them as a serving member of the Armed Forces
 

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