Inter-allied Victory Medals
At the end of World War 1 each of the Allied and Associated nations decided together that they should issue a Victory Medal and that the figure of Victory should be on the obverse. The following counties issued medals - Great Britain, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia (Serbia), France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Thailand (Siam), Union of South Africa and United States of America. China and Montenegro did not issue a medal.
I have a small collection of these as shown below.
The British Victory Medal - It is a circular medal with a laterally-pierced barrel shaped suspension holding a ring. On the obverse is a representation of a winged Victory. On the reverse there is a wreath around the words THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION and the date 1914-1919 Unlike all of the other Inter Allied Victory Medals (except South Africa) on the edges of these medals the rank, name, number and regiment impressed.
The South African Victory Medal is almost the same as the British one but has the inscription on the reverse in both English and Afrikaans - it also has the name around the edge.
The Belgian Victory Medal is a circular bronze medal with a laterally-pierced ball suspension. The obverse depicts a winged figure of Victory. It is signed ‘PAUL DUBOIS’. On the reverse are the arms of Belgium encircled by the arms of the nine Allies within an inscription ‘The Great War for Civilisation’ in French and in Flemish
The French Victory Medal is a circular bronze medal on laterally pierced cylinder suspension; the face with a winged figure of Victory, signed ‘A MORLON’. The reverse has a Phrygian bonnet between the letters ‘R’ and ‘F’ (République Française) above the inscription ‘LA GRANDE GUERRE POUR LA CIVILISATION 1914-1918’, with bronze assay marks
The Italian Victory Medal is a circular bronze medal with bar for ribbon suspension. The obverse has a winged Victory on a triumphal chariot drawn by four lions. It is signed ‘Orsolini MOD’ and with maker’s mark ‘SACCHINI – MILANO’; the reverse with a tazza from which two doves fly bearing olive branches. It is dated ‘MXMXIV’ ‘MXMXVIII’ (1914 1918) and inscribed around the upper rim ‘GRANDE GUERRA PER LA CIVILITA’ (The Great War for Civilization) and inscribed at the base ‘AL COMBATIENTI DELLA NAZIONE ALLEATE ED ASSOCIATE’ (To the combatants of the Allied and Associated countries)
The Italian Victory Medal on the left has an unusual bar mounting when compared with the others like the British one on the right.
The United States of America Victory Medal - these are the only ones which have bars to designate specific battles fought by the recipient. The obverse depicts the winged figure of Victory carrying a sword and shield. The reverse has a symbolic eagle on top of a fluted pillar with a shield behind containing the letters US. The words GREAT WAR FOR CIVILIZATION are at the top and below this are the names of the other thirteen allies. Along the lower edge are six stars. I obtained this medal from the United States.
Above is possibly one of the most rare of my Inter-Allied Victory Medals - a Czechoslovakian version. It is a circular bronze medal on laterally-pierced cylinder suspension; the face with a winged figure of Victory, a laurel branch in her right hand held above her head, an upright sword in her right hand, linden leaves (the Czech national tree) at her feet, signed ‘O SPANIEL’. The reverse has a central shield bearing the two-tailed lion of Bohemia, coat of arms of Slovakia with patriarchal (two lateral arms) cross imposed on its breast, decorated with linden leaves, the dates ‘1914-1919’ on a ribbon to either side, circumscribed ‘SVETOVA VALKA ZA CIVILISACI’ (The Great War for Civilisation).
The medal above is the most rare of my Inter-Allied Victory Medals - it was issued by Japan. Although they kept to the basic design and ribbon they replaced the image of winged "Victory" with an image of Take-Mikazuchi-no-Kami. He was a son of the ancient god Izanagi and he defeated his brothers to conquer Japan. The reverse shows, within the outline of a cherry blossom, a globe with the flags of Japan, US, Britain, Italy and France, with characters below for "and the other allied and united nations". Around the edge there are the characters for "Great War for Protection of Civilisation, Taisho 3rd year to Taisho 9th year". I purchased this medal directly from Japan.
The medal is contained in a little wooden box which is fitted to hold it. There are impressed characters on the lid - I hope to discover what they say?
These are the Inter-Allied Victory Medals which I have in my collection - on the next page are illustrations of the others.