This month I wanted to do something that would shine a light on our veterans. In the gallery we are very lucky to have several sets of medals that belonged to WW2 veterans. I have picked wing commander Kenneth Owen Moore as an example.

When looking at a set of medals you can almost read the career of the person who is wearing them.

I will name and describe each of the medals from left to right. This is also the the order of importance.

W/Comd Kenneth Owen Moore

N W/Comd Kenneth Owen Moore


Distinguished Service Order

Distinguished Service Order

 

The first medal in this story is the Distinguished service order. This medal was established to reward individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war. This medal was given to officers only. Prior to 1943 the medal could only be given to officers mentioned in dispatches. The medal is generally given to officers in command, above the rank of Lt-Col. When given to a lower rank it is usually for actions involving a very high degree of gallantry in the face of the enemy.


 

 

 

1939-45 Star

1939-45 Star

 

The second medal is the 1939-45 star. The 1939-45 Star was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and awarded for operational service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.

Army personnel had to complete six months service in an operational command. Airborne troops qualified if they had participated in any airborne operations and had completed two months service in a fully operational unit.

Air Force personnel had to participate in operations against the enemy providing that two months service had been completed in an operational unit. Non-aircrew personnel had to complete 6 months service in an area of (overseas) operational army command.

Naval personnel qualified if they completed six months service, and at least one voyage was made through an operational area, Royal Observer Corps personnel for service of 1080 days.

There were a number of ‘Qualifying Special Areas’ where operational service for ‘one day or part thereof’ qualified for the special award of the 1939-45 Star.

These were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not issued. Examples are: France or Belgium – 10 May to 19 June 1940, St. Nazaire – 22 to 28 March 1942, Dieppe – 19 August 1942, Iraq – 10 April to 25 May 1941 and Burma (Enemy Invasion) – 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942.

The star was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding.

The award of a gallantry medal, or, a ‘Mention in Despatches’ also led to an immediate award.


1939-45 Atlantic Star

1939-45 Atlantic Star

 

The third medal is the 1939-45 Atlantic star. The Atlantic Star was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and was awarded for six months service afloat, in the Atlantic or in Home Waters, within the period 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.

It was also awarded to aircrew who had taken part in operations against the enemy at sea within the qualifying areas, and to naval personnel, subject to two months service in an operational unit.

The 1939-1945 Star must have been earned before commencing qualifying service for the Atlantic Star.

Merchant seaman also qualified for the medal. They were required to have served in the Atlantic, home waters, North Russia Convoys or the South Atlantic.

The star was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding.

The award of a gallantry medal or a ‘Mention in Despatches’ also led to an immediate award.


1939-45 Italy star

1939-45 Italy star

 

The Italy star is the fourth medal in line.
The Italy Star was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and was awarded for operational service (on land) in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Pantelleria, the Aegean area and Dodecanese Islands, and Elba at any time between 11 June 1943 and 8 May 1945.

Other areas to qualify for the award are: Sicily – between 11 June 1943 – 17 August 1943, Sardinia – between 11 June 1943 – 19 September 1943, Corsica – between 11 June 1943 – 4 October 1943

Additionally, Royal and Merchant Navy service in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and operations in and around the Dodecanese Islands, Corsica, Greece, Sardinia and Yugoslavia after 11 June 1943 would also qualify. The six months service for the 1939-45 had to be earned, before service could count towards the Italy Star.

Naval shore-based personnel were covered by the Army qualification requirements.

Army personnel had no prior time qualification.

Air Force personnel had no prior time qualification. Qualification involved participation in aircrew service within the Mediterranean theatre, including sorties from the Mediterranean area over Europe.

Entry into Austrian Territory during the last few days of the Second World War qualified for this star.

The star was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding.

To wear the Italy Star also enables the wearer to join the Italy Star Association.


Canadian Volunteer Service medal with bar

Canadian Volunteer Service medal with bar

The next in line is the Canadian Volunteer Service medal, with bar. The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was a Canadian campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in October 1943 and was awarded to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on active service from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1947.

Members of the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada are eligible for this medal if they voluntarily served on Active Service and honourably completed eighteen months (540 days) total service between the dates mentioned above.

On 14 March 2001, the Governor General extended the eligibility to individuals who served, but not as members of the military forces. Those granted eligibility were Canadian World War II Merchant Mariners; Auxiliary Services personnel, engaged and paid by the Canadian Legion, Knights of Columbus, Salvation Army and the YMCA; The Corps of Canadian (Civilian) Fire Fighters who served in the United Kingdom and helped fight the fires during the Blitz; Overseas Welfare Workers and the Voluntary Aid Detachments; Ferry Command Pilots and Aircrew under contract to deliver aircraft from North America; and British Commonwealth Air Training Plane Instructors.

On 6 June 2003, eligibility to the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was extended to members and reserve constables of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who voluntarily served during the Second World War.

The medal was awarded in addition to the standard Commonwealth campaign awards for World War II.


1939-45 war medal with oak leaf

1939-45 war medal with oak leaf

 

The sixth medal is the 1939-45 War Medal with oak leaf. The British War Medal 1939-1945 was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and awarded to those who had served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy full-time for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.

In the Merchant Navy, the 28 days must have been served at sea. It is sometimes described as the ‘Victory Medal’ for World War II, although that is not its correct name.

The medal was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding.


The next in line is specific to Canada, that being the Canadian Forces Decoration. The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal is granted to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service and honourably completed eighteen months (540 days) total voluntary service from September 3, 1939 to March 1, 1947. On June 6, 2003, eligibility to the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was extended to members and reserve constables of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who voluntarily served during the Second World War. A silver bar (often called a clasp), a maple leaf at its centre, was awarded for 60 days service outside Canada. A silver maple leaf is worn on the ribbon in undress.


USA Silver star

USA Silver star

 

The final medal in the collection is the USA Silver Star. The Silver Star Medal is the United States’ THIRD HIGHEST award exclusively for combat valor, and ranks fifth in the precedence of military awards behind the Medal of Honor, the Crosses (DSC/NC/AFC), the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (awarded by DOD), and the Distinguished Service Medals of the various branches of service. It is the highest award for combat valor that is NOT unique to any specific branch; it has been bestowed by the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines. It may be given by any one of the individual services to not only their own members, but to members of other branches of service, foreign allies, and even to civilians for “gallantry in action” in support of combat missions of the United States military.

Wing Commander Moore as you have read had a career that would have made an amazing action movie. This though was real life and he and his fellow men and women in service were young, barely old enough to drink. Some didn’t yet shave, yet they went out on missions every day.

I hope that on Rememberance Day as you see the older people proudly wearing their uniforms or blazers and service berets, you will take the time to realize the amazing feats of courage and bravery in very far off lands. These young men were flying planes and driving tanks many doing this whilst just finishing high school.

Dont forget to look at our younger service members too who have given so much in the recent history of our country and the ever decreasing world in which we live in. We will be open today, so please come on in to visit and learn a bit more. At the very least, take the time to give our veterans that one minute of peace and respect at 11:00.