Circular gilt bronze medal on laterally pierced cylinder suspension; the face with a winged figure of Victory, signed ‘W McM’ (for William McMillan, 1887-1977); the reverse inscribed ‘THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION 1914-1919’ within a circular laurel wreath; attributed on the edge to ‘1874 PTE. H. W. JOYCE. SOM. L. I.’; light contact marks; on replaced correct ribbon.
The idea of an inter-allied medal to commemorate victory in what was termed ‘The Great War for Civilisation’ is credited to the French Field-Marshal Foch. It was agreed that each of the Allies should issue a medal to their nationals featuring a figure representing ‘Victory’ on the front and have a symmetric double rainbow ribbon with red, the colour of courage and sacrifice at the centre, representing the colours of the allies flags and presenting an allegory of calm after storm.
The British medal was instituted on 1 September 1919 to be awarded to all those who served in a theatre of operations between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. It was awarded also to all British Empire military, except those of South Africa, whose government issued their own variant. Additionally, it was awarded to those British servicemen active in the Hejaz and Aden after the end of the European war, for post-war mine clearance operations and for the Royal Navy mission to Russia, hence the latter date of 1919.
Private Henry W. Joyce joined the Somerset Light Infantry and was sent to the North West Frontier (Medal Index Card Theatre of War ‘5G’), arriving on 29 August 1915 (date of his qualification for the 1914-15 Star). His number later changed from 1874 to 200293. He was discharged on 13 May 1919. He was also entitled to the British War Medal 1914-1920.
Sold with a copy of his Medal Index Card showing entitlement.