Circular silvered and gilt bronze medal with ring and military trophy of arms suspension; the face with a circular central medallion bearing a laurel-crowned female head facing left representing the French Republic, within a blue enamel ring inscribed ‘REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE *’ encircled by a laurel wreath; the reverse with a circular central medallion inscribed ‘VALEUR ET DISCIPLINE’ within a blue enamel ring encircled by a laurel wreath; on original ribbon.
The Military Medal ranks second amongst all French decorations, giving precedence only to the Legion of Honour (and an exception made for the Order of the Liberation).
It was created by Louis Napoleon on 22 January 1852 and was novel in being specifically intended for non-commissioned officers and soldiers. It may be awarded for completion of eight years of military service, on receipt of a citation, for being wounded in combat and for acts of courage and devotion to duty.
There have been successively nine main types and some specialists point to more than 30 variants as a result of differences in manufacture.
This example with a ring rather than hinge suspension and a star rather than the date ‘1870’ is of the ‘9th’ type from the 4th and 5th Republics since 1951.