Circular bronze medal on laterally pierced ball suspension; the face with a winged figure of Victory, arms outstretched, signed ‘C. Charles’; the reverse with a central plaque inscribed ‘LA GRANDE GUERRE POUR LA CIVILISATION 1914-1918’, laurel leaves above and below; bronze assay mark and Etablissements Adrien Chobillon maker’s mark on the edge; on original 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 French Victory Medal was instituted on 24 January 1919 and, as stated in the Ministerial Instruction of 7 October 1922, to be attributed to all French military, not just those who had fought in France, but specifically also those who had served in the Middle and Far East, in Russia, in Africa etc.
A number of versions of the medal exist; this example is of the ‘unofficial type 1’ issue designed by Charles Charles and made by Etablissements Adrien Chobillon of Paris.
It is found much more rarely than the official issue by Morlon.