1st June 1847. Valour Has No Rank.
Welcome to the month of June
Today the Military General Service Medal was approved in 1847 and being retrospective, anyone still alive, who had fought between 1793-1814, was eligible for the award, but only to survivors, not next of kin.
It was available for all those who had fought in the French Revolutionary, Napoleonic and Anglo-American Wars. A similar medal was struck for the Royal Navy.
Each silver medal had a representative battle clasp on the ribbon, of which 29 were sanctioned; the maximum awarded was 15, for two recipients.
It was the 5th Duke of Richmond, having fought at Waterloo, who petitioned Parliament and Queen Victoria, for a medal for all survivors, bearing in mind that the only previous award was for serving about the time of, and at Waterloo.
25,650 applied for the medal which design was similar to the later Victoria Cross. Compilation had started in 1828 and the final date for claimants was May 1st 1851.
The first campaign medal, as we would know it, was the Army Gold Medal 1808-1814, otherwise known as the Peninsular Gold Medal, and Cross, (where four medals had been won). But this was only awarded to Field and General Officers.
Prior to this time, the only award for outstanding gallantry or service for Generals, was the Order of the Bath, instituted by George I.
However with the Napoleonic Wars it became obvious a new system was required.
The first medal for all ranks, had been the Waterloo Medal issued to officers, NCO s and private soldiers, but which included the King’s German Legion.
39,000 were issued to those who had fought at Ligny and Quatre Bras (16.6.1815), and Waterloo itself two days later.
The medal had been commissioned by Sir William Wellesey Pole, brother of the Duke of Wellington, shortly after the battle.
Originally it was to be graded accorded to rank from gold down to tin, but Wellington insisted all receive the same metal-bronze-later changed by the Prince Regent to silver.