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  Commemorative Medal of the Big War       Historic     Recipients     Obtaining     Distinction  
Médaille Commémorative de la Grande Guerre


  HISTORIC :  Beginning

One can estimate that the Medal of Saint - Helen, created by Napoléon III some, 1857 to honor " the soldiers having fought under the flags of the France... of 1792 to 1815 " is the first medal commemorative French. She/it concerned all former fighters of the Revolution and of empire, always living, and was not a selective decoration as was the Military Medal and as he/it will be later the Cross of war.

This idea was taken by the III Republic that created, about forty, of years also after the events, a Medal of 1870-1871 for the survives this war. but in the meantime Napoléon III had instituted three commemorative medals, immediately after the facts: the one of the country of Italy (1859), the one of the expedition of China (1861) and the one of the expedition of Mexico (1863).

Republic had already made in the same way for her colonial countries while instituting six commemorative medals: the one of the expedition of the Tonkin (1885), the one of Madagascar (1886 and 1896), the one of the expedition of the Dahomey (1892), the one of China (1902) and finally the one of the Morocco (1909).

He is to note that a barrette " Hired Volunteer ", created in 1911, appeared with the Medal of 1870-1871 as well as four barrettes corresponding to battles with the Medal of Morocco. The Colonial Medal, created in 1893, can add itself to this list but has a role to part because she/it also rewarded other services that the involvement to operations of war (missions of study and explorations then long colonial stays). It is in this mind that during World War I, several, governmental and parliamentary initiatives appeared in order to create " one tangible mark of involvement to the immense struggle ", nearby " of the decorations actual, that all soldiers could not acquire ".

Alexander Millerand, minister of the War, put down in this sense a project of law since September 1915. But it was necessary to wait for the set down law project June 11, 1919 by the government, adopted by the Room and the Senate, so that was created the Commemorative medal of 1914-1918 (law of June 23, 1920).

A contest was open by the minister of the Public instruction and the fine arts. The retained project was the one of engraver Morlon.


 RECIPIENTS :  Beginning

The Medal of the Big War is awarded:

The barrette " Hired Volunteer " is reserved to those that, free of all military drafts or non susceptible of call in the two years, are himself committed during the Big War.



The persons concerned must be able to justify their rights in the harbor of the medal by a piece making take out again their titles: military record, extracts of quote, title of pension... Those that don't possess no of the indicated pieces must make a demand and to address it at the defense secretary cabinet (office of the decorations).

One often called this medal " the medal of the shaggy " nickname given to the fighters of the Big War.


  THE DISTINCTION :  Beginning