Awarded to Belgian civilians who served in the ranks of the Belgian armed forces during the World War and under the same conditions as for the Victory Medal.
This bronze, somewhat triangular medal was instituted on 21 July 1919 and came with a number of possible ribbon devices : a crown for volunteers, a silver bar per front stripe, a gilt bar replacing 5 silver ones, a red enamel cross for each wound stripe, black bars for POW's etc. Front stripes were awarded for frontline duty, the first stripe for one year's service, subsequent stripes for each additional 6 months. Navy personnel and fishermen could resp. affix crossed anchors or a single anchor to the ribbon (the latter only if they had also received a Maritime Decoration). Members of the Expeditionary Corps to Russia received a bar "1916-R-1917" (modified later into "1916-R-1918").
The medal's obverse has a medaillon which depicts the helmeted head of a soldier, the helmet being covered with a laurel branch. In the lower corners of the medal are the dates "1914" and "1918" while the top of the medal shows a rampant lion surrounded by an oak leaf branch (left) and a laurel branch (right). The reverse has an inscription in both French and Flemish under a royal crown flanked by an oak leaf branch (left) and a laurel branch (right) : "MEDAILLE COMMEMORATIVE / DE LA CAMPAGNE / 1914-1918 / HERDENKINGSMEDAILLE / VAN DEN VELDTOCHT" (Commemorative medal for the 1914-1918 campaign).
The Commemorative Medal of the War 1914-1918
Commemorative Medal (obverse, reverse)
Commemorative Medal (with various devices on the ribbon)
© Hendrik Meersschaert, 2017
Note on the Russia bar : attention is drawn to the fact that officially the bar is supposed to be silver gilt, there is no mention of enamel in the decree governing this clasp. Collectors should also be aware that copies of this bar have been signalled ...Furthermore, I've seen at least one other model of this bar, an entirely rectangular one whereby the "R" is not within a cross but simply figures between the two dates. This is likely to be a later (and unofficial) make.
Original recipients of this bar have been found on the lists below but it is quite possible that a few more were awarded at a later date.