© Hendrik Meersschaert 2017
WORLD WAR II ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES
The Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St. George
Ethiopia, then still including Erythrea, was invaded in 1935-36 by Italian armed forces and remained occupied until WW2 allied forces, mainly British and Free French, liberated the country in 1941. Ethiopian forces fought to repell the invasion, in guerilla warfare during the occupation and alongside the allied forces during the liberation.
This bronze medal, the premier military award of Ethiopia, evolved from the Military Medal of Menelik II and was awarded for outstanding military service, including acts of extreme gallantry or for distinguished leadership in hostilities. A second award of this medal was denoted by a palm leaf on the ribbon. Although instituted prior to the 1935-1941 campaign, it was awarded - very sparingly - to participants.
The Distinguished Military Medal of Haile Selassie I
This bronze medal was instituted during the 1935-1941 campaign by Emperor Haile Selassie I for award to those that performed single acts of great gallantry or for protracted distinguished military service. A second award was denoted by a bronze palm on the ribbon. The medal was manufactured by Mappin & Webb, in London, as indicated on the reverse of the attachment pin.
The Refugees Medal
Created by Emperor Haile Selassie I, this bronze medal was awarded to those that assisted the mass of refugees which the 1935-1941 war had created. Subsequent awards were denoted by bronze palms on the ribbon.
The Star of Victory 1941
This silvered star, manufactured by Mappin & Webb, was awarded to participants in the 1935-1941 war to commemorate the defeat of the Italian forces in Ethiopia in 1941.
The Patriot's Medal
I have not been able to find the criteria for this bronze medal. Palms, each with a small scroll in Amharic script denoting the year of "service" are affixed to the ribbon. Its reverse is identical to the Refugees medal, its obverse is different as is its crown suspension. Translated, the obverse legend reads "Gold is tested by Fire" and the reverse one stands for "Hope strengthened by Faith is a Weapon for Victory 1941".
Note : the dates on the 5 ribbon palms in the picture above appear to stand for 3 x "1930", 1 x "1931" and 1 x "1932" of the Ethiopian calendar (resp. approximately 1938, 1939, 1940 in Western calendars) - without proof to the contrary, I'm assuming two of the "1930" palms are incorrect add-ons.
The Underground Medal
This bronze medal once again has the same reverse as the Refugees medal but differs from it through its obverse and its suspension. It was awarded to those Ethiopians that were active in the guerilla war and the resistance against the Italian occupation.
The 25th Anniversary of the Victory of 1941 Medal
This silver medal was instituted in 1966 (1958 by the Ethiopian calendar) to commemorate, as its name indicates, the 25th anniversary of the defeat of the Italian occupation forces in Ethiopia. Its obverse shows the Emperor, Haile Selassie I, raising an Ethiopian flag at Omedla (where he re-entered Ethiopia from the Sudan), the reverse has the medal's title in English around the rim and "1966" at the bottom. In the reverse centre is a representation of the War Memorial to the Ethiopian dead.