© Hendrik Meersschaert 2017
WORLD WAR II ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES
The Merchant Marine Commemorative Medal 1939-1945
Although Portugal remained neutral during the entire war, a single bronze medal for its merchant navy personnel was created on 19 November 1951. It was destined to commemorate the efforts of the merchant and high-sea fishing fleets' crews and awarded to them for their patriotism and spirit of sacrifice. Criteria for the award specified a minimum of one year service aboard a Portuguese ship but crew members of attacked or sunken vessels were immediately entitled to it.
The obverse text reads "RECONHECIMENTO DA NAÇÃO" (The nation's gratitude) whereas the reverse inscription, around the rim and in the centre, "MEDALHA COMEMORATIVA DO ESFORÇO DOS TRIPULANTES DOS NAVIOS MERCANTES DURANTE A GUERRA DE 1939 1945" can be translated as "Commemorative Medal for the Efforts of the Crews of Merchant Vessels during the War of 1939-1945".