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medal, British War Medal, 1914-20, medals, Military, Britain, Royal Air Force

Artist: London, mint; Date(s): 1920; Classification(s): medal, British War Medal, 1914-20, medals, Military, Britain, Royal Air Force; Acquisition: loan by Cambridge in America, 2005 [LW.0365c] Description: The Great War of 1914-1918 remains the bloodiest conflict in which Britain has ever been engaged. British casualties at Ypres and on the Somme from 1915 to 1918 outnumbered the entire British casualty list for the whole of the Second World War. This medal was awarded to all members of the British Armed Forces who had fought in the War; some five million were issued. Because of the difficulty, in a conflict that had involved long-range artillery and air bombardment, of deciding eligibility for bars for individual battles, none of these were made. Unlike the Allied Victory Medal, this medal was also awarded to mobilised personnel who had not seen combat. This medal was awarded to 2nd Lieutenant John Mitchell, of the Royal Air Force. It is one of a group of eight of his medals that are in the Lester Watson Collection. Although the catalogue of the Watson Collection considers Mitchell's awards as its Group 7, the medals of that group are not physically attached and so have been treated separately here. Nonetheless it was as a group that Lester Watson purchased them, from the London dealers Baldwin in 1928.