S. Park (aka sparky) toiling away at everything and nothing for a bleak final outcome for Unit 14 of BA Graphic Design at CSM

Exploring the visual culture of WWII, in comparison to the visual culture of modern warfare.
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Medal Policy 2

Research

British War & Defence Medal Set

War Medal
(1939-1945)

Generally awarded if the service period qualified for one of the Stars and if terminated by death, disability due to service or capture as a prisoner-of-war. A merchant seaman had to have served a minimum of 28 days at sea

Atlantic Star
(1939-1945)

Awarded after the Battle of the Atlantic for service between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 and if the service period was terminated by their death or disability due to service. The qualifying service period for the Atlantic Star could only begin after the 1939-1945 Star had been earned by 6 months’ service. A merchant seaman had to serve in the Atlantic, home waters, North Russia Convoys or South Atlantic waters. The Atlantic Star was also awarded to those awarded a gallantry medal, with no minimum qualifying period.

1939-1945 Star
Awarded for service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 and if the service period was terminated by death or disability due to service. A merchant seaman could qualify after 6 months’ service with at least one voyage in an operational area. The 1939-1945 Star was also awarded to recipients of a gallantry medal, with no minimum qualifying period.

Africa Star
(1940-1943)

Awarded for service between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943, serving in the Mediterranean. A merchant seaman might also qualify serving in operations off the Moroccan coast between 8 November 1942 and 12 May 1943. The minimum qualifying period was one day.

Pacific Star
(1941-1945)

Awarded for service in the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea or the Indian Ocean between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. Generally the qualifying service period for the Pacific Star could only begin after the 1939-1945 Star had been earned by 6 months’ service.

Burma Star
(1941-1945)

Awarded for service in the Burma Campaign between 11 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. A merchant seaman qualified serving within a restricted area in the Bay of Bengal. Generally the qualifying service period for the Burma Star could only begin after the 1939-1945 Star had been earned by 6 months’ service.

France & Germany Star
(1944-1945)

Awarded for service between 6 June 1944 and 8 May 1945, in direct support of land operations in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany, in the North sea, the English Channel or the Bay of Biscay (service off the coast of the south of France could qualify for the Italy Star, see below). There was no minimum time qualification for a Merchant Seaman.

Italy Star
(1943-1945)

Awarded for service between 11 June 1943 and 8 May 1945, in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. Operations in and around the Dodecanese, Corsica, Greece, Sardinia and Yugoslavia after 11 June 1943 would also qualify. Generally the qualifying service period for the Italy Star could only begin after the 1939-1945 Star had been earned by 6 months’ service. There were no clasps awarded with the Italy Star.

Information Source: The National Archives; Photo source: WW2 Depot

Medal Policy

Research,, WWII

Maximum number of WWII Medals

No one person could receive more than 5 stars and the two medals. Also no one person was awarded more than one clasp to any one campaign star.

This maximum entitlement can be expressed as

  • 1939-45 Star
  • Atlantic Star (or Aircrew Europe or France and Germany)
  • Africa Star
  • Pacific Star (or Burma Star)
  • Italy Star
  • Defence Medal
  • War Medal

Info from Stephen Stratford.co.uk, Image from WWII Medals Badges & Insignia

The Value of an Accomplishment?

Progress,, WWII

As mentioned before I stumbled upon a webstore that sold medals and badges from the Second World War. Usually I’d have beamed at the fact that such novelty items were available for purchase, but then it got me thinking how there can be a value to accomplishment medals? The prices on the store seem to depend on the physical state of the medals and there probably is a standard pricing for the different types (derived from what exactly?) but is it really right to be selling some of these? I’m sure many of the badges and insignias were either surplus or part of an overflowing ‘archive’, but what about the medals and ID Tags? Has memorabilia from WWII faded into the souvenir category already?

It might be interesting to look at the worth of medals, how does one go about obtaining one, what kind of story is behind it, and what relationship the wearer/giver might have with it…

PwNed

Film,, WWII

One of my favourite scenes in Band of Brothers

“We salute the rank, not the man” Lieutenant Winters to Captain Sobel

Many buttons?

Inspiration,, WWII

Rebel

Out & About,, WWII

Today was visit the National War Museum in Chelsea day. The weather was smashin’ – a little windy, but smashin’ nevertheless. I’d been to the Imperial War Museum before and had assumed that the National War Museum would be a more serious version, with a more academic approach. It was academic alright, for elementary school. A lot of the displays and interactions were for children, and the language was a little too dumbed down for my taste. Worst of all, photography is not allowed? Well since I’m such a badass rebel, I took advantage of my phone camera. That’s what its really for, isn’t it.

During the First World War trench warfare, the Allies would sometimes dig a tunnel under the trenches to the German side and plant explosives.

Formations Badges from the Pacific front

The formation badges and medals (ribbons & coins) caught my eye most, and got me thinking what determines the colour and shape of a medal…

Confuzzlement

Dissertation,, Progress

From the very beginning I wanted to go back to my dissertation and re-touch on topics that I’d discussed or began exploring, but due to the fact that my dissertation was incredibly abstract, conceptual and basically code to those who hasn’t read Paul Virilio, I’m finding it hard.

My main interests lie in the Second World War, around D-Day of 1944 and General Patton, but that seems too specific in topic. Then again I need to narrow things down eventually…

If I did stay true to the topics of my dissertation, I might want to look at the relationship between men & machines, in terms of visual perception in war. Right now I have no idea where the visual starting point for this should be, but I want to explore how the space and time between adversaries increase, while decreasing at the same time through the development of  ’seeing’ through weapons and machinery.

I’ll start by looking at the history and chronological development of ‘seeing’ machines over the major wars, and determine what kind of relationship it has to soldiers, pilots and civilians in war.

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To-Do List
  • Do mock-up of Jacket and figure out max ribbon panel count
  • Figure out number of categories & order ribbons!
  • Obtain statistics for the categories
  • Visit Imperial War Museum
  • Visit National Army Museum
  • Visit the 'Decode' Exhibition at V&A
  • Explore visual culture of War - information graphics?