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CITY OF BIRMINGHAM WELCOME HOME / TRIBUTE MEDAL 6 months 3 weeks ago #81104

  • Neville_C
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The use of the "ER" ribbon on another H.B. Sale & Co Coronation medal (again with the date of 26 June 1902). With Birmingham tribute on right for comparison (not to scale).


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CITY OF BIRMINGHAM WELCOME HOME / TRIBUTE MEDAL 6 months 3 weeks ago #81105

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I am now even more convinced the Birmingham "Tribute" Medal was not issued by the City Council.

Southafricanmedals.com have obviously not done the research that Neville has, and made the assumption that the reported tribute by the Council must have been a Medal rather than a piece of paper.

I estimated that whatever tribute the Council made it went to circa 4,000 Brummies. My 4,000 came from the fact that 347,00 British Troops served in the Boer War and the 1901 population of GB was 43 million and the 1901 population of Birmingham was half a million. I will leave you to do the detailed maths. However, I now realise the City Council tribute only involved the "volunteer force" - based on my Smethwick studies they would have been a fraction of the total number of Brummies who served and probably less than 10% (i.e. less than 400)

Based on my Smethwick studies - the soldiers who fought in the Boer War can be divided into 3 types - Regular (those who were serving in the army when the conflict started), Reservists (those who had had completed the 7 active years of their original 12 year commitment and were in the Army Reserve when the conflict started) & Volunteers (most of whom seemed to have been involved in local militia which one could liken to the TA not created until 1908). The Regulars received no press coverage and no praise - presumably they were seen as just doing their job. The Smethwick Volunteers received a lot of press attention and praise and the only Boer War Memorial in Smethwick is to the 26 members of the Smethwick Militia who served in the conflict (one actually died of disease, not that you can tell that from the memorial). The Reservists got the most press attention, praise, sympathy and charitable financial help. As far as I can see they were still under contract and received a retainer and had no option but to answer their recall to the colours - however, they all received sympathy and some even came in for praise. Most of them had a "send off" by the firm they worked for & their work-fellows and were usually presented with pipes, tobacco and some cash during a session at a local hostelry which ended with the singing of patriotic songs. Most firms set up a Reservists Fund to financially assist their families left behind in Smethwick. The Mayor/Smethwick Telephone also set up a Reservists Fund and the donators were regularly listed in the paper and at one time the fund stood at £2,200 (quarter of a million in today's money). Even so it ran out of funds within a year of the war ending and could not provide assistance to Thomas Webster (late of the Duke of Cornwall's Light infantry) who had been reduced to selling matches in the centre of Brum - he resolved the issue by expiring shortly after one of his mates had appealed to the Smethwick Telephone. .
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CITY OF BIRMINGHAM WELCOME HOME / TRIBUTE MEDAL 6 months 3 weeks ago #81113

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At the risk of veering off topic, I am posting images of a medal that was definitely commissioned/purchased by the Birmingham City Council. This is the children's Coronation medal by George Frampton, R.A., manufactured by The Mint Birmingham Ltd [G.F. M.B. LD]. SEE ALSO: City of London Tribute Medal

93,800 of these were presented to local school children at a cost of £2,094 (equating to roughly £160,000 in today's money). Unsurprisingly there many who felt this was a terrible waste of money, and that a better cause would have been the alleviation of hunger in the poorest areas of the city:

Birmingham Mail, 15th June 1902

"One sympathises most with Mr Pentland’s suggestion of a treat for the poorest children of the city. After all, it is difficult to appreciate high art when the pangs of hunger are being felt. A bronze medal, designed by Mr George Frampton, R.A., bearing portraits of the King and Queen and a Latin inscription, may appeal to the aesthetic soul, and become a family heirloom of great price. But the poor little mites who are to be seen in some of our elementary schools would appreciate the medals far more if at least one good, solid meal were ensured as well at a time of national rejoicing".

Mr Pentland's proposal was rejected due to a lack of funds.


The inclusion of "FORWARD" on the reverse of this medal perhaps adds weight to Smethwick's observations regarding the lack of a motto under the civic arms on the reverse of the "tribute" medal, and his assertion that "the City Council would have insisted on this being included in the design" . Here we have a medal known to have been commissioned by Birmingham City Council which includes the city motto in clear bold letters.




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CITY OF BIRMINGHAM WELCOME HOME / TRIBUTE MEDAL 6 months 3 weeks ago #81115

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Neville - entirely on topic I would say.

I have taken the liberty of putting the obverse of the Birmingham City Council Children's Coronation Medal alongside the obverse of the Birmingham (H B Sale) "Tribute" Medal. Can i please have your permission to submit it to a present day Birmingham newspaper for inclusion in their "Spot the Difference" competition. I would say the "coast of arms" on the "Tribute" Medal was a representation of the true coat of arms - presumably to avoid copyright type issues. Also significant that the Council seem not to have used H B Sale to produce the Coronation Medal. Finally, I would like to belatedly add my support to Mr Pentland's suggestion.

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CITY OF BIRMINGHAM WELCOME HOME / TRIBUTE MEDAL 6 months 3 weeks ago #81116

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Fine by me.
Though something strange has happened to the rim of the tribute - it seems to have become distorted and blurred.
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CITY OF BIRMINGHAM WELCOME HOME / TRIBUTE MEDAL 6 months 3 weeks ago #81118

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Here is another gilt but rubbed on ebay.......

Mike

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Military Historical Society
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