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Object of the Month - November 2014

medals

This month’s object is the First World War medals awarded to local man Alfred James Lee, of Norwood’s Yard, who served with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and was killed in the Somme in 1916.

The medals are a set of campaign medals known colloquially as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, after a cartoon dog, rabbit and penguin, popular at the time.

“Pip” is the 1914-5 Star, awarded to all men who had volunteered during the first two years of the war and who had fought against the enemy.

“Squeak” is the British War Medal and “Wilfred” the Victory Medal, both awarded to all service men, including those who had been killed or invalided out during the course of the war.

Each medal has its own distinctive ribbon. There is some debate as to whether the colours have any significance, but it has been suggested that the red, white and blue represent the colours of Britain, France and the Low Countries; the blue, black and brown are rain, death and mud; and the “double rainbow” of the Victory Medal represents the international symbol of peace.