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British War Medal WWI : Leading Seaman Albert Best

Date: 1914-1918
Overall: 40 x 36 mm, 50 g
Medium: Bronze
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Roger Mawby
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00044400

User Terms

    This British War Medal was presented to Albert Best, who was originally from Alverstoke, Hants, England. Observe side depicts the profile of George V, while the reverse shows an image of St George trampling the shield of the Central Powers on horseback. Best reported for active naval service on 23 April 1913 and was discharged on 9 October 1919. This is one of the four medals he received, the others being the 1914-1915 Star medal, World War I Long service and Good Conduct Medal and the World War I Victory Medal.

    SignificanceBest's medal illustrates the high level of service and dedication demonstrated by servicemen in World War I. It represents the official recognition of the men who served in their units for a period of at least 28 days during the conflict.
    HistoryWorld War I was known as 'the war to end all wars', and involved many young men serving to defend Australia and the Allied forces from the Central Powers. The conflict broke out in 1914 and continued until 1918, with a great loss of life. Australia, being part of the Commonwealth Allied forces, sent troops to fight in Gallipoli as well as other theatres of war, contributing to the now historic 'Anzac legend'.

    Best was born 11 August 1879 in Alverstoke Hampshire, England. He reported for active naval service in Sydney on 23 April 1913 and was discharged 9 October 1919, after his five year engagement expired and at his own request.

    During his time with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Best served in five ships including HMAS PENGUIN, HMS PSYCHE, HMAS CERBERUS and HMAS TINGIRA. He received four medals for his service including the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal which is an 1848 design that was first intended to recognise periods of 21 years excellent service but was reduced to 10 years in 1874, and then later increased to 15 years. The 1914-15 Star (which is not to be confused with the 1914 'Mons' Star) was awarded to those who had given service in the fight against the Central Powers between the outbreak of war in August 1914 and the end of 1915, either on land or sea. By the end of the war 2,366,000 Stars were awarded in total and were always given in conjunction with the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, upon active service during and immediately after the First World War.

    The British War Medal was awarded to British and Imperial forces for campaign service in World War I. For naval service it was awarded to those who served for 28 days or to those who lost their lives in active operations before completing that period, between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. It was later extended to cover the period 1919-1920 for post-war mine clearing operations. About 6,500,000 were awarded.

    Albert Best originally enrolled in the Royal Navy (RN) at the London Depot on 23 April 1913 and was serving on HMAS PENGUIN when it was commissioned on 1 July 1913. He was onboard the ship until 6 August 1915 while it served as the RAN's Sydney depot ship. Then on 7 August 1915, Best was stationed in HMS PSYCHE of the Royal Navy's Australian Squadron. Departing Sydney in August 1915, it sailed via Thursday Island and Singapore to Rangoon and patrolled the Burma coast and Malayan Archipelago. In 1916, PSYCHE conducted patrols off the coast of South China and Indo-China before it was replaced by HMS SUFFOLK and returned to the Bay of Bengal.

    Albert Best was commissioned Leading Seaman on 9 August 1917, during the time when HMS PSYCHE sailed for home via the Arafura Sea. Best then continued his service in HMS PENGUIN between 17 October 1917 and 29 November 1917. From 30 November 1917 until 16 August 1918 he served in HMAS CERBERUS which was taken over by the RAN from the RN in 1911. During Best's time there, CERBERUS was used as an explosives storeship. Until his discharge date on 9 October 1919, Albert Best served in HMAS TINGIRA, used as a boys' training ship for the RAN. This completed his five year service.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: British War Medal WWI : Leading Seaman Albert Best

    Web title: World War I British War Medal awarded to Leading Seaman Albert Best

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