Volume 50, Number 4, April 2012
A sharing hobby WE have just taken delivery of Michael Maton’s excellent new work Honour Those Mentioned: The Navies, being a full list of all British and Dominion Naval (including Merchant Navy) MiDs for World War II. This completes the Honour Those Mentioned series but isn’t an end to Michael’s endeavours and the next two books, published in November of this year and early in 2013, are sure to appeal to collectors as much as his previous works. Honour the Civilians will detail all civilian awards gazetted during the 1939–45 period and Honour the Recipients of Foreign Awards 1914–1968 will, as its name suggests, details all those gazetted awards made to British and Dominion servicemen and civilians by “foreign” governments from the outbreak of World War I until 1968, the year that such foreign awards lists for civilians were no longer published in the London Gazette. Now, as you can imagine, this latter book in particular is something of a huge undertaking and whilst Michael is an accomplished and fastidious researcher (as anyone who has purchased one of his books will attest to), there will inevitably be some areas where we may well call upon the expertise of our wonderful readers! Over the coming months we plan to help Michael out by asking you to dig deep into your vast reserves of knowledge and help out where you can—we will obviously be able to answer some of the queries, but when it comes to questions such as “Why is the number of French awards to British recipients in World War II (706) so small, compared with World War I (12,800)?” and, “Why were there more French Awards to Canadians than to British personnel—could it be that there so many awards to the British that it was not possible to London Gazette them all?”, we confess we simply don’t know! Over the years our readers have proved time and again that they are more than equal to such challenges, so we hope you don’t mind that we will be calling upon you again to help make Honour the Recipients of Foreign Awards 1914-1968 the definitive book on Foreign Awards found in British, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, India and similar groups—it will, we are sure, be a book no collector will want to be without. Such sharing of knowledge in this hobby is not, of course a new thing, and to be honest it is what makes the hobby so pleasant to be associated with. A quick look on the on-line British Medal Forum will show you just how generous people can be with their advice and expertise and our own Medal Yearbook is testament to that too. Look back at a version of the Yearbook from the 1990s and you will see it is a rather thin affair, covering the basics of most medals but little more. Obscure facts and obscure medals were omitted, not because we didn’t want to include them but simply because we didn’t know about them. Over the years, however, our readers have helped change that and now the 540+ page yearbook is a wealth of knowledge with just about every British and “Empire” medal covered, with many Commonwealth medals included too. Thanks to all those who have shared their knowledge over the years the Yearbook has become the first port of call for collectors, dealers and “newbies” alike, but without your help it would have stayed a basic reference and little more. Our readers have excelled themselves over the years and we thank you all, every one of you, for every piece of information and knowledge you have shared with us in the past but we implore you not to stop—we’re about to start work on the 2013 edition, so if you have anything you think you can add to the book, or think should be subtracted from it, then do let us know. Only through your help can the Yearbook, or an important work like Michael’s Honour the Recipients of Foreign Awards 1914–1968, be of any use to the hobby and ultimately that’s what we all want—yes, this is a commercial activity for us, it is our business and we need to make money at it, but more importantly than that we take pride in what we produce and really do want our products to be the best, and most useful they can be. After all, we are collectors too and really are all in this together: the better products we produce the more information gets out into the hobby and the more information that gets out there the more enjoyable it is for everyone, and that is something I am sure we all want to see. Following on from my Comment last month, Bentley Priory is still fundraising! They are very aware that the £200 donation necessary to secure one of the beautiful lapel badges offered last month is quite a hefty amount and felt that it may well have put people off from giving anything at all. The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust is keen to receive any donation, no matter how small and whilst a £5 or £10 donation won’t get you a gold lapel pin it will give you the warm glow of satisfaction knowing that you have helped secure the future of one of Britain’s most important military historical buildings. Donations of any amount can be given direct to Bentley Priory (see their advert on page 23) or via text giving simply text BOBT40 £XX (XX being the amount) to 70070—you can even claim gift aid on your ’phone if you’re a UK taxpayer too! Please do give something, anything, if you can; this is a very worthy cause and even if you can’t stretch to the £200 necessary to get one of the finely crafted badges, any donation, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received.
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