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Collection of GC medals

Editor's note: other medals awarded to boys of the RMA and Duke of York's School are to be found in the book by David Harris "A Guide to Military Temperance Medals" second edition.

The year 1850 marked the first award of a Good Conduct medal to boys of the RMA. Unlike the award of temperance medals, which recipients wore on the left breast when in uniform but not on parade, GC medals were officially recognized and could be worn along with campaign and award medals a soldier earned during his service. The RMA GC medal has been awarded annually since it was first issued in 1850 

The medal obverse is described as the royal arms, garnished, crested and with supporters; the medal reverse is described as ROYAL MILITARY ASYLUM or DUKE OF YORK’S ROYAL MILITARY SCHOOL around the circumference enclosing a laurel wreath inscribed across the centre FOR GOOD CONDUCT. The medal is fitted with a scrolled suspender and brooch. The edge is engraved in upright capitals with the name of the recipient (British Token publishers Medal Yearbook).
The medal appears to have been awarded in both Silver and Bronze (versions of silver RMA and DYRMS medals have appeared in recent auctions). The Bronze version, although currently unseen, is described in the article on this web site (see The good conduct medal) based on information provided by a Preston-based descendant of Peter William Crouch (RMA 1874-1880).

The ribbon in the Medal Yearbook (which is for the RMA) is described as Plain Red. However, of the three medals in the possession of the author, all DYRMS, one is suspended by a red ribbon, one by a crimson ribbon (similar to the 19th Century [pre-1917 issue] Regular Army Long Service & Good Conduct) and one from a green ribbon.

Both the crimson ribbon and green ribbon medal versions are still fitted with their brooches (the crimson with a silver buckle brooch fitting), whilst the ribbon of the red ribbon medal appears to be too wide for the medal suspender and is lacking its brooch.

The Green ribbon version is also in a presumably, original ‘D NINNES GOLDSMITH HYTHE’ box. Illustrated versions of medals both RMA and DYRMS, seen in catalogues have also had the crimson ribbon. As an aside, and to confuse matters, I have also seen catalogued items of the Army LS&GC fitted with a red as opposed to crimson ribbon.
  Three good conduct medals in the possession of the writer of this article as described  
The crimson ribbon medal is engraved around the rim to ‘MONITOR F. P. DREW. This measures 1.511” wide. The red ribbon medal is engraved around the rim to 'R. H. G. CHILD. C COMPANY’ measures 1.512” wide. The green ribbon medal was engraved (faint traces remain) but has been erased. This measures 1.504” wide.
The GC medals of R. G. H. Child and Monitor F. P. Drew with the centre view showing the inscription

On the DYRMS web site under ‘1909 Making a New Start’ the school photographic album for that period shows under the photograph entitled ‘The Monitors’ a total of 3 medal wearers in the front row; 1 medal wearer in the centre row and 2 medal wearers in the rear row. This gives a total of 6 medals being worn in 1909. On the same site it is possible to make out 2 medal wearers in the photograph of A Company and 1 each in B, E and G Company, with 1 missing. In the photograph showing the Colour Party the King’s Colour Bearer is also wearing a medal. All medals shown appear to be of the silver variety. This would appear to dispel the supposition that only one medal was awarded per year as is, reportedly, current practise. 

The Bursar of the school in 2001, Lieutenant Colonel Roger Say, in a reply to a letter seeking information on the Good Conduct medal, stated that:

‘The DYRMS Good Conduct Medal is awarded annually to two pupils for their overall contribution to the school. It is awarded as a bronze and silver medallion, the silver normally to the Chief School Prefect (CSP).

In my time at the school the Chief School Prefect also commanded when the school was on parade, although I confess I cannot recall his ‘parade’ rank. With the above information Lt. Col. Say also included a DYRMS Prospectus and a ‘Winter 2001’ copy of ‘Dispatches,’ the school newsletter. A photograph in this shows Senior Under Officer James Barton on the Remembrance Sunday Parade, without evidence of a medal.

In the Medal Yearbook 2004 the value is shown as £400-450 for the Royal Military Asylum Good Conduct medal. This is revised in Medal Yearbook 2005 to £100-150. In Morton & Eden (In Association with Sotheby’s) May 2006 Auction a RMA Good Conduct medal (named to T. LEONARD) on a crimson ribbon estimated at £100-150 sold for £240. In a Dix, Noonan & Webb Auction in April 2006 a Gordon Boys Home Medal for Exemplary Conduct, silver (named to 2310 Corpl. F. H. TRIMMER); The Gordon Boys School Medal for Exemplary Conduct, silver (unnamed) and a Duke of York’s Royal Military School Good conduct Medal, silver (named to Colour Corporal E. ELLIOT) with a silver buckle on the ribbon, estimated at £60-80 sold for £160. Unfortunately, no illustration was available.
© Ian Lawrance
January 2007    

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