French Medals

Medals as a form of award and recognition for military service dates back to the time of the Roman Republic (509-27 BC), with this tradition spreading across the world and still being preserved today. Medals are generally awarded for periods of service or completion of campaigns, whilst decorations are reserved for specific achievements. During the First and Second World War, an unprecedented amount of military medals were distributed across Europe - including France - for both service and achievement; many of these are available on the collectors' market today. One of the most recognisable French medals is the Croix de guerre, introduced in 1915 for heroism in combat. The Commemorative war medal was also distributed after 1946 for participation in the Second World War. The most prestigious French military award is the Legion of Honour, which was established by Napoleon in the 19th century.