Medals Awarded 1916-1921.
The Easter Rising was limited to armed activities in Dublin City by elements of the Dublin Brigade Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, Fianna Eireann, the Hibernian Rifles and Cumann na mBan. There was also recognised military activity by the Wexford Brigade, the Galway Brigade, the Dundalk Battalion of the Louth Brigade and individual actions by Volunteers throughout 23 counties. The number of veterans in a position to prove that they were engaged in "active service" - and thus qualifying upon application for the award of pensions and the 1916 Medal - is recognised at 2,594 by the Department of Defence.
Applications for the award of The Service (1917-1921) Medal, from its institution in May 1942, has generated great interaction between veterans, their dependants and members of the public and the Department of Defence. The resultant "medal series" or MD series consists of files relating to 47,544 individual applications and 18,620 associated files, to a grand total of 66,174 files.
In addition, close to 14,000 other applications for the service medal were processed and issued on unsuccessful pension application files.This was a solution operated by the Department towards meeting the very great demand for the medal. These 14,000 applicants files are scheduled for release over the coming years. They are closed to public access at this time.
THE MEDALS (1916-1921)
There are four medals issued by the Department of Defence which are of relevance to the revolutionary period commencing in April 1916 and ending on the 11 July 1921.
The 1916 Medal
The Service (1917-1921) Medal
The 1916 Survivors’ and the Truce (1921) Commemoration Medals were posted out to veterans automatically therefore no application was needed. The MD database thus only refers to applicants lodging claims for the 1916 Medal and the Service (1917-1921) Medal.
Impact of Legislation
Certain changes in the legislation relating to the Army Pensions Acts had a profound impact on the numbers applying for service pensions and/or the service medal. The first such change occured under Section 14 of the Act, 1946 which extended the scope of special allowances, already provided for in the case of 1916 Medal holders, to include persons who were the holders of duly awarded medals in respect of membership of the listed organisations during the three months ended 11 July 1921.
Read about the legislation and how it extended the scope of Special Allowances.
Verifying Applications, unsustainable claims and Duly Awarded medals
- A standard form of application was used, in which the applicant was required to state their unit and sub-unit (Battalion and Company) and name their former Brigade, Battalion and Company Officers Commanding.The form was issued on request and administered by Finance Branch of the Department from 1943 onwards.
- The system was not robust or secure in all cases. Evidence emerged from various sources in 1949/50 of claims that were not sustainable or accurate but on which a medal had been issued, and in some cases the payment of a special allowance had been authorised. Following investigation by the Department additional measures were put in place.
Special Allowances files: A family and social history source
An applicant’s file dealing with a special allowance will provide details of marital status, dependants with their age and status, certificates of marriage, death, births, medical reports, total income and sources, land holdings where applicable, stock and fowl, and acreage/ground under crops, by type.
Want to go further?
To research the medals further, a number of departmental files are recommended. They contain correspondence, memoranda, recommendations, government decisions, administration matters and other details relating to medals and their award.
DOD/2/47823 Medals and Decorations award of, to persons who rendered service during Anglo-Irish conflict.
DOD/2/75446 Medals and Decorations-Conditions Governing the Issue of Service Medals. Pre-Truce
DOD/2013/7 Medals for Engraving 1947-1994
DOD/3/19107 Medals. Proposed issue of Certificates
DOD/3/49596 Medals: 1916 Survivors Medals-Applications for
DOD/3/61573 Medals: Commemoration of Anglo-Irish Truce-Medals for Survivors of War of Independence.
DOD/3/12612 Medals: General Enquiries re description and make of Medals and Decorations issued. Parts 1 and 2.
DOD/2012/6 P.A.W. Posthumous awards 1916-Index to Medals awarded and issued.
DOD/3/48352 Certificates 50th Anniversary of 1916 Rising-Issue of Certificates for Decorations to Pre-Truce Medal Holders.
DOD/2012/4 Holders of the 1916 Medal who are not in receipt of pensions.
DOD/2/76759 Unemployed 1916 men. Examination by Finance and Defence of question of additional provisions for aged and infirm Pensioners
DOD/3/13653 Allowances: Extension of the Provision of Special allowances to the Widows and Children of deceased IRA Pensioners.
Department of Defence file DOD 2/62321-1916 Medal - is recorded in 1993 as having been "Destroyed". Surviving copy material can be seen at the National Archives of Ireland (Taoiseach's Department file; reference: S11409).