Medal of French Gratitude
|Medal of French Gratitude|
Bronze level (obverse)
|Awarded by France|
|Type||Three grade medal|
|Awarded for||Support to the victims of war|
|Status||No longer awarded|
|Established||13 July 1917|
|Next (higher)||Combatant's Cross|
|Next (lower)||Overseas Medal|
The Medal of French Gratitude (French: "Médaille de la Reconnaissance française") was a French honour medal created on 13 July 1917 and solely awarded to civilians. The medal was created to express gratitude by the French government to all those who, without legal or military obligation, had come to the aid of the injured, disabled, refugees, or who had performed an act of exceptional dedication in the presence of the enemy during the First World War. The creation of this distinction was mainly the result of unsuccessful offensives of General Nivelle in 1917 and the serious crisis of confidence in France. The French government thus wanted to thank those who, despite the crisis, were always volunteering. It has three classes: bronze, silver, and gold. Nearly 15,000 people and communities were recipients of this award. The medal is no longer awarded, the last award was on 14 February 1959.
- Persons who, in the presence of the enemy, have performed acts of exceptional dedication, the duration of these services having spanned one year (Decree of December 2, 1917)
- Deserving communities (whose members were are not allowed to wear the ribbon or individual medal by decree of December 2, 1917);
- Citizens of Alsace and Lorraine who were deported, exiled or imprisoned, before 1 August 1914, by German authorities because of their attachment to France and those in the departments occupied themselves, for their courageous stand while exposed to reprisals (Decree of 1 April 1922);
- Prisoners of war, civilian prisoners, hostages and deportees because of exceptional acts courage and dedication for the allied cause. The inhabitants of occupied areas or Alsace and Lorraine who helped these people (decrees of 29 November 1926 and December 8, 1928).
The first model was a 30 mm in diameter circular bronze, silver or gilded medal depending on the level of the award, the design was by engraver Jules Desbois. The obverse bore charity personified by France supporting a wounded soldier. On the reverse at centre, the relief circular inscription "RECONNAISSANCE FRANCAISE" along the circumference with at centre and a palm leaf on the right.
The second model is a 32 mm in diameter circular bronze, silver or gilded medal depending on the level of the award, the design was by engraver Maurice Delannoy. The obverse bears a woman wearing a Phrygian cap representing France offering a palm. On the reverse, the relief inscription RECONNAISSANCE FRANCAISE around a wreath of roses surrounding an escutcheon bearing the initials "RF".
The medal hung from a 37 mm wide white silk moiré ribbon with tricolour 2 mm wide edge stripes of blue, white and red, the blue being outermost.
Notable recipients (partial list)
- Writer Camille Marbo
- General Marie-Pierre Kœnig
- Politician Raoul Bleuse
- Lawyer Pierre Kédinger
- Politician Charles Ehrmann
- Resistance fighter Albert Kohan
- Herminie de La Brousse de Verteillac, Princesse of Léon
- Doctor Léandre Dupré
- Resistance fighter Charles Fenain
- Marquise Corisande de Gramont
- Doctor Alfred Cerné
- Father Émile Blanchet
- Alexander Manuel Ferguson, Auckland Merchant, Consul for Belgium and President Navy League. New Zealand
- Mr Maurice James Gresson, Christchurch Barrister and solicitor, Deputy Chairman New Zealand Red Cross 1917 to 1918. New Zealand
- David Lawrence Nathan (1920), New Zealand businessman (married to Simone Rene, only daughter of Camille Oulman of Paris). New Zealand
- Henry Valder OBE, recruiting service South East England military district. New Zealand
- Philanthropist Ellen Ridgway United States
- Artist Anna Elizabeth Klumpke United States
- Philanthropist Belle Skinner United States
- Pilot Aline Rhonie Hofheimer United States
- Hunter Scarlett United States
- War correspondent Helen Kirkpatrick United States
- Diplomat Lucile Atcherson Curtis United States
- Norman Holmes Pearson United States
- Nurse Ethel Gray Australia
- Prince Boun Oum Laos
- Nurse Barbara Borsinger Switzerland
- Marquesa del Ter Spain
- Lotta Hitschmanova Canada
- Marie Galway United Kingdom
- Alan Burns, 4th Baron Inverclyde United Kingdom
- Vere Ponsonby, 9th Earl of Bessborough United Kingdom
- Louise Mountbatten Sweden
The Medal of French Gratitude was awarded to six French and eight foreign cities.
- Schaffhausen (1919), Basel, Geneva and Lausanne (1921), Montreux (1953). Switzerland
- Mons (1920). Belgium
- Luxembourg (1921). Luxembourg
- Narvik (1954). Norway
- World War I
- German occupation of north-east France during World War I
- Ribbons of the French military and civil awards
- Champenois, Marc (January 2004). "Médaille de la Reconnaissance française". France Phaleristique (in French). Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Décorations". Comité d'Entente d'Associations de Combattants de l' Hérault (in French). 2005. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- Scholefield, G.H., Who's Who in New Zealand and the Western Pacific(3rd ed.), Wellington: The Rangatira Press, 1931.
- International Press Service Association (N.Z.), International Press Who's Who N.Z. 1936, Auckland, International Press Service Association (N.Z.), 1936, p.278.
- Scholefield, G.H., Who's Who in New Zealand (5th Ed.), Wellington, A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1951, p.238