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Médaille Commémorative d'Orient: CM.1409-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: Paris
State: France
Artist: Lemaire, Georges
Mint: Colmar, Paris




After the failure of the Allies in the Great War of 1914-18 to take control of the Straits of Marmora in the disastrous Gallipolli campaign, French troops in the theatre were withdrawn to Thessalonika to form a new Armée d'Orient facing Austro-Hungarian inroads into Serbia.
The campaign they fought there was nearly as hard as that they had left, and conditions similarly difficult. The French troops, sometimes aided by British divisions, were unable to prevent the Serbian army being effectively demolished by the Central Powers, and only in September 1918 was Austro-Hungarian control of the Balkans substantively challenged.
A medal for service in the Dardanelles and in the subsequent Balkan campaigns was first suggested in 1917 but rejected, and only after other medals had been issued for the main theatres of war was its creation finally approved, in 1926.
This medal was issued unnamed, and its recipient is therefore unknown. Whoever it was must have been unfortunately impoverished, as Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealers Baldwin in 1927, less than a year after its issue.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt Baldwin 1927

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 29.7 mm
Weight: 18.67 g

Place(s) associated

  • Colmar

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


Production date: AD 1926

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Marianne in wreathed helmet facing left

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Crossed artillery piece and axe before two standards, nearer of which bears legend "HONNEUR / PATRIE / 1915 / 1918"; artist's name in left of field in tiny lettering, "R. F." in right

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1409-2009
Primary reference Number: 141503
Watson Catalogue: 319
Ordering: M-0292
Previous object number: LW.0292
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Tuesday 13 June 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Médaille Commémorative d'Orient" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-10 08:32:27

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{{cite web|url= |title=Médaille Commémorative d'Orient |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-12-10 08:32:27|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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