British War Medal 1914-1920 awarded to Surg. Gen. Richard Herbert Joseph Fetherston, A.I.F.
"The British War Medal 1914-1920, authorised in 1919, was awarded to eligible service personnel and civilians alike. Qualification for the award varied slightly according to service. The basic requirement for army personnel and civilians was that they either entered a theatre of war, or rendered approved service overseas between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Service in Russia in 1919 and 1920 also qualified for the award."
Dr. Richard Herbert Fetherston had previously served as a Captain with the Victorian Militia when he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force in August 1914. He was officially ‘taken up’ on August 15, 1914 as the Director-General of Medical Services (DGMS). He was gazetted as a Colonel in 1915 and as Surgeon-General in 1916.
Although he had enlisted for active service, Richard was based in Melbourne throughout the war having been deemed ‘indispensable’ to Australia. Despite this, Richard was sent on two inspection tours of the Australian Army Medical Corps overseas and was responsible for the reorganisation of the corps.
Richard is commended in the Official History for his abilities and devotion to duty. Richard retired from military service in 1919.
According to the terms of his will, Richard's medals (and those of his father) were left to his two sons - Gerald and Herbert Fetherston. They were later donated to the National Gallery of Victoria and subsequently transferred into Museum Victoria's collection.
Bare head of King George V facing left; text around, 'GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:'; the artist's initials 'B.M.' (Bertram MacKennal) are on the neck truncation.
Naked figure of St. George on horseback advancing right trampling a shield bearing an eagle design and a skull and crossbone. Above, the sun; in the background, the ocean; text around, '1914 1918'.
Text; 'SURG. GEN. R.H.J. FETHERSTON. A.I.F.'.
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 15/3/1976
Obverse; 'GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:'. 'B.M.' (Bertram MacKennal - artist). Reverse; '1914 1918'. Edge; 'SURG. GEN. R.H.J. FETHERSTON. A.I.F.'.
Type of item
Round with mount and ribbon
References: National Archives of Australia website: [Link 1] National Archives UK website: [Link 2] Ancestry.com Australian Dictionary of Biography Butler, A.G., Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services, 1914–1918 Fetherston Family Papers held at the State Library of Victoria (MS 9865) National Archives of Australia Public Records Office of Victoria: Will, Richard Fetherston - VPRS 7591; 346/451
[Book] Joslin, E C., et al. 1988. British Battles and Medals., 228 - 9 Pages