Intriguing Connaught Rangers medals

My thanks go to Tim Mole for bringing this interesting set of medals to my attention. For just $999.99 they can be yours!

Apparently they belonged to Captain Harman John Shanley of the Connaught Rangers who, if the bars on the War Medal are to be believed, was present at Kosturino and later served in the Struma valley and elsewhere besides. Of course, it’s the bars on the War Medal that make it especially interesting as they are completely unofficial. Although bars indicating service in particular battles or campaigns are features of medals for earlier and later wars (e.g. the Crimea and South Africa), the only official bar on a WW1 service medal is that indicating service under fire between 5 August and 11 November on the 1914 (‘Mons’) Star. The Star in the Shanley set is, of course, the 1914-15 Star. A quick Google search identifies Captain Shanley’s medal index card (although I’m too mean to pay the £3.50 to see what it says) and an entry in the London Gazette showing his appointment as a temporary Second Lieutenant on 28 December 1914. As to how he came to earn the US and French WW2 medals looks likely to remain a mystery.

To find out more about WW1 British Service Medals visit these websites:

Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

2 thoughts on “Intriguing Connaught Rangers medals”

  1. Well, the set sold for £1,080 after just three bids – so no frantic ‘bidding war’.

    Julian Rainbow has shared a few details about the intriguing Harman Shanley, having undertaken some online research: “born Athlone, Ireland 04/05/1896, naturalised US Citizen 05/06/1939 in Illinois, the Medal Index Card says that he arrived in Salonika in Sept 1915. Various immigration records to Canada/US at one stage say he is a Catholic Priest. I suspect that he served in the 5th Connaught Rangers as it is the only Battalion which served on three fronts”. Perhaps his service with US forces was as a chaplain.

    Tim Mole has provided more information on bars for the British War Medal. It seems that these were approved by the Admiralty – and may also have been approved by the War Office – but were never issued. I can see why as it would have been an administrative nightmare – and led to some very long medal ribbons -but would make family history research much easier!

    My thanks to both.

  2. My thanks go to SCS member Keith Roberts who has kindly undertaken some more research into the intriguing Harman John Shanley. This confirms that he did serve with 5/Connaught Rangers, as a Second Lieutenant, Lieutenant and Captain. The two medal rolls referenced on his medal index card add nothing except that he is incorrectly named on one as ‘Stanley’. There is an officer’s file for him at Kew (reference WO 339/533) if you want to know more about him, although – as Keith points out – these files vary enormously from substantial to skeletal! It seems that he completed a WW2 draft card in Wisconsin, unless he had a son of the same name which is possible.

    Sadly you can no longer view the medals on eBay as the sale page has been removed.

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