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: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal - 'The New Mosquito' - a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

One thought 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.

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