The first medal in this group of 3 is the General Service medal 1919-21
This medal was awarded to all those who could prove that they took part in the Irish War of Independence. This medal is also known as the Black & Tan Medal, or the War of Independence medal.
On 21st January 1941, the Irish Government announced the creation of a medal for those who tool part in the War of Independence. It was issued without ‘Comrac’ bar to those who were not deemed to have been on active service during the War of Independence, but who were members of the old-Irish Republican Army, the Irish Citizens Army, Fianna Eireann and the Cumann na mBan, which was the women’s branch of the Old-IRA.
Men with actual active and armed service such as the famous flying column’s were issued with this medal with the additional ‘Comrac’ bar. This example has the ‘Comrac’ bar and this signifies that the recipient was an armed member of the IRA during this period.
Only 15,224 medals were issued with the ‘comrac’ bar
and another 47,644 without bar have been issued up to 1989.
The second medal in the group is the 1921-71 Survivors’ Medal.
To mark the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, the Irish Government introduced a medal for issue to surviving veterans of the War of Independence – men and women who already held the 1919-1921 medal with or without ‘Comrac’ bar. This commemorative medal is gilt coloured bronze in the same general design as the 1919-1921 medal, but slighty smaller in size. This medal is officially known as ‘The Truce Commemorative Medal 1971′
The third medal of the group is the scarcest of the group – the Na Fianna Eireann medal.
One sold last year at Mealy’s Auction for €1,500, plus buyers premium, plus VAT on the premium. This was not part of a group, and was not assignated to any particular recipient.
The Fianna were founded on the 16th of August 1909 and on the 16th of August 1959 this medal was issued to commemorate their 50th anniversary. The medal was issued by Na Fianna to mark the anniversary and has no connection with either the 1916 Rising or The War of Independence. It was issued to (or bought) by serving or ex-Fianna members. Some medals may have been issued to ex-Fianna members who served in the Rising or War of Independence and this seems to be the case in this instance.
Fianna Éireann, organized as a youth hurling league, for boys and girls, existed in West Belfast 1903 (according to the witness statement of Bulmer Hobson to the Bureau of Military History 1948). Bulmer Hobson was a member of the I.R.B. and he relocated to Rathfarnham, Co Dublin when the organization collapsed in Belfast.
In Dublin, Hobson became acquainted with Constance Markiewicz, Helena Moloney and others, who were all members of the newly founded Sinn Féin. They were members of the Drumcondra branch. It is unclear as to whether it was Markiewicz or Hobson who first had the idea of setting up a Republican Youth Movement in Dublin.
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