Medal of Honour for Acts of Devotion and Life Saving, Interior, Gilt Medal (1910-)
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The Medal of Honour for Acts of Devotion and Life Saving is among the longest conferred awards in French history, and it has undergone many changes in design and grades since its inception.
Life saving medals were awarded under Louis XIV and Louis XVI, however the first official decoration was not established until March 2, 1820. The instructions of September 18, 1956 and April 14, 1970 outline the current form of the award.
It is awarded for acts of courage during a rescue, and may be bestowed to individuals and whole units. Any person who risks his or her life to come to the rescue of one or many persons in danger, may be recognized with the medal.
The Medal of Honour for Acts of Devotion and Life Saving is classified into three types according the division that bestowed it. Type I Medals were awarded by the Ministry of the Navy; Type II Medals were awarded by the Merchant Marine; and Type III Medals were awarded by the Ministry of the Interior.
In Type III (Interior), the Medals was first instituted in 1833, when it was awarded by the Ministry of the Interior.
Type III Medals were awarded by the Ministry of the Interior during the July Monarchy. They were non-wearable, but may have been rendered wearable with a white ribbon. The official decree permitting the Ministry of the interior to award a life saving medal was published in 1833, but there are examples which bear the name of the ministry with earlier dates.
Type III Medals (Interior) are classified into three types; Type I (1820-1848) includes the first two grades, Type II (1848-1870) includes four grades Medals, and Type III includes the grades since 1870.
Type III Medals were awarded by the Ministry of the Interior during the Third Republic. The bronze grade was introduced in 1897.
There are two versions of the Type V Medal which differ in engraving. The first version has an obverse inscription that translates to “Devotion,” and a reverse inscription that translates to “French Republic, Ministry of the Interior.” The second version has an obverse inscription that translates to “French Republic,” and a reverse inscription that translates to “Ministry of the Interior, Acts of Devotion.”
The first version has a gilt suspension on the I Class Silver Medal, while the second version has a palm suspension on the I Class Silver Medal.
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