Médaille Commémorative des Campagnes d'Afrique 1914-1916, 1917 (silver)Image["Belgian African Campaigns 1914-16 Medal, 1917 (silver)"]
Obverse, a lion guardant with forepaws on a rock against the background of a mountain passImage["Belgian African Campaigns 1914-16 Medal, 1917 (silver)"]
Reverse, inscription divided by plant ornament
Médaille Commémorative des Campagnes d'Afrique 1914-1916, 1917 (silver)
The Great War of 1914-18 was not confined to the trenches of France. In particular, numerous overseas campaigns were pursued against German colonies in Africa and the Far East. From the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) attacks were mounted on German East Africa (now Rwanda, Burundi and part of Tanzania) and Cameroon (now split between Nigeria and modern-day Cameroon), as well as fighting in the British possessions of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and on the frontiers of the Congo itself.
This medal was issued to participants in any of the Belgian state's campaigns in Africa during the Great War. Two issues were made, one in 1917 covering campaigns as far as 1916, and a later in 1918 which included the 1917 battles. A final bar was added in 1931.
The medal was issued in silver for European recipients, and bronze for Africans. This example, which is unnamed, is from the first issue and though in silvered bronze was probably awarded to a European. It is however unnamed, and the recipient cannot be identified. Lester Watson purchased the medal from the London dealer Baldwin in 1927.