How to Search for WW1 Medals

Written by krista martin
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How to Search for WW1 Medals
War medals can be found by collectors or in museums. (American efficiency honour fidelity war medal image by James Insogna from

World War I medals are awarded to those who served during the First World War. Medal types vary according to task, country, rank and other factors. Locating a WWI medal can be challenging, as many are donated to museums and national archives once the war veteran and his wife have passed on. The best way to track down a war medal is to start with friends and family who may have more details for you to work with.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Collect as much information about the medal as possible, including the date and year it was received, the rank of the recipient, where it was issued and the unit number if possible. Most medals will also bear the full name of the recipient engraved on the back of the medal. Talk to family members or close friends of the medal recipient to find out as many details as possible.

  2. 2

    Find out what the medal was awarded for, if you aren't sure of the date or other details. Many World War I medals are designed differently according to the project or task that was performed. You can go to websites such as Way Back Times or consult your library archives for photos and descriptions of medals that were awarded in World War I (see Resources).

  3. 3

    Consult an Ancestry database to see if you can find more information on the medals, such as Ancestry or Find My Past (see Resources). These websites typically have a lot of information on ancestors who served in both World Wars and can help you track down historical lists, roll calls and war records that may be able to help you track down information you need for the medal. It may also put you in touch with friends or former war buddies that may be able to shed some light on your search.

  4. 4

    Go to forums that are dedicated to collecting and sharing information about war records and archives, such as War Forums (see Resources). You can post the details of the medal you are looking for. If it is in the hands of a collector, you may have some luck in tracking it down.

  5. 5

    Seek out associations dedicated to World War I and artefacts, such as museums, military archives and even WWI associations for veterans, which may have a host of medals. If you are having trouble locating the medal you are looking for, you can use these avenues to meet WWI medal collectors and find out from them where the medal is located. It may be that another museum or collector has the medal.

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