Croix de Guerre (Belgium) 1914-18

Croix de Guerre (Belgium) 1914-1918, awarded to Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Cunningham of Hyndhope, KT, GCB, OM, DSO.

Andrew Brown Cunningham was born January 7 1883 and entered the Navy as a Cadet aboard HMS ‘Britannia’ in 1897. He first went to sea shortly before his promotion to Midshipman and soon afterwards sailed for the Cape of Good Hope and West Africa Station. In September 1902 he began his long association with destroyers and in 1908 received his first command. He spent the whole of World War I in command of the destroyer HMS ‘Scorpion’ serving mainly in the Mediterranean and at Gallipoli.

After the war, on his promotion to Captain, Cunningham went on to command the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in 1922 and was later appointed Flag Captain to the Commander-in-Chief, America and West Indies Station. He was promoted to Acting Admiral on 9 May 1939 and made Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean. In November 1940, he launched an attack by the Fleet Air Arm against heavy units of the Italian fleet lying in Taranto harbour. Cunningham was confirmed in his new rank the following January and two months later again attacked the Italians at Cape Matapan off the south coats of Greece where again he was conspicuously successful.

After promotion to Admiral of the Fleet in 1943, he spent the remainder of the war as a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He was created CB in 1934, KCB in 1939 and GCB in 1941. He was made Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope in 1946 and Baron Cunningham of Kirkhope in 1950. Admiral Cunningham died in 1963.

The medal is in the form of a bronze Maltese cross with ball finials and crossed swords between the arms. The obverse has a medallion in which is the lion of Belgium rampant. On the reverse is the Royal monogram ‘A’ for Albert. The cross is surmounted by an open crown and a ring for suspension. The ribbon is red with a green stripe near each edge and three down the centre.

It is mounted on a bar with nineteen other medals awarded to Admiral Cunningham and held by the Museum: DSO with two bars (MED2647), Queen South Africa Medal with bars ‘Cape Colony’, ‘Orange Free State’, ‘Diamond Hill’, ‘Belfast’ (MED2648), 1914-15 Star (MED2649), British War Medal (MED2650), Victory Medal (MED2651), 1939-45 Star (MED2652), Africa Star (MED2653), Italy Star (MED2654), Defence Medal (MED2655), War Medal with bronze oak leaf (MED2656), George V Coronation Medal (MED2657), George V Jubilee (MED2658), George VI Coronation Medal (MED2659), Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (MED2660), Military Medal, Greece (MED2662), DSM, US Navy (MED2664), Campaign Medal USA (MED2665), Medaille Militaire, France (MED2666) and Croix de Guerre, France (MED2667). The Museum also holds Admiral Cunningham’s decorations.

Object Details

ID: MED2661
Collection: Coins and medals
Type: Gallantry award
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: World War I, 1914-1918
Date made: 1915
People: Cunningham, Andrew Browne
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: x x x 42 mm

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