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Queen Elisabeth Medal
Queen Elisabeth Medal obverse.jpg
Queen Elisabeth Medal (obverse)
Awarded by Flag of Belgium.svg Kingdom of Belgium
Type Wartime humanitarian award
Eligibility Belgian citizens and foreign nationals
Awarded for Humanitarian and medical care to belgian victims of the First World War
Status No longer awarded
Established 15 September 1915
Queen Elisabeth Medal revers.jpg
Reverse of the medal

The Queen Elisabeth Medal (Dutch language: Koningin Elisabeth Medaille , French language: Médaille de la reine Élisabeth) was a Belgian decoration created by royal decree on 15 September 1915[1] to recognise exceptional services to Belgium in the relief of the suffering of its citizens during the First World War. Its statute was ratified on 14 May 1919.[2] It was awarded to people who, like Queen Elisabeth herself, had worked and cared for the suffering victims of war for a year or more prior to 10 September 1919. Although not limited to medical care of the sick and wounded, recipients who earned the medal by working in hospitals received a variant with a red enamelled cross in the suspension wreath. Conversely, a great many Belgian and foreign doctors and nurses received the medal.

Award description[]

The Queen Elisabeth Medal was a 36mm in diameter circular medal with four sections inset by 1mm slightly giving it the outline of a cross. The basic variant was struck in bronze but many recipients opted for silver or gilt silver variants. The medal had a slightly raised edge on both sides. Its obverse bore the relief right profile bust of Queen Elisabeth with the circular relief inscription "ÉLISABETH REINE DES BELGES" translating into "ELISABETH QUEEN OF THE BELGIANS". At the very top, a laurel wreath with a hollow center served as the base for the suspension loop. Awards made to medical personnel incorporated a red enamelled cross within the wreath.[2] The reverse bore the relief image of a nurse sitting and holding an oil lamp with the circular inscription in Latin "PRO PATRIA HONORE ET CARITATE" translating into "FOR THE COUNTRY HONOUR AND CHARITY". At the very bottom, the years "1914 - 1916".[1]

The medal was suspended by a ring through a suspension loop from a 38mm wide silk moiré ribbon with 6mm wide pink edge stripes.[1]

Recipients (partial list)[]

  • Mrs Jeanne Corbes[3]
  • The Times Newspaper published news of awards to the National Belgian Relief Committee in London on 28 June 1918.
  • Awards were also made to regional committees in the UK including 5 members of the Belgian Relief Committee in Preston, Lancashire: Mrs Jamieson, Mrs Firth, Mrs Fitzherbert-Brockholes, Mrs Hayhurst and the Reverend Mother Superior of St Joseph's Orphanage and Hospital, Theatre Street, Preston. The medal awarded to Mrs Hayhurst is now in the collection of the Harris Museum.[4]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Royal Decree of 15 September 1915 creating the Queen Elisabeth Medal". Belgian government. 1915-09-15. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Royal decree of 14 May 1919 ratifying the statute of the Queen Elisabth Medal". Belgian government. 1919-05-19. 
  3. "Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth" (in French). Pierre-Yves Raynier. 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  4. The Preston Guardian Newspaper, 28 June 1918 cited in Preston During the Great World War, 1914-1918, bound index in the Harris Community History Library, Preston shelf number LF2PRE

Other sources[]

  • Quinot H., 1950, Recueil illustré des décorations belges et congolaises, 4e Edition. (Hasselt)
  • Cornet R., 1982, Recueil des dispositions légales et réglementaires régissant les ordres nationaux belges. 2e Ed., (Brussels)
  • Borné A.C., 1985, Distinctions honorifiques de la Belgique, 1830-1985 (Brussels)

External links[]

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