France – St Helena Medal – The Saint Helena Medal was the first French campaign medal. It was established in 1857 by a decree of emperor Napoleon III to recognise participation in the campaigns led by emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I.
Emperor Napoleon I, creator of the Legion D’ Honor and various other orders, never instituted commemorative campaign medals for his soldiers. In time, many veterans of these campaigns, sometimes called the “débris de la Grande Armée” (“remnants of the Great Army”), began meeting within various new veterans’ associations. Keeping alive their war memories and the myth of Napoleon in popular culture, they issued many unofficial commemorative and associative medals.
It would be forty-two years after the last battles and exile of the emperor to the island of the island of St Helena before the need to adequately and officially recognise the service of these combat veterans was eventually recognised officially by an imperial decree of Emperor Napoleon III creating, on 12 August 1857, the Saint Helena Medal.
Unnamed as issued toned.