Military Medals

This section includes all medals created by the Regulations of the Military Medal of 1863, with 3 classes – Military Valour, Good Services (later called Distinguished Services) and Good Behaviour – and all its successors namely, under the Republic, as well as all others created without a clear commemorative nature.

Indeed, apart from the Military Medal other decorations were created to fill in gaps in the rewarding of Army personnel, showing braveness or demonstrating special merits in a given action or, finally, who showed long term service with good and exemplary conduct.

A good example of this was the creation of a medal to reward acts of bravery in battle, done in 1916, during the Great War, by the Republican Government – the Medal of the War Cross.

In this group we thus also include the so-called Medal for Overseas Services created in 1893, and after 1916, called Medal for Good Services Overseas which is really a generic name given to several decorations.

The Military Medal was reviewed by the Regulations of 1946, adding a new decoration called the Medal for Military Merit which adopted the same classes and type of insignia of the orders of merit. The Grand Cross class can only be conferred by the President of the Republic and thus, in foreign circles, is often referred, erroneously though, as the “Order of Military Merit”.

A new medal was created for the Navy, in 1969, rewarding personal qualities revealed in actions in naval life – the Naval Medal of Vasco da Gama, still awarded today.

Later, and on behalf of the three Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces decorations were created to be awarded within each branch of the Armed Forces, with four classes: Medal of D. Afonso Henriques – Patron of the Army; The Naval Cross and the Medal for Aeronautical Merit.

For the General-Chief- of-Staff of the Armed Forces a new medal – The Cross of St. George, was also created, together with the Medal for National Defence, awarded by the Minister of Defence.

The War Cross

War Cross, 3th class, 1917 Reverse

Military Valour Medal 1863

Medal for Military Valour, silver, 1863  Reverse
Medal for Good Services, gold, 1863 Reverse
Medal for Good Behaviour, silver,  1863 Reverse

 Military Medal – 1921

Meadl for Military Valour with palm “C”, silver, 1921  Reverse
Medal for Good Services with palm, silver, 1921 Reverse
Medal for Good Behaviour, gold, 1921 Reverse

by Paulo Jorge Estrela