Arthur R. Nicholls looks back at some of the medals presented to local people over the years.

"Lest We Forget". Public memory is transient and, unless an event was personal and traumatic, we soon put it into the back of our mind, writes ARTHUR R. NICHOLLS.

So it is important that we remember the horrific slaughter of young men in The Great War, the war that was headlined as 'the war to end all wars'.

If only it had been.

Armistice Day in November is an opportunity to exercise remembrance, for the remaining few who survived the war and those who served in wars since to proudly display their medals.

Of those medals awarded after the Great War, the three known colloquially as 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred' are those most seen.

Named after characters in a popular cartoon strip in a daily newspaper, probably The Daily Mirror, they consisted of the 1914 (or 15) Star, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal.

They were awarded to those who served in active operations in the armed forces between 1914 and 1918 and, except on the star, the recipient's name was engraved on the edge.

The 1914 Star was made of bronze and given as a reward to those who served in France and Flanders at the beginning of the war and marked what was, possibly, the worst massacre in the whole campaign at places like the Somme. The 1915 Star was given to those who served from 1915.

The British War Medal was silver and was the general medal awarded to all those men, and women too, who served in the war.

It had the head of the King on the obverse and a naked horseman trampling down the shields of the Central Powers on the reverse.

The Victory medal commemorated the end of the war and was awarded to those who received the other two medals and was not given on its own. It bore a figure of Victory on the obverse and 'The Great War for Civilisation 1914-18' on the reverse.

These two medals were a disappointment and generally considered cheap and tawdry.

The War Medal was only silver in colour and the Victory Medal was made of an alloy coated with a thin film of gold paint. They were known as Mutt and Jeff, two other cartoon characters.

Children in Kendal were given medals but not connected with war.

In Victorian times they were awarded for regular attendance. The school's grant depended on the number and attendance of pupils.

They were distributed on special occasions such as the 300th anniversary of the granting of the town's charter by Queen Elizabeth in 1575.

To celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, the schoolchildren all gathered in the Market Square carrying a flag or banner and were marched through the Market Hall, where a Jubilee Medal was hung round their necks and they joined a procession round the town.