During 35 years service as a member of the Australian Army, which focused principally on ceremonial roles and activities, the requirement to wear medals in the course of daily tasking occurred often. Consequently this allowed for extensive research and development that has resulted in the most sustainable and effective method of medal mounting and in particular court mounting.
Prior to deciding on who will mount your medals and/or supply you with replica medals based purely on price alone, it is suggested you read the following tips to assist you when dealing with medal mounting firms in order to get the best possible result. For current serving members of the Australian Defence Force it is imperative that your medals are court mounted in accordance with the directives laid down in individual Service dress manuals. Currently the court mount method is the directed method of medal mounting for the Australian Defence Force.
Service awards, awarded to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force directly reflects a member’s service to the nation. For that reason these awards should be mounted in such a way as to honour the contribution and sacrifice our troops have made.
It is therefore the responsibility of those charged with mounting these awards to provide the member with superior quality materials, precision focused workmanship and a respectful passion for their service that will ensure a quality outcome. The slap happy attitude of ‘she’ll be right mate’ when it comes to preserving our country’s military heritage is simply unacceptable when mounting Service awards, but unfortunately this is often the reality.
· Ensure that glue or silicone based products are not used to affix court mounted medals to the backing board. This method has often resulted in damage occurring especially when disassembling medals to allow for additional awards to be included in medal groups. The use of these products may accelerate the oxidisation process of original medals. For members of the Australian Army it should be noted that amendments to Army Standing Orders for Dress, dated 01 July 2012, direct that adhesive products are not to be used to secure medals to the backing board.
· Ensure cardboard is not used as a backing board for your court mounted medal group. This type of backing is fragile and becomes quickly unsustainable especially after becoming wet during inclement weather while being involved in outdoor ceremonial activities. Insist on an acrylic (2mm perspex) backing board which is the most effective material that can be used for this purpose. It is more difficult and time consuming for the medal mounter to work with acrylic therefore cardboard is utilised as a quick and easy alternative.
· Ensure appropriate fastening systems are used to accurately and safely fix your medals to uniforms and garments. Do not accept the use of the ‘basic notice board drawing pin’ for this purpose as they are not specifically designed to support and lock clutch grips into place. They will not hold the clutch grip if any pressure is applied and will ultimately fall from your uniform. This has been extremely evident during ANZAC Day parades, particularly in Brisbane City, where many sets of medals have been collected off roadways and spectators after troops have marched past. Inspection of medal groups collected reveal the main cause of failure is attributed directly to the use of drawing pins as the fastening device.
· To ensure your medals are securely fastened to your uniform or garment, insist on the use of acrylic and stainless steel pins (commonly referred to as T-tacs) which are specifically designed and manufactured to lock and secure the clutch grip. This method also provides accurate positioning of medals on uniforms and civilian attire reducing wear and tear to garments.
· The use of the long broche type pin is also susceptible to failure and insecure fitting. Vigilance needs to be observed if this system is utilised in an uncontrolled or outdoor environment.
· After deciding which firm will undertake your medal work ensure when picking up your medals that they have been mounted in accordance with the correct order of precedence; that the obverse (the front) is facing out, the correct ribbons are used and all medals are suspended at the correct length (full size medals 95mm and miniature medals 50mm). At this point it should be noted that recent amendments to Army Standing Orders for Dress give clear direction as to the maximum widths allowable for full size medal groups. These widths have been amended to better address larger medal groups commonly being awarded to members of the Australian Defence Force in recent times. Maximum widths of full size medal groups are as follows:
o 5 medals; are to be mounted side by side,
o 6 medals; medal ribbon is to be overlapped and the width of the medal group is not to exceed 165mm,
o 7 medals; medal ribbon is to be overlapped and the width of the medal group is not to exceed 170mm,
o 8 medals; medal ribbon is to be overlapped and the width of the medal group is not to exceed 180mm,
o 9 medals; medal ribbon is to be overlapped and the width of the medal group is not to exceed 190mm, and
o 10 medals or more; medal ribbon is to be overlapped and the width is not to exceed 200 mm.