Rare Clare Medals in National Exhibition

Clare Champion, Friday, October 13, 2006

Two rare medals that were part of Clare Museum’s collection have gone on display in a major new military exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.

A Red Cross gold medal and a Royal Hibernian military academy medal, both with Clare connections, have been included in the exhibition Soldiers & Chiefs: The Irish at War at Home and Abroad, 1550-2001. The exhibition was officially opened on Thursday last by the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, Mr. John O’Donoghue.

The Red Cross gold medal was awarded to the late Josephine Canny at the end of World War II for her bravery in protecting allied prisoners of war from a German Gestapo officer. It is the first and only Gold Red Cross medals ever awarded to an Irish person. The medal is accompanied by a short letter from King George V, on headed paper from Buckingham Palace, congratulating Nurse Canny on her award.

The Royal Hibernian Military School medal was donated to Clare County Library more than twenty years ago and was transferred to Clare Museum when it opened in 2000. According to the inscription, the medal was presented by a Colonel R.H. Car-Ellison to a T. McMahon. While McMahon is a surname associated with the Banner county, the individual who received the medal is unknown.

“Clare Museum is delighted to be able to provide these medals with exposure on a national level” the museum curator, John Rattigan said. “They will be a small part of a major national exhibition which will even include objects as large as planes and armoured vehicles from the defence forces”.

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