The 1917 to 1921 Service Medal (Black and Tan) With Comrac Bar
Some of you have asked what the medal was that I attached to the piece on the murders of Patrick Tierney and Sean O’Carroll.
It is known as The 1917 to 1921 Service Medal. This medal was awarded to those who were deemed to have taken part in the Irish War of Independence on active service.
There were two types of medal with Comrac bar issued, named and un-named. Named medals were issued to those Killed in Action or who had died between the end of the war and the issuing of the medals in 1941. There is no difference in design between named and un-named medals. COMRAC is Gaelic for Struggle. Both Patrick Tierney and Sean O’Carroll were awarded these medals posthumously.
There was another version of this medal without Comrac Bar. It was issued to those who took part in the War of Independence but were not deemed to have engaged in active service. Delia Spillane, Patrick Tierney’s sister, would have gotten one of these as would Patrick’s brother Michael. The official description of recipients of this medal is Medal, without bar to persons whose service is not deemed to be active military service, but who were members of Oglaigh na hEireann (Irish Republican Army), Fianna Eireann, Cumann na mBan or the Irish Citizen Army for the three months ended on the 11th of July 1921.
The design of the medal is described as A circular medal approximately one and three fifth inches in diameter bearing on the obverse the Arm of the Four Provinces of Ireland. In the centre appears a standing figure, facing front, depicting a Volunteer, a member of a guerrilla force – termed “Flying Column” – of the period 1917 – 1922 in typical dress (trench coat and cap with rifle, revolver and bandoleer). The word “EIRE” appears horizontally across the centre of the medal in large letters (two either side of the figure). The words “Cogadh na Saoirse” which are translated “The Fight For Freedom” appear below.