TUNISIA

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MEDALS

The Military Medal: instituted by King Muhammad al-Amin on 8th September 1955 as the supreme award for exceptional acts of valour, gallantry and brave conduct by both individuals and military units of the military and national police forces in the defence of the country, the attainment of national independence and the territorial integrity of the nation. The decoration could also be awarded for exceptional leadership by general officers in supreme command of military forces. Awarded in one class only. Retained by the Republic in 1957 and subsequently modified.

The Military Medal.

The Medal for the 1864 Expedition Against Ben Gdahoum: instituted by Muhammad as-Sadiq Pasha-Bey in 1866 to recognise the services of those who took part in the military expedition to suppress the tribal uprising led by ‘Ali Ben Gdahoum culminating in his defeat at the Battle of Sousse on 7th October 1864 and his eventual capture and imprisonment at Tunis 27th April 1865. Awarded in two classes, a circular medal in gold (officers and high dignitaries) and silver (other ranks). Copyright©Christopher Buyers
      

The Medals for the Expeditions Against Ben Gdahoum (L) and Adil Bey (R).

The Medal for the 1867 Expedition Against Adil Bey: instituted by Muhammad as-Sadiq Pasha-Bey in 1868to recognise the services of those who took part in the military expedition led by the Bey al-Mahalla and General H.E. Ahmad Zaroou to Kabylie in order to suppress the rebellion headed by Prince Sidi Muhammad al-Adil Bey in 1865-1867. Awarded in two classes, an oval medal in gold (officers) and silver (other ranks). The medal was worn by all subsequent Beys of Tunis after their installations. Soon after his accession on 27th October 1882, Ali Pasha Bey ordered the re-issue of the medal with his own cipher on the reverse. Although not intended as a new decoration, the 1881 version was issued left unrecognised by the previous ruler and sometimes bestowed on recipients of the 1867 version to recognise service at a different action. For example, someone who may have received the 1867 medal in silver for service in the Mahalla of Testour, received the 1881 version in gold for Kroumir or vice versa.

Courtesy of Emmanuel Halleux   Courtesy of Emmanuel Halleux   Courtesy of Emmanuel Halleux

The Tunisian Police Medal (L), The Tunisian Customs Service Medal (C) and The Communal Medal of Tunisia (R).

The Tunisian Police Medal: instituted by the French colonial authorities in conjunction with Muhammad al-Habib Pasha-Bey in 1927 to reward long and meritorious service by members of the protectorate police. Awarded in a single class, a circular silver medal.

The Tunisian Customs Service Medal: instituted by the French colonial authorities in conjunction with Muhammad al-Habib Pasha-Bey to reward long and meritorious service by members of the protectorate customs service. Awarded in a single class, a circular silver medal.

The Tunsian Prisons Service Medal: instituted by the French colonial authorities in conjunction with Muhammad al-Habib Pasha-Bey to reward long and meritorious service by members of the protectorate prisons service. Awarded in a single class, a circular silver medal.

The Communal Medal of Tunisia: instituted by the French colonial authorities in conjunction with Muhammad al-Habib Pasha-Bey to reward long and meritorious service by employees of the municipalities of Tunis and other towns within the protectorate. Awarded in a single class, a circular silver medal.
 
Note: the Turkish Sultan awarded his Crimea Medal to the reigning Bey, senior Tunisian officials and members of the Tunisian expeditionary force who served in the Crimean War. Every succeeding Bey was invested at his accession ceremony with this original medal as part of his regalia and wore the medal alongside all his other decorations. Included amongst these, the medals for the expeditions against Ben Gdahoum (1864) and Adil Bey (1867 and 1881), and the original superior class insignia of the Ahmad Pasha’s Nishan al-Iftikhar. The same applied to the original Imperial insignia of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour presented by Napoléon III to Muhammad as-Sadiq Pasha and worn by every succeeding ruler, well into the era of the French Republic right down to 1956. This curious practice of “hereditary insignia” confused several experts into assuming the existence of a separate Tunisian Crimea medal. No such medal was ever instituted.
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