The British War Medal and Victory Medal, the pair of First World War campaign medals colloquially known as the "Mutt and Jeff", can only be rightfully worn by two living individuals now: a 109 year-old Canadian by the name of John Babcock, and 108 year-old British Australian navy veteran Claude Choules. In total, some 6,500,000 medals were awarded to British, Imperial and Allied Forces who served in the Great War.
A great uncle of mine who fought with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles at Vimy, Passchendaele and Amiens, and who was killed on August 10, 1918, earned his Mutt and Jeff. Unfortunately his medals melted when the family house burned down in the 1950s. In the 1990s I appealed to the Canadian government for replacement medals, but was turned down due to the fact that I was not considered "immediate family". The mother and father had died in the 1920s and his sister, my grandmother, died in 1981. It appeared I was out of luck until I discovered that immediate family could also be interpreted as a direct nephew or niece, one of which, though in his 90s, was still very much alive! And so I applied again in the name of my uncle, and was duly granted on his behalf, the old Mutt and Jeff.
In memory of Private James Ramsay McNeil, a soldier of the Great War.