23 April 2024

Unique way to mount medals, military memorabilia for generations to come

| Katrina Condie
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Craig Johnston holding framed medals

Retired Australian Army Lieutenant Colonel Craig Johnston holds a medal frame showcasing his father Ivan Johnson beside the medal frame commemorating his father-in-law, Robert “Jock” Richardson. Photo: BrandNet.

With Anzac Day approaching, it’s time for defence personnel, veterans and their family members to polish those military medals and prepare to wear them with pride.

But, what do you do with the medals on regular days? Are they on display in the lounge room, locked in a safe or tucked away in the bottom of a drawer?

Decorated Australian Army Lieutenant Colonel Craig Johnston has discovered a unique way to display his medals and military memorabilia, as well as the medals of his father and father-in-law, while also protecting them for future generations.

He was one of the first Canberra vets to have his medals, badges, citations and photos replicated and mounted in a custom-made frame by The Military Shop and said he was “thrilled” with the result.

“The idea that people can capture their family history like this is what really excites me about it,” Lt Col Johnston said.

“My own set of medals encompasses trips all around the world – with both the Army and Foreign Affairs – over 44 years and 25-odd deployments, so the collection is reasonably unique.

“I’ve previously looked at other ways to display my memorabilia and pondered the ways in which I would leave my children and grandchildren a record of the working part of my life, but nothing compares to this.

“I don’t know why someone didn’t come up with it 40 or 50 years ago.”

READ ALSO How to wear your medals

The Military Shop has replicated Lt Col Johnston’s entire medal set and copied photos, commendations and citations before mounting them in a frame that will hang proudly on his wall.

The originals will be kept secure in a safe.

“One of the best things is you’re not putting at risk your original photos, pins, badges and medals. You can keep them tucked away,” he said.

“You’ve got new, really good reproduction medals and, with two children and three grandchildren, both the original record of my service and the replicas can be handed down through the family.”

Lt Col Johnston’s 20-plus decorations, commendations and citations encompass his service across the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific.

“I have a large group of medals from all over the world, but I really only get them out on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day,” he said.

“This way I can display them with pride alongside special photos and citations that are a record of my service.”

Lt Col Johnston is also having his father Ivan Johnston’s memorabilia from his military service from the 1950s through to the 1980s mounted. This will include the Reserve Force Medal, Australian Defence Medal and Anniversary of National Service 1951-72 Medal.

He said his father-in-law Robert ‘Jock’ Richardson’s extensive medal collection, including those from Korea, Malaya, Malaysia and Vietnam “weighed a tonne” and there was no way the originals could be mounted in a frame.

“We’ll have his medals and citations, including the Military Medal and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation, and Infantry Combat Badge replicated and framed as well,” he said.

“A photo, taken in Malay in the mid-50s and used on the Department of Veteran Affairs Remembrance Day poster, will be mounted alongside the medals.”

Lt Col Johnston said the best thing about framing and displaying replicas was that the original medals could be kept safe and passed down through the generations.

“You tend to put your badges and medals in a drawer or box and they get lost to time.

“This way, the kids can have one each and they can fight over who gets the frame to hang on their wall.”

The contents of the frame is limited only by your imagination and the team at The Military Shop can help you design a layout that best suits any collection of military, police, emergency service or sporting memorabilia.

The Military Shop’s frames and replica medals are meticulously crafted, with full-size or miniature medal options available to proudly honour your accomplishments or those of a loved one.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Riotact.


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