Established 1870
A Division of the British Veterinary Association

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The Victory Medal of the Central Veterinary Society

The following historical note by Dr. Henry Carter appeared in the programme for the 1995-96 Victory Medal Dinner, held in the Cholmondeley Room of the House of Lords on 18th January 1996, at which the medal was presented to Sir David Attenborough, CVO, CH, CBE, FRS.

At the annual meeting of the Central Veterinary Society in October 1919, Mr. J. Willett proposed that an annual Peace Medal be instituted to celebrate the Allied victory in the Great War, when the profession was responsible for the welfare of over a million horses.  It was proposed to be awarded to the best final year student each year.

The proposal was considered, and in June 1920 the design of the medal, by then known as the Victory Medal, was approved with the dates 1914-1918 added to the inscription.  In proposing addition of the dates, Professor Brayley Reynolds said that he believed that 'the Central Veterinary Society would exist for a very long time to come, and it might be that a generation would arise which would forget that there had ever been such a war as that which had just been concluded!'

There were to be two medals, one gold, the other silver.  It was later agreed that the medals should be awarded not to students, but to those who, in the judgement of the Council of the Society, had done most to further the interests of the Society during the current year, either in the way of reading scientific papers or otherwise.

No medals were presented until April 1921, when it was resolved that only one medal should be given each year, but that the Council shall have power to award a second gold medal at its discretion.  The first recipient of the Victory Medal (for 1918-19) was Mr. H. A. MacCormack, the Honorary Secretary; the second award (for 1919-20) was made to Mr. F. T. Harvey of St. Columb, 'who came and read a very interesting paper to the Society'.

An undated document concerning the medal states that:

The Victory Medal was instituted in the year 1919 to commemorate the victory of the Allies in the Great War of 1914-1918.  It may be awarded annually, at the discretion of the Council, to a person who has rendered outstanding service either to the Society or to veterinary science in general.  In special cases the Council may award two medals in any one year.

The 'Rules of the Award' were given as:

  1. The Victory Medal Committee, hereinafter called the Committee, shall consist of the Council with powers to co-opt past recipients of the Victory Medal and others.

    A quorum shall consist of four members of the Committee.

    The Committee shall meet not later than January to consider the nominations for that session.

  2. The current list of recipients of the Victory Medal shall be circulated to Members of Council one month prior to the meeting of the Committee at which the award of the Victory Medal will be considered.

  3. Each nomination shall be accompanied by an informative written statement describing the achievements and merits of the proposed candidate.

  4. The names of those proposed together with the informative statements shall be circulated to Members of the Committee as soon as possible after receipt by the Secretary.  Proposals must be received by the Secretary at least one week prior to the meeting of the Committee.

  5. Nominations made in previous years will not be reconsidered unless resubmitted.

However, in March 2003 the Council of the Society recognised that no such committee had in fact been convened for many years.  Council took note of a consultation document distributed by Professor Bleby which described recent accepted practice and agreed to continue with this system, namely that the incoming President should nominate for both the Victory Medal and the Centenary Prize, subject to approval by Council.

Victory Medallists

1918-19 H. A. MacCormick
1919-20 F. T. Harvey
1920-21 Sir Frederick Hobday
1921-22 E. L. Stroud
1922-23 Dr. J. B. Buxton
1923-24 J. MacIntosh
1924-25 Professor G. H. Wooldridge
1925-26 J. Rowe
1926-27 Professor J. MacQueen
1927-28 J. F. Macdonald
1928-29 G. W. Dunkin
1929-30 W. K. Townson
1930-31 W. Perryman
1931-32 J. Moore
1932-33 H. Gray
1933-34 Professor J. G. Wright
1934-35 H. D. Jones
1935-36 Sir Thomas Dalling
1936-37 W. H. Kirk
1937-38 J. T. Edwards
1938-39 S. L. Hignett
1943-44 F. Bullock and G. Dunlop-Martin
1945-46 Professor J. McCunn
1946-47 H. E. Bywater
1947-48 Brigadier C. A. Murray
1948-49 T. L. Wright
1949-50 W. A. Pool and C. O. Davies
1951-52 G. P. Male
1952-53 Dr. W. R. Wooldridge
1953-54 Dr. T. Hare
1954-55 A. L. Shearer
1955-56 C. Roberts and Major R. F. Wall
1956-57 G. N. Gould
1957-58 J. K. Bateman
1958-59 Professor W. C. Miller
1959-60 T. M. Doyle
1960-61 Colonel S. F. J. Hodgman
1961-62 Professor E. Cotchin
1962-63 Dr. E. L. Taylor
1964-65 Dame Olga Uvarov and Sir Eric Becket
1966-67 O. Graham-Jones
1967-68 W. Macrae (Macrea?)
1968-69 G. C. Knight
1969-70 Dr. R. F. Gordon
1970-71 Sir John Ritchie
1972-73 Sir William Weipers
1974-75 Professor C. Formston
1975-76 Miss J. O. Joshua
1976-77 Dr. J. Brooksby
1977-78 Dr. B. G. F. Weitz
1978-79 Professor J. Bleby
1979-80 Dr. P. M. Biggs
1981-82 Dr. W. B. Singleton
1982-83 Professor L. C. Vaughan
1983-84 J. A. Gripper
1984-85 Dr. J. Payne
1985-86 G. Yeoman
1986-87 Professor J. O. Jarrett
1987-88 Professor P. Lees
1988-89 Dr. D. G. Clayton-Jones
1989-90 A. R. W. Porter
1990-91 W. Beswick
1992-93 Professor G. B. Edwards
1993-94 Miss C. Nichols
1995-96 Sir David Attenborough
1996-97 J. P. Walmsley
1997-98 J. Hird
1999-2000      Sir Colin Spedding
2000-01 G. W. Tribe
2001-02 Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior
2003-04 J. J. Oliver
2005-06 Miss K. E. Jones
2006-07 B. Cass
C. Hall and J. Hall

Years in which no medallist is named are believed to be No Award.

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