Purple HearT History
BADGE FOR MILITARY MERIT
The original Purple Heart award was instituted by George Washington in 1782 to reward troops for "unusual gallantry" and "extraordinary fidelity and essential service." The award was a purple cloth heart edged in silver braid, and was to be worn over the left breast of the uniform. Only three awards are known to have been issued, of which two are known to exist today. The three known recipients of the Badge if Military Merit, all from the American Revolutionary War: Sergeant Elijah Churchill, (2nd Continental Dragoons, later the 2nd Legionary Corps); Sergeant William Brown, (5th Connecticut Regument); and Sergeant Daniel Bissell, (2nd Connecticut Continental Line Infantry, later Colonel of the 5th Infantry). Once the American Revolution ended, the badge was all but forgotten until the 20th century.
A Wound Chevron was a badge of the United States Army which was authorized for wear on an Army uniform between the years of 1918 and 1932. The Wound Chevron was displayed on the lower right cuff of a military uniform, and denoted wounds which were received in combat against an enemy force. The Wound Chevron was a replacement insignia for the short lived Army Wound Ribbon.
In 1932, with the creation of the Purple, Wound Chevrons were no longer awarded to Army personnel. A directive of the United States War Department permitted soldiers to exchange wound chevrons for the new Purple Heart medal. This was not required, however, and some Army personnel elected to retain wound chevrons for wear on the military uniform instead of the Purple Heart. For those who were subsequently wounded in the Second World War, both the original wound chevrons and the Purple Heart medal were worn simultaneously. It is historically agreed that Army regulations did not permit wearing both the Purple Heart and the Wound Chevron at the same time; however, photographic evidence indicates that this was often done by veterans of both the First World War and Second World War.
PURPLE HEART MEDAL
The Purple Heart "Medal" was established in 1932 for the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Original criteria for award of the Purple Heart as published in the War Department Circular No. 6 of February 22, 1932 states that the medal be awarded to anyone serving in the Army who had received combat-related injuries or had received the AEF's Meritorious Service Citation Certificate during WWI. The new medal was retroactive to any soldier wounded from the Civil War on, eligible recipients were required to submit a formal application to the War Department for approval before the issuance of the medal.
The Purple Heart was not officially authorized for the Navy until 1942, sailors and Marines who had been wounded prior to 1932 were eligible to apply for the medal. Approximately 12,000 sailors and Marines were wounded between the Civil War and the Nicaragua Campaign of 1932.
ARMY PURPLE HEART MEDAL CONTRACTS:
*1932-1940 BB&B, 1 - 60000 (Split Brooch) Enamel Heart
-3/17/1933 Metal Arts Co. Inc. ( xxxxxx - 62165)
-4/26/1933 American Emblem Co., Inc.
-1937 BB&B, 60117 - xxxxx? ( Split Brooch)
-1939-1941 Medal Arts Co., 67000 - 75000 (Bent Slot Brooch) Enamel Heart
-1941 Robbins Co., 75000 - 10000 (Slot Brooch)
*6/8/1942-7/1/1942 Robbins Co. (400001- 600000) Slot Brooch
*6/8/1942-7/1/1942 Rex Products Co., 100000 - 400000 (Slot Brooch) First 125000 Fire Enamel -Last 90000 Lacquer enamel
-8/16/1943 Freeman Daughaday, (Un-Numbered)
*1943 American Emblem Co. Inc. (Un-Numbered)
*1945 Rex Products Corp., (Un-Numbered)
1932 Bailey Banks & Biddle Army/Navy/USMC Purple Heart Medal
The BB&B Purple Heart is numbered on the lower left rim in the range of 1-60000, made of Bronze with Gold gilt. Enamel heart, & split wrap brooch.
This example is numbered "48550" and issued to Lawrence L. Benedict for wounds received during World War I.
1942 Rex Products Army Purple Heart
The 1942 REX PRODUCTS Purple Heart Medals are numbered on the lower left side in the range of 100000-400000, Made of Bronze with Gold Gilt. Enamel, lacquer, & polished phenolic resin heart, & slot brooch.
This example is numbered "158714", with a lacquer Heart.
1942-1943 Rex Products Army Purple Heart Medal
The 1943 REX PRODUCTS Purple Heart Medals are numbered on the lower left side in the range of 100000-400000, Made of Bronze with Gold Gilt. Enamel, lacquer, & polished phenolic resin heart, & slot brooch.
This example is numbered "211601", with a polished phenolic resin Heart.
1942-1943 Robbins Company Army Purple Heart Medal
The 1942-1943 ROBBINS COMPANY Purple Heart Medals are numbered on the lower left side in the range of 400001-600000, Made of Bronze with Gold Gilt. Enamel, & polished phenolic resin heart, & slot brooch.
This example is numbered "400804", with a polished phenolic resin Heart.
1943 American Emblem Co. Army Purple Heart
The 1943 AMERICAN EMBLEM COMPANY Purple Heart medal is un-numbered, & made of Bronze with Gold gilt, & a slot brooch.
This example is named to Francis S. Lang issued for wounds received during World War I, w/ the 91st AEF 363rd Infantry.
1945 REX Products Army Purple Heart Medal
The 1945 REX PRODUCTS Purple Heart medal is un-numbered, & made of Bronze with Gold gilt, & a slot brooch.
This example is named to Army Air Corps Soldier Clayton J. Banks, issued for wounds received during World War II.
NAVY PURPLE HEART MEDAL CONTRACTS:
*1942 US Mint, (Un-Numbered) (Sterling Split Brooch) Plastic Heart Sterling Planche
*1944 US Mint, (Un-Numbered) (STERLING Wrap Brooch) Plastic Heart
-1945 (Un-Numbered) (Slot Brooch) Plastic Heart
1942 U.s. MINT NavAL PURPLE heart Medal
The 1942 U.S. Mint type-I Naval Purple Heart Medals are made of Sterling Sterling (Gold Gilt),
Sterling Silver planchette ring (Gold Gilt), Plastic heart, & Sterling Silver split wrap brooch (Gold Gilt).
1944 U.S. mint NAVAL Purple Heart Medal
The 1945 U.S. Mint type-II Naval Purple Heart Medals are Made of Bronze (Gold Gilt). Sterling Sterling planchette ring (Gold Gilt), Plastic heart, & Sterling Silver full wrap brooch (Gold Gilt).
1945 U.S. mint NAVAL Purple Heart Medal
The 1945 U.S. Mint type-III Naval Purple Heart Medals are Made of Bronze (Gold Gilt). Sterling Sterling
planchette ring (Gold Gilt), Plastic heart, & Slot brooch. The planchette is identical to the type-II above.