'I was told to pay death duty on Dad's medals'.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by sweetpea, Aug 22, 2014.

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  1. Most - but not all - war medals won by heroic servicemen and women are subject to inheritance tax, as Rod Gilchrist discovered.

    Like most old soldiers, my father Jim would never talk about the horrors he witnessed in the Second World War. He served as a signals officer with the Royal Navy on convoy duty in the treacherous waters of the north Atlantic, on the bridge of the admiral’s flagship on D-Day, and in operations to search and destroy enemy submarines in the Indian Ocean and off the west coast of Africa. It was dangerous work, and the sight of men drowning in torpedo oil as merchant ships were sunk in freezing waters was too painful to recount...


  2. In a nutshell, yes, they should be valued, assessed and taxed, they are now the possessions of someone other than the person they were awarded to and they have an intrinsic value. Service personnel are taxed, their pensions are taxed, and their estate is taxed after they pass on. Medals are bought and sold every day, sometimes due to hardship, but often by people who have inherited them and see no reason to keep them and have no interest in them apart from their monetary value.
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  3. 'drowning in torpedo oil'...Nasty.
  4. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    If the estate is worth £325,000 and the medals of significant commercial value, then rather than leave them gathering dust in a drawer, it would make sense to give the medals to a local museum to commemorate those brave deeds to a wider audience. The family could still see them, they would be secure and tax free.

    The last living RN VC recipient sold his medal group and passed on the proceeds to his children to avoid any unseemly discontent. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/2670609/Ian-Fraser-VC.html
  5. I've always been of the opinion that medals should be awarded/issued on a loan only basis & should be returned after the death of the recipient.

    Trading in them should be illegal, as should the wearing of them by anyone other then the recipient.

    An old fashioned viewpoint perhaps, but this trading in them is unseemly to me.
  6. I tried very hard to catch the outrage bus but it has left without me. If HMRC don't know you've got the medals they won't try and levy tax for them. Something along the lines of " I've no idea where they are, Dad moved house a few years ago and I haven't seen them since, he may have sold them" should suffice when they enquire.
  7. The medals were of no significant value. £40. He should have kept his mouth shut.
  8. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    To be honest, if my parents had left me an estate worth more than £325,000 I wouldn't quibble over £16. I accept the principle of ownership of the medals, but not the argument about being taxed.
  9. I understand the wearing part, the rest seems of your post seems bizarre. What about people who die earning a VC in your eyes the VC should never be issued out.
    I also wouldn't call it an old fashioned view considering the hundreds of thousands of medal sets claimed for killed family members during both world wars.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  10. Not at all, medals/awards that are given posthumously would be recorded/certificated but not issued in a solid state, this would prevent them from entering this unseemly open market.

    What has gone on before would be a "dead mans shoes" issue, but with the centenary of ww1 taking place I can envisage some being worn & paraded that have been handed down that were issued to old great uncle Fred who was someone's cousin twice removed who no one one ever knew.

    Hardly a fitting tribute to old uncle Fred I feel.

    But of course this is just a personal view.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  11. No I agree they shouldn't be worn.

    I just dont have an issue with them being sold. If someone wants to part with there hard earned cash to buy a bit of metal they never earned thats their business. It wouldn't stop walting as you can just buy copies anyway.
  12. So you would not accept that the medals of a loved one killed in action would be an apt and cherished reminder to their children who must one day be told why they are growing up without a parent. I picture the scene (in the masculine) "...yes little Johnny your father was proud to serve his country and he was very brave. He saved 2 of his friends from being killed but tragically he died doing it, he was awarded the highest honour the country can give...here's the piece of paper!!" Bizarre isn't the half of it.

    Even the wearing isn't wrong same family wife attends rememberance service, memorial or whatever. Why should she be deprived of the privilege of pride in the actions of her dead husband evinced by the wearing of his medals?

  13. It's a case of each to his own, as I clearly stated it's just my personal & honest opinion, but these medals aren't all that cherished by families/descendents as it proved by the numbers that are being traded on the likes of eBay or at boot fairs/£10 auction houses.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  14. A while ago Mrs MG got given the WWI medals of her great uncle (as she is the last surviving relative) who was killed on day one at Passchendaele. They were still in the original packaging unmounted. Since then we have managed to find a picture of him and the plan is to mount them and put them in a display case with his picture alongside them. Intrinsic value?? probably about 2/6d but as a bit of family history ... priceless.
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  15. Another sweeping statement, approx 1.25 million war dead since WW I and how many sets of medals sold? It does raise the interesting point as to when a personal memento becomes either an heirloom or bric a brac. Given the nature of modern British society I would suggest that many youngster feel no real connection beyond the second generation before them. I would suggest also that why should anybody that sells their medals be judged, are you aware of the personal circumstances of every one of them, obviously not and therefore who are you to suggest that as a group their motives are purely mercenary?


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