Under the Southern Cross we Stand, a sprig of Wattle in our hand

8 September 1914 - The end of Von Spee, the Japanese move
8 September 1914, Christmas island, Pacific Ocean

Commodore Richard Dumaresq's Task Force 5 had been considered the least likely of the various detached force to see action. This proved to be not the case. His force, consisting of two Tasmania Class battleships, two Fly River Class armoured cruisers, two light cruisers and four destroyers, was to occupy Nauru and at the same time protect the cable relay station at Fanning Island. He arrived at Fanning on at 1445 hours on the 7th and was immediately appraised that he was too late to save the relay station at Fanning. A German cruiser, initially flying the French flag, had shelled the station for more than an hour in the late morning, before disappearing to the Southeast with another ship three hours before his own squadron had arrived.

Leaving his destroyers behind due to fuel concerns, he proceeded with his two battleship and four cruisers for Christmas Island. It was there he was to catch the five ships of Von Spee's East Asia Squadron, consisting of the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the light cruiser Nurnberg, the auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich and the tender Titania.

It was an unequal fight, with the Australasian ships having, 8 13 inch, 20 9.2 inch and 50 6 inch, as opposed to the German ships 16 8.3 inch, 12 5.9 inch and 14 4.1 inch. Von Spee, caught on the morning of the 8th only just beginning to raise steam, fought as bravely as he could. Both of his armoured cruisers were to go down,, with the tender Titania captured and the Prinz Eitel Friedrich also captured.

Richard Dumaresq considered himself happy with the outcome, even though inept signalling had allowed the Nurnberg to escape. 912 German crew members had been rescued from the German ships, including Vice Admiral Von Spee. It had been a fierce action, with his own ships suffering 18 killed and 42 wounded, the battleship Tasmania suffering the most, however, the 13 inch guns had quickly achieved several decisive hits.

It left only three light cruisers at large, along with two old protected cruisers, an Austro-Hungarian ship and a couple of commerce raiders. A week later, word was received of the surrender of the last of the German colonies South of the equator. It was only when his force occupied Nauru on the 17th September that he received word via cable that Japanese forces had occupied the Marianas, Caroline and Marshall Islands chains, "to protect the native inhabitants". It was to forestall the planned seizure of all of these islands by Australasian forces, as per the second stage of Operation Yellow.
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Interesting, so no Coronel ITTL because the Australasians ran into von Spee's force earlier. A light cruiser, Nurnberg, got away. I take it Leipzigf and Dresden were sent out separately as raiders?

I wonder what the butterflies will be ITTL because von Spee survived to be taken prisoner, unlike his OTL fate as one of those lost when Scharnhorst sank with all hands at the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
18 November 1914, - Ottoman plans
18 November 1914, Protectors Palace, Melbourne, Protectorate of Australasia

The Ottomans bombarding Sevastopol and entering the war had changed everything, thought Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener. He had not wanted to come on this journey at all. The simple idea of going cap in hand to these up-jumped colonials was anathema to him, however, it needed to be done. It would scarcely be the first unpleasant task he had been allocated, after all. Besides, they had signed the alliance, now they could bloody well honor it.

He supposed that it would not be unfair to say that they were doing so. His meetings with his counterpart, Lieutenant General William Brydges, were cordial enough, although his own liaison officer, a Captain Harold Morant, had ideas way above his station.

Four Divisions had been raised, with a fifth, the last a light horse Division, forming. The country had ample naval assets for a backwater such as the Pacific or Indian Oceans, so could easily escort their own troops overseas using a selection of naval units and local, Pacific based, liners. The original plan had been to transport them to England and have them fight on the Western Front under the command of British forces. The events with the Ottomans had put paid to that plan. That and the Australasians themselves. Brydges had made it quite clear that his units would not be broken up and given British commanders, but would only serve independently under a commander of their own, who may then report to a theater commander.

When the Ottoman situation had first arisen, it had been initially proposed to stage a landing in the Levant, with an amphibious invasion near Alexandretta on the Mediterranean. This plan was his own, designed to sever the Turkish capital from Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Alexandretta was an area with a Christian population and was the strategic center of the Ottoman railway network; its capture would cut the empire in two. Yet, the French had objected. Of course they had. They viewed the Levant as their own area of influence.

Yet he felt their was much to be gained by removing the weakest piece from the board. In France, the war was now static, with trenches from the North Sea to Switzerland. Something innovative and successful was needed and Britain needed to bring her full strength to bear in France. They had conceived plans for the Australasian forces to go to Egypt. This would remove the requirement to transfer further forces there and free up two Indian Army divisions currently based there.

He was thinking of a plan to attack the Ottomans from all sides. The Russians from the East. The Australasians from Egypt. Using the forces currently in Egypt or en-route, plus whatever the French could give, to force the straits and land near Constantinople. Maybe even a landing in Kuwait. Hopefully they would collapse under the weight of such an onslaught, motivating Greece and Romania into the war.
Interesting, so no Coronel ITTL because the Australasians ran into von Spee's force earlier. A light cruiser, Nurnberg, got away. I take it Leipzigf and Dresden were sent out separately as raiders?

I wonder what the butterflies will be ITTL because von Spee survived to be taken prisoner, unlike his OTL fate as one of those lost when Scharnhorst sank with all hands at the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
Yes, Leipzig and Dresden were detached to raid, as was the auxiliary cruiser Cormoran. Three other old cruisers are also at large.
28 November 1914- Aviation developments
28 November 1914, Hargrave Aviation, Ball's Head, Sydney, New South Wales, Protectorate of Australasia

Lawrence Hargrave had been a pioneers of aviation in Australasia, but had drifted into other interests in the 1890's and 1900's. It was his son Geoffrey meeting his now wife Lydia Zvereva at a European air show in 1911 that led him to a bout of renewed enthusiasm for aviation. Up to that point, scattered British and French types, mainly the former, had been used.

His inventions had brought him some wealth in the last 15 years and it was this, combined with a 2,000 Pound government grant and his new daughter in law's family money, that had started the three of them down the track of building a factory for the manufacture of aircraft. After two preliminary designs, in 1912, he was able to design two aircraft using the French 100hp Gnome Monosoupape engine, built under license. The AHS-1 was the first to take to the air on 16th March 1913, followed by the larger AHR-3 on 10 September 1913.

Both designs drew interest from the military, if for no other reason than the fact that they were made locally. Importing aircraft from Europe meant a wait of around four months for the aircraft to be dismantled, shipped and reassembled, the later not always done correctly, witness the death of a pilot in 1913. Building the new types had been fortuitous in terms of timing, for, on the 1st September 1913, the Protectorate Air Army had been established, Naturally, an air force required aircraft and order quickly followed. The AHS-1 was a single seat machine that had an empty weight of only 450kg and could reach what was considered to be the excellent speed of 119kmph. The AHR-3 was a two seat reconnaissance aircraft with a top speed of 106kmph and capable of carrying up to 300kg.

Both achieved orders immediately, with a Air Army ordering 16 of each Type and the Navy ordering 12 AHS-1's and 8 AHR-3's with float-plane configurations, to be used from a new seaplane carrier called Albatross. By the end of November 1914, all had been delivered and a new machine with twin engines was being worked upon, so as to fulfill Hargraves dreams of longer distance flight. It was to become the AHB-1 and was Australasia's first real bomber aircraft.
Hargrave AHS-1

Hargrave AHR-3


Protectorate Air Army roundel
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1 December 1914, - A gift of dubious value
1 December 1914, Cockatoo Naval Dockyards, Sydney, New South Wales

Edward Wilding looked over at the battleship, recently commissioned as South Australia, as she sat in the dry dock, workmen scurrying to and fro on her decks. One of the protocols of the Anglo-Australasian treaty was that, in exchange for the Australasian Navy adding their weight to any European conflict, that Britain would provide ships for home defense on a gifted, not loaned, basis.

The nine ships that had arrived in Sydney, via Singapore, had been all ships that the Royal Navy had little use for. Of the four largest, the battleships Swiftsure and Triumph had been second class battleships originally ordered for Chile and then purchased in 1904 to keep them out of Russian hands, likewise the two armoured cruisers Northampton and Norfolk. These had been Italian designs that were built for the Argentine Navy and purchased to keep them out of the hands of either Russia or Japan. The large destroyer Swift was a fuel hog and the Three C Class submarines were small and petrol driven and their depot ship a slow, obsolete coastal chuffer.

The larger ships were not built to Royal Navy standards, fired ammunition that was non standard and were more cramped than comparable Royal Navy ships. This likely explained their exile to the East Indies and China stations. Aside from local defense around Hong Kong, Australasia would take responsibility for all Pacific operations. Only the battleships were to be altered significantly. Ten of her almost useless 7.5 inch guns were removed from their barbettes, due to the fact that they were so low that none would be able to fire in any sort of seaway. four 3 inch guns were also removed and one 7.5 inch weapon was placed on each broadside on the upper deck. The two torpedo tubes were also removed. It was to reduce the ships displacement by almost 500 tons, ensuring they could make speeds of over 20 knots.

The two armoured cruisers would have their 8 inch turret replaced by a 6 inch one and also have their torpedo tubes deleted.

Both battleships would finish their refits in February 1915, joining the two armoured cruisers. At least they all used the 10 inch gun, the two armoured cruisers having a strange combination of one 10 inch and two 8 inch guns as their main armament. Although the battleships would be very lightly armed, the cutting of over 100 crew would see that they were less cramped. Likewise, the armoured cruisers crews would drop by 30.
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16 December 1914, - A changed objective
16 December 1914, Department of the Army Offices, Melbourne, Aurelia, Protectorate of Australasia

Telegrams had flown back and forth between London and Melbourne until finally a resolution had been reached. The Five divisions of the Australasian Infantry Force would land at Alexandretta on 17th March 1915, an operation timed to coincide with an effort by mainly Royal Navy forces, who would land the 29th Division and elements of the Royal Navy Division on Cape Hellas, whilst other parts of the Royal Navy Division would be used to seize gun emplacements inside the narrows.

Churchill had been the main proponent of the Gallipolli operation and had the backing of the navy. The idea of a landing at Alexandretta had originated even before the war, and both Lord Kitchener at the War Office in London and General Sir John Maxwell, the British Commander in Egypt, were enthusiastic supporters at that time. So, in the finish, it had not been hard to get Kitchener's support for such an operation. The objections of the French and, more importantly, Churchill, had been overridden by the fact that it would be the Australasian Fleet that would transport the troops to and support the landing at Alexandretta. The main previous objection to Alexandretta had been that it could not be done without the Royal Navy, and the Admiralty was laser-focused on the Dardanelles. Alexandretta would have to be done with whatever else could be spared, if anything. However, the Australasian Fleet would be more than sufficient to support such an operation. The Ottomans possessed no fleet in the Mediterranean, after all.

Lieutenant General James Legge would be in overall command of the operation, which would be supported by as many as six battleships. The men would leave Australasia by convoy on the 8th of January 1915, by which stage it was hoped all five divisions would be fully equipped, a task that Australasia's domestic armaments industry was straining to achieve. The objective was simple enough, to exploit surprise so as to seize the high ground, cutting off Allepo from Adana. It would hopefully leave the entire Ottoman 4th Army in an untenable position, cut the southern half of the Ottoman Empire off, possibly birthing an “Arab State”.

There would be no question of going into the Turkish highlands. With few or poor roads, there would be many opportunities exist for the Ottomans to attack at the flanks of any army foolish enough to try to march inland, whilst enemy supply lines would be short. It was thought that the shock of having an entire Army and the Southern part of the empire cut off, as well as the forcing of the straits, would be enough to bring the Ottomans to the table, or at least enough to convince the Greeks and Romanians to enter the war.
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22 December 1914, - China jumps in
22 December1914, Forbidden City, Peking, Empire of China

Yuan Shikai had adopted a wait and see attitude as well, using the Bai Lang rebellion as an excuse to delay fulfilling the obligations he owed Australasia as part of their own mutual defense treaty. The Australasian's understood that, however, the rebellion had been crushed. It was the first engagement fought after the Green Standard Army had been abolished and its ranks added to that of the New Army.

Now he could delay no longer in fulfilling his treaty obligations. Not only that, he did not want to delay any longer. Japan's behavior, in terms of virtually seizing German territories, yet not claiming them as spoils of war, let him to believe that they themselves were preparing for war. He could see only one likely target. It would be best to find some powerful allies and to that end, China declared war on Austro-Hungary and Germany on 24th December 1914.
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This version of WW1 is shaping up to be even more global than the OTL version, with the Chinese and Japanese getting involved. I suspect the Allies will win, but the Japanese will wind up with a white peace because defeating and occupying them will be seen as too difficult.
8 January 1915, - First AIF departs
8 January 1915, Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Protectorate of Australasia

The convoy that assembled represented most of the country's military power. Six dreadnoughts, two armoured cruisers, four light cruisers and eight destroyers escorted five large liners of 16,000 tons each, four Australasian and the other a recent capture, the navy transports Java and Cuba, the 10,000 ton ex White Star Line Majestic, purchased by Blue Line in 1914, the cruisers Powerful and Terrible, as well as 48 other ships, including the seaplane carrier Albatross (exLuciana).

They would transport all of the Australasian Infantry Force, some five divisions, consisting of around 70,000 men. They would stop at Albany, Colombo and Aden, before landing in Egypt. Major General Francis Johnson could not help but think that he had been given the most difficult task. Part of any Divisions most potent weapons were surely the artillery elements. 1st and 2nd Divisions had modern artillery by verge of being regular army formations, mainly consisting of the 75mm Mark III field gun and the 107mm Mark II howitzer, both modern designs. 3rd Division had also benefited from spare guns and guns manufactured rapidly between September and December at Armidale. However, his own division, the 4th, had been less fortunate. He had only 6 modern guns, the remaining 54 guns consisting of old 9 cm Kanone C/73, the Army's first artillery piece, all taken out of storage. At least he had a full compliment of machine guns.

The Light Horse Division were likewise under equipped with artillery, only having a small compliment of 5.7 cm Maxim-Nordenfelt guns that had been purchased in the 1890's and lightened for use in rugged areas, as well as some domestically produced mortars, the later including the excellent 65mm Mark1A.

One things he was confident of was his commanders and his troops. Regular army troops comprised some 20% of the numbers for each division, with another 25% of the men being long term militia members. The remainder were all volunteers and all had undergone accelerated training. The GOC's of each Division were all experienced men.

It was to be the first week in February before the convoy was to reach Alexandria, by which stage the Ottoman Army had undergone a catastrophic defeat, losing all but 10,000 men of the 120,000 of the 3rd Army's strength in the Battle of Sarikamish.
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1 February 1915, - Navy update
1 February 1915, Garden Island Naval Depot, Sydney, New South Wales, Protectorate of Australasia

The completion of the latest light cruiser, Auckland, had meant that the only ships under construction were the three Combined Islands Class dreadnoughts, one of which had originally been laid down for China. At this stage, the only "war builds" were an order for 16 "sloops", essentially second class destroyers that could be built cheaply in commercial, rather than navy years. Navy yards had been busy enough converting civilian craft to military use so far. He did not expect the three battleships under construction to be ready before early 1917, despite the increase in urgency of the work on them. In the Pacific, war still seemed a distant thing.
Diamond Class sloop

The Protectorate Navy now consisted of:
0+3 24,200 tons Combined Island Class battleships, 9x13 inch, 11x6 inch, 26 knots (Combined Islands, Swan River, Capricornia)
3 23,512 tons New England Class battleships, 11x13 inch, 14x6 inch, 25 knots, (New England, Aurelia, New South Wales)
3 16,486 tons Fiji Class battleships, 6x13 inch, 20x3.6 inch, 23.25 knots, (Fiji, Riverina, North Australia)
2 16,258 ton Tasmania Class battleships, 4x13 inch, 10x6 inch, 9x3 inch, 23 knots (Tasmania, Aotearoa)
0+2 11,550 ton South Australia Class battleships, 4x10 inch, 6x7.5 inch, 21 knots, (South Australia, New Zealand)

Armoured Cruisers:
2 14,190 ton Fly River Class, 10x9.2 inch, 10x6 inch, 2TT, 23.5 knots (Fly River, Hailing)
2 7,305 ton Peter Lalor Class 2x10 inch, 12x6 inch, 10 3 inch, 20.5 knots (Peter Lalor, Eureka Land)

Seaplane Carrier:
1 12,900 ton Albatross, 2x3 inch, 12 aircraft, 23 knots
1 13,488 ton Terrible, 1x9.2 inch, 4x6 inch, 17.5 knots, 5 aircraft or landing craft
1 13,1000 ton Powerful, 1x9.2 inch, 4x6 inch, 18, 1 aircraft + fleet repair facilities

6+1 4,214 tons Napier Class light cruisers, 5x6 inch, 8 TT, 3x3.6 inch, 30.5 knots (Napier, Christchurch, Hobart, Zeehan, Armidale, Auckland, Bendigo)
3 6,092 ton Perth Class light cruisers 8x6 inch, 2 TT, 26 knots (Perth, Port Nicholson, Palmerston)
2 6,160 ton Raffaello Carboni Class second class cruisers, 10x6 inch, 3 TT, 20.5 knots (Raffaello Carboni, Suva)
7 1,940 ton Queenstown Class third class cruisers, 6x3 inch, 2 TT, 20 knots (Queenstown, Launceston, Albury, Newcastle, Dunedin, Townsville, Norfolk) (3 minelayers)
4 2,895 ton Melbourne Class second class cruisers, 2x6 inch, 4x3 inch, 2TT, 25 knots (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide)

Torpedo Boat/Destroyers:
4 x 310 ton T-8 Class torpedo boats, 2x3 inch, 4TT, 27 knots
1 1,825 ton Swift, 4x4 inch, 2 TT, 34 knots
28+4 1,098 ton Cassowary Class destroyers, 3x3.6 inch, 4TT, 32 knots
0+16 568 ton Diamond Class sloops, 2x3.6 inch, 2 TT, 24 knots

3 C Class submarines, 290 tons, 2TT, 13 knots
8 D Class submarines, 483 tons, 1x3 inch, 3 TT, 14 knots
4+2 E Class submarines, 665 tons, 1x3 inch, 4TT, 15 knots
2 submarine depot ships

1 2,612 ton sail training ship, Southern Cross
2 2,172 ton small liners of troops transport and sea training, Java, Cuba
5 colliers
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Where would the Australasian Navy rank in terms of world powers?
Probably around 5th. The British are first, Germany is second, the US is third, the Japanese are fourth and the Australasians are fifth. Depending on the exact numbers, they might be fourth, ahead of the IJN.

They are definitely ahead of the remaining European major powers, the French, the Russians, the Italians, and the Austro-Hungarians.
Probably around 5th. The British are first, Germany is second, the US is third, the Japanese are fourth and the Australasians are fifth. Depending on the exact numbers, they might be fourth, ahead of the IJN.

They are definitely ahead of the remaining European major powers, the French, the Russians, the Italians, and the Austro-Hungarians.
Think the French are stronger with 16 battleships, although only 4 dreadnoughts. Over 40 cruisers and 100 destroyers. Russians of course dropped down after the Japanese war
Think the French are stronger with 16 battleships, although only 4 dreadnoughts. Over 40 cruisers and 100 destroyers. Russians of course dropped down after the Japanese war
True, but rankings are tricky anyway. France can easily reach Britain, Germany, Italy, and with some more difficulty the US. I doubt France could manage to support a deployment of most of its navy to the Far East. Its theoretical capability vs Japan or Australasia is just that, theoretical.

A more useful version might be to have an Atlantic and a Pacific set of rankings. The British would be at the top of both, but I expect Germany would be number 2 in the Atlantic and 3 or 4 in the Pacific. The US would be 3 in the Atlantic and 2 in the Pacific. Japan would be maybe 5 or 6 in the Atlantic, but 3 or 4 in the Pacific depending on how the IJN compared with what Germany could deploy to the Pacific.
10 February 1915, - Will they listen
10 February 1915, Mudros, Lemnos, Kingdom of Greece

"We have to say something, surely...." said Lieutenant Commander Alfred Bakhap. He looked towards his superior, Captain Henry Cayley. Henry Cayley sighed. Bakhap was a good officer, perhaps overtly conscious that at the end of the day his father was a Chinese immigrant miner, Bak Hap. Like many others of Chinese extraction, he had effectively anglicized his name. Due Hoy became O'Hoy, Luen Fho became Leanfore and so on. It was not something particular to the Chinese community, other communities, even the German diaspora, had done the same thing, but not on the same scale as the Chinese. Racism was part of the reason, of course. Whilst the Chinese community maintained many of it's own traditions and customs, no one could accuse them of being reluctant to fit in.

Cayley returned to the words of his subordinate. "The trouble is, Alfy, they seem to have made it quite clear that as observers, we are here to do exactly that and nothing else. Like children, it seems we must be seen and not heard."

Lieutenant Commander Alfred Bakhap tried again. "Yes, but it seems to me, maybe to any rational person, that the biggest threat to heavy ships forcing the Dardenelles Straits will be mines. Therefore, it imperative that the forces clearing such mines are your best most reliable men. Not a bunch of civilians operating from trawlers. As soon as they come under fire, they will likely do a bunk."

"I am not disagreeing with you mate, not at all. Look, talking to Carden is a waste of time, the old man does not seem to like the opinions of those he considers not his equals, let alone a couple of observers from the protectorate. However, he has thrust the task of the mine clearing onto Roger Keys, who is much more approachable. I have a word and see what we can do."

"Fair enough, sir."
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16 February 1915, - Medal awards
16 February 1915, Protector's Palace, Melbourne, Australasia

Charlotte Plantagenet and her twin sister, Madeline, made ready. Typical bloody Melbourne, she thought. Supposed to be summer and it was 12 degrees with scudding low cloud and cold. Since she had turned 21, she and her sister had taken over a number of her mother's social engagements, especially with the increased workload due to the war.

She just wished that she was more naturally inclined to be outgoing, like her more vivacious younger sister, who was both blonder, shorter, prettier and more outspoken and, in Charlotte's opinion, more suited to be the next Protector. Yet fate had decreed otherwise.

They were here to award the first medals of the war to Australasian military personnel. Like most things in Australasia, even the process of awarding decorations was fairly egalitarian. There were not different awards for officers and men. Or for navy and army ranks, for that matter. Types of medals were kept to a minimum, with each award fulfilling a specific purpose. These were, in order of importance:

The Eureka Cockade, an 8 pointed star in white enamel and gold - Australasia's Highest military award, given only for bravery on the battlefield. Winners of the award, of which there had been very few, were entitled to be saluted by all other soldiers, even those of superior rank

The Military Cross was to awarded for acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy. It was represented by a blue enamel and gold or silver cross, silver representing the second class of the award. The award could be made in either class, with two silver awards automatically seeing an award in gold instead.

The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded for service above and beyond the call of duty. It could be awarded for gallantry, but this was not usually the case, being instead award for exceptional service. It was also a blue enamel and gold or silver cross, thinner and slightly plainer than the Military Cross. The award could be made in either class, with two silver awards automatically seeing an award in gold instead.

The Distinguished Conduct Medal was awarded for distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the field. It was usually awarded for gallantry, but could be awarded for distinguished service. It came in three grades, gold, silver and bronze, with two awards at one level moving the award to the next level.

Finally, their was the Wound Medal, known colloquially as the savaloy. It sported a gold or silver plated medal with a red and purple ribbon. For three or more wounds, the award was made in gold. If more than five, the colours on the ribbon were reversed, with purple dominant and a red border.

These first awards were for actions taken during the subjugation of the German colonies in the Pacific. Sadly, a number were wound badges and two were posthumous. Charlotte hoped that there would be not that many more handed out, however, she was well aware that Solomon and Sons, the official armed services award manufacturers, had a contract for 20,000 Wound Medals.

The Honorable Charlotte and Madeline Plantagenet
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