Medals are only issued by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Medal Office and can be claimed retrospectively and by next of kin. They are listed alphabetically and include currently available medals for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts through to medals associated with the Crimean War.
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Equal stripes of dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces. Worn with the dark blue stripe furthest from the left shoulder.
Qualifing CriteriaThe 1939 to 1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East).
The criteria is 180 days’ service between these dates, although some special criteria apply when, at certain specified times, just 1 days’ service is required.
Naval personnel qualify after 180 days afloat in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations between certain specified dates.
RAF air crew will qualify with 60 days service in an operational unit including at least one operational sortie.
Air crew of fighter aircraft engaged in the Battle of Britain between 10 July and 31 October 1940 were awarded the clasp ‘Battle of Britain’ to be worn on the ribbon of the 1939 to 1945 Star.
The ACSM is silver and circular in shape. The obverse of the medal shows the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse (shown here) bears the words ‘For Accumulated Campaign Service’ set within a four part ribbon surrounded by a branch of oak leaves with laurel and olive leaves woven through the motto ribbon.
Bears the design of laurel leaves. When the ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette denotes award of the clasp.
Purple flanked by green edges with a central narrow stripe of gold to denote excellence.
The ACSM is awarded for 1,080 days aggregated service in those theatres for which the General Service Medal (GSM) (eg. Northern Ireland, Air Ops Iraq), an Operational Service Medal (OSM) (eg. Sierra Leone or Afghanistan) or the Iraq Medal has been issued. An additional 1,080 days is required for the award of the clasp to the ACSM. More than 1 clasp may be earned.
Separate criteria apply to part time members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and Royal Irish (Home Service) Regiment.
Full details are laid out in DCI Gen 65/94 and, for the RAF, AP3392 Vol 4 Leaflet 2007 Annex B.
Silver and circular in shape. The obverse of the medal shows the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth. The reverse bears the Union Flag, surrounded by the inscription ‘For Operational Service’ and the 4 major points of the compass, with 4 Coronets: Royal (top left), Naval (top right), Mural Army (bottom left), and Astral Royal Air Force (bottom right).
"Afghanistan". Awarded with the medal for service specifically in Afghanistan. When the ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette denotes award of the clasp.
A broad central red stripe, flanked each side by a stripe of royal blue and one of light blue, to represent the 3 services, with an outer stripe of light brown to reflect the landscape of Afghanistan.
Complex criteria govern the award of this medal, with varying lengths of service required depending on the operation and location.
To qualify for award of the Medal with clasp, personnel must have served in Afghanistan for either 5, 21 or 30 days continuous service between various dates depending on the operation, from 11 September 2001 to 1 August 2002 for Ops Jacana and Bandog, or to a date to be decided for Ops Veritas, Fingal and Landman.
Service of varying lengths depending on the operation on Ops Landman, Veritas, Oracle, Ramson or Damien in other Middle East countries during certain specific dates will qualify for the OSM for Afghanistan without clasp.
Full details are laid out in DCI JS 126/03 and were amended in 2005DIN 01-008.
World War 2 medal for service in Africa 1939 to 1945
Pale buff to symbolise the desert, overlaid with a central red stripe and one narrow stripe each of dark and light blue to represent the 3 services. Worn with the dark blue stripe furthest from the left shoulder.
Star awarded for 1 or more days’ service in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates.
The qualifying areas for the Africa Star also include the earlier areas of conflict against the Italians in East Africa; those serving in Abyssinia, Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya or Somaliland between certain other specified dates will also qualify.
Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.
RAF air crew landing in or flying over an area of an Army operational command or flying over enemy occupied territory in North Africa will also qualify.
Service with either the 1st or 8th Army in North Africa during certain specified dates will qualify for award of the ‘1st Army’ or ‘8th Army’ clasp to be worn on the ribbon of the Africa Star.
Provided neither the 1st or 8th Army clasps have been qualified for, staff of the 18 Army Group Headquarters who served between certain specified dates under a specified General will qualify for award of the clasp ‘North Africa 1942-43’.
For aircrew operations over Europe in World War 2
A wide central stripe of light blue, flanked at the edges by narrow stripes of yellow and black to symbolise the continuous service of the Air Force by night and day.
The Air Crew Europe Star was earned almost exclusively by RAF personnel and can only be awarded after the 1939 to 1945 Star has been qualified for.
Aircrew Europe Star was awarded for 60 additional days’ service in an RAF Unit engaged in operational flying over Europe from bases in the UK with at least one operational sortie. After 5 Jun 44, operational flying over Europe qualified aircrew for the France and Germany Star.
For gallantry in the air for non opp actions. All ranks of the RN, RM, Army and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry in the air on non active operations.
A cross, in silver, the obverse (shown here) made up of a thunderbolt surmounted by another cross of aeroplane propellers, the ends of which are inscribed with the letters of the Royal Cypher, the base bar terminated with a bomb and the top bar by the Imperial Crown, with the arms conjoined by wings. A central roundel depicts Hermes mounted on a hawk in flight bestowing a wreath. The reverse bears the image of the Royal Cypher above the date ‘1918’.
A silver bar ornamented by an eagle may be issued to AFC holders performing a further act of such gallantry which would have merited award of the AFC.
Alternate narrow diagonal stripes of white and crimson.
All ranks of the RN, RM, Army, and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry in the air on non active operations.
The Artic Start is awarded for all Operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle within all arms.
The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts.
Eligibility is defined as follows:
Awarded for Operational service in Home waters and the Atlantic
Shaded and watered stripes of blue, white and green to represent the Atlantic. Worn with the blue edge furthest from the left shoulder.
Awarded only after the 1939 to 1945 Star has been qualified for, the Atlantic Star is for 180 days’ additional service as ships crew (RN or Army) in home waters or the Atlantic.
Certain special conditions apply governing award of the Star for those Naval personnel entering service less than 6 months before the end of the qualifying period, provided it was the last operational theatre in which they served.
RAF air crew will qualify after award of the 1939 to 1945 Star for an additional 60 days service in an operational unit having taken part in operations against the enemy at sea.
Awarded to Aircrew of bomber command
The Bomber Command Clasp is granted to the aircrew of Bomber Command who served for at least 60 days, or completed a tour of operations, on a Bomber Command operational unit and flew at least one operational sortie on a Bomber Command operational unit from the 3 September 1939 to the 8 May 1945 inclusive. This applies to servicemen after they have met the minimum qualification for the 1939-45 Star, which in many cases, though not exclusively, is 60 days.
To be clear, servicemen must have already qualified for the 1939-45 Star before their time can count toward the required 60 day qualification period for the Bomber Command Clasp.
Eligibility is extended to those members of Bomber Command aircrew who did not meet the qualifying criteria due to service being brought to an end by death, wounds or other disability due to service, service marked by a gallantry award or taken as a prisoner of war.
Foreign nationals commissioned or enlisted into British or, the then, Dominion Air Forces (e.g. Royal Canadian Air Force or Royal Australian Air Force) are eligible provided the individuals did not receive a similar award from their own government.
Eligibility to the Bomber Command Clasp has no effect upon eligibility for World War 2 recognition previously awarded and does not suggest automatic eligibility for any further awards.
Awarded for operational service in Burma
Dark blue overlaid with a central red stripe to represent the Commonwealth Forces and 2 narrow stripes of orange to symbolise the sun.
Star awarded for 1 or more days’ service in Burma, 1941 to 1945. Those serving in Bengal and Assam (in India), China, Hong Kong, Malaya or Sumatra between other specified dates will also qualify.
Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939 to 1945 Star before the Burma Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea, restricted to the Bay of Bengal within certain specified boundaries.
Certain special conditions apply governing award of the Star for those Naval personnel entering service less than 6 months before the end of the qualifying period.
RAF air crew engaged in operations against the enemy will also qualify provided that at least one operational sortie has been completed.
Recognition for Long Service within the Cadet Force
Cupronickel and circular in shape. The obverse of the medal shows the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse bears the inscription ‘The Cadet Forces Medal’ and a representation of a torch.
Bears the image of the Queen’s Crown. When the ribbon alone is worn a silver rosette denotes award of the clasp.
Green with yellow edges with narrow stripes of dark blue, red and light blue superimposed.
The CFM and clasps are awarded to officers and uniformed adult instructors in recognition of long service of proved capacity in the Cadet Forces. 12 years reckonable service is required for award of the medal. 6 years further service is required for award of each subsequent clasp. Prior to 1991, 8 years service was required for the clasp.
Service after the age of 18 as a cadet will count up to a maximum of 4 years.Service in the Reserve Forces, Regular Forces, OTC and University Air Squadrons which has not been used as qualifying service towards any other medal (eg LS and GCM or VRSM) may be used towards CFM up to a maximum of 3 years.
At the discretion of service boards the following are not counted as breaks in continuity of service for the Medal: * any break which does not exceed 6 months * breaks of up to 3 years by reason of change in place of residence or change in civilian employment. This should be verified when an application is madeFor award of the clasp service does not necessarily have to be continuous. The award of the CFM is governed generally by Royal Warrant dated 19 November 2001.
Recognition for acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.
A cross pattée in silver mounted on a wreath of laurel leaves. The obverse of the medal bears in the centre a circular medallion depicting St. Edward’s crown. The reverse is plain in design and bears the rank, name and unit of the recipient. The date of the award is also engraved.
A silver bar may be issued to CGC holders performing a further act of such gallantry which would have merited award of the CGC, though none have been awarded to date.
White with narrow stripes of dark blue at each edge and a central stripe of crimson.
All ranks of the RN, RM, Army, and RAF in recognition of acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.
The obverse of the medal shows the uncrowned head of King George VI. The reverse bears the Royal Crown resting on an oak tree, flanked by two lions above the words ‘The Defence Medal’, with the date 1939 top left and 1945 top right.
Flame coloured in the centre flanked by stripes of green to symbolise enemy attacks on Britain’s green and pleasant land, with narrow black stripes to represent the black out.
The Defence Medal was awarded for non operational service. This type of service in the UK included those service personnel working in headquarters, on training bases and airfields and members of the Home Guard. Home Guard service counts between the dates of 14 May 1940 and 31 December 1944. The Defence Medal was also awarded for non operational service overseas, for example in India or South Africa.
Below show the qualifying time required depending on the area served.
UK - 1080days
Overseas Non Operational - 360days
Overseas non-operational with close threat or air attack - 180days
Awarded to all ranks of the RN, RM, Army and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air.
A cross flory, in silver, the horizontal and base bars terminating in bombs, the upper bar in a rose. This cross is surmounted by another, composed of aeroplane propellers, charged in the centre with a roundel within a laurel leaf, from which 2 wings stretch across the horizontal bars. At the centre of the roundel is the RAF monogram surmounted by the Imperial Crown. The reverse of the cross has at its centre an encircled Royal Cypher above the year ‘1918’.
A silver bar ornamented by an eagle may be issued to DFC holders performing a further act of such valour which would have merited award of the DFC.
Alternate narrow diagonal stripes of white and deep purple.
All ranks of the RN, RM, Army, and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air.
Awarded to all ranks of the RN, RM, Army and RAF for exemplary gallantry against the enemy at sea.
A silver cross with rounded ends. The obverse bears in the centre the Royal Cypher surmounted by the Imperial Crown. The reverse is plain in design, though from 1940 onwards the year of the award was engraved on the lower limb of the cross.
A silver bar, with rounded ends, ornamented by the Crown may be issued to DSC holders performing a further act of such gallantry which would have merited award of the DSC.
A central stripe of white flanked by equally sized stripes of dark blue.
All ranks of the RN, RM, Army, and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea.
Awarded for highly successful command and leadership during active operations
A gold cross, with curved edges, overlaid in white enamel. The obverse of the medal has at the centre of the cross a raised laurel wreath, enamelled green, surrounding the Imperial Crown in gold, on a red enamelled background. The reverse has a similar raised centre with the laurel wreath surrounding the Royal Cypher ‘VRI’. The suspender is decorated with laurel leaves, and a bar of the same design is positioned at the top of the ribbon.
A gold bar ornamented by the Crown may be issued to DSO holders performing a further act of such leadership which would have merited award of the DSO.
Crimson flanked by narrow dark blue stripes at the edges.
The Distinguished Service Order was instituted originally to reward junior officers in the Army for distinguished service or acts of gallantry against the enemy. While the Order of the Bath had been available for senior officers and the Distinguished Conduct Medal for the other ranks, no award below the level of the Victoria Cross (VC) had existed for junior officers. The DSO was also made available to junior officers of the other services.
After the 1993 review, the DSO ceased to be awarded for gallantry replaced by the new all service, all ranks Conspicuous Gallantry Cross at the level below the VC. Although theoretically available to all ranks, the DSO, now awarded for distinguished leadership during active operations against the enemy, is likely to be awarded only to the more senior officer ranks.
Awarded for Operational Service in Northwest Europe 1944 to 1945
In the colours of the Union flag, also symbolising those of France and the Netherlands, a central red stripe flanked by white and blue stripes of equal width.
Star awarded for 1 or more days’ service in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands or Germany between the above dates. Naval personnel will qualify for service afloat in the North Sea and English Channel within certain specified boundaries.
RAF air crew, who have not already qualified by service on land, will qualify with one operational sortie over the appropriate land or sea area.
Clasp to the General Service Medal (GSM) 1918 "Canal Zone"
The GSM is silver and circular in shape. The obverse of the medal shows the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse bears the standing winged figure of Victory in a Greek helmet and carrying a trident, bestowing a wreath on the emblems of the Army (the sword) and the RAF (the wings).
‘Canal Zone’. 17 different clasps have been awarded with the GSM 1918. Award of clasps to the GSM are not denoted by the wearing of an emblem when the ribbon alone is worn.
A central stripe of green flanked by purple stripes.
Awarded for 30 days continuous service during the above mentioned dates within certain specified geographical boundaries in Egypt.