Gallery No 38 - Medals

British Medals - 34 Images

Some badges may appear identical but there are differences which will not be discernible from the image.

(Be patient with loading)

The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is Great Britian's highest award that can be bestowed on an individual and thus takes precedent over all other awards. However it should be noted that this has not always been the case and until 1881 there were no set regulations as to where the VC ought to be worn with many recipients wearing it after the corresponding campaign medal. By 1881 regulations stated it should be worn directly after the Royal Victorian Order but in 1902 King Edward VII made it the highest of all awards and it remains so to this day.
Posthumous awards of the VC were not made until 1902 when the decision was made to give the cross to the next of kin of those killed during the Boer War for acts of extreme gallantry. By 1907 this was made retrospective and the next of kin of all those who were killed in action, but would have been awarded the VC had they survived, received the award.
The cross is made by the well known jewellers Messrs. Hancocks & Co. who do not make any other awards. It has been long believed that the metal used to make the cross comes from Russian guns captured during the Crimean War. However recent research has shown that metal from captured guns of other conflicts such as the China wars have also been used.
Unlike other medals the VC is cast and not struck. This means that each VC is of a slightly different colour and size to every other due to the way the metal cools and contracts despite being made from the same cast. This itself could make spotting fakes more difficult but since the whereabouts of the vast majority of VC's are known it doesn't present much of a problem.
A total of 1355 awards of the VC have been made since 1856 including 833 to the Army, 107 to the Royal Navy, 31 to the RAF, 10 to the Royal Marines and 4 to civilians. In addition to this second award bars have been granted a total of 3 times. The remainder were awarded to non-British personnel (i.e. Commonwealth).
The last two awards of the VC went to:
Private Johnson Gideon Beharry, 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (For Iraq 2004).
Corporal Bryan Budd, 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (Posthumously for Afghanistan 2006).
The Order of the Bath
The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently HM Queen Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently HRH The Prince of Wales),[7] and three Classes of members:[8]
Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)
Companion (CB)

Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions. In decreasing order of seniority, these are:
Knight Grand Cross (GBE) or Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
Knight Commander (KBE) or Dame Commander (DBE)
Commander (CBE)
Officer (OBE)
Member (MBE)
Only the highest two ranks admit an individual into knighthood or damehood automatically, an honour allowing the recipient to use the title "Sir" (male) or "Dame" (female) before his or her first name (though men can be knighted separately from the Orders of Chivalry). Honorary knighthoods, given to individuals who are not nationals of a realm where Elizabeth II is Head of State, permit usage of the honour as a post-nominal but not as a title before their name. These recipients are classified as honorary members of the Order they receive, and do not contribute to the numbers restricted to that Order as full members do.
There is also a related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are not members of the Order, but, who are nonetheless affiliated with the Order. The British Empire Medal has not been used in the United Kingdom or its dependencies since 1993,[1] but is still used by the Cook Islands and by some other Commonwealth nations.
The Order's motto is For God and the Empire. It is the most junior of the British orders of chivalry, and the largest, with over 100,000 living members worldwide.[2]
Distinguished Service Order
This award was originally granted to senior commissioned officers for acts of distinguished service for which the award of the VC would not be given. The DSO has also been awarded to junior officers but it was originally intended for officers of field rank only. In 1942 the award of the DSO was extended to officers of the Merchant Navy who had performed acts of gallantry while under enemy attack.
Since 1993 the DSO is only awarded for 'leadership' and can be earned by all ranks and not just senior officers. As an award for gallantry it has been replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
Distinguished Service Cross
Originally called the Conspicuous Service Cross this award was granted to subordinate officers of the Royal Navy who were not eligible for the Distinguished Service Order. The award changed its name to the Distinguished Service Cross in 1941 and became available to all naval officers below the rank of lieutenant commander.
In 1931 Merchant Navy officers became eligible for this award and in 1940 Army and RAF officers serving aboard ships also became eligible. After the 1993 Review of Gallantry Awards eligibility for the DSC became open to all ranks thus replacing the Distinguished Service Medal.
Military Cross
This award was introduced to fill the gap to recognise those who committed an act of gallantry which fell just short of that required to earn a VC. Originally the Military Cross was issued only to junior officers and warrant officers of the Army (higher ranking officers receiving the DSO) but was extended to majors in 1931. RAF, Royal Naval Division and Royal Marines also became eligible under certain circumstances during the First World War.
In 1993, after the Review of Gallantry Awards, the MC was made available to all ranks for acts of gallantry. As a consequence the Military Medal has been discontinued.
Distinguished Flying Cross
Awarded to officers and warrant officers of the RAF for acts of valour while flying on operational missions against the enemy. After the 1993 Review of Gallantry Awards eligibilty was extended to all ranks thus replacing the Distinguished Flying Medal.
Air Force Cross
The Air Force Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, and formerly also to officers of the other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". A bar is added to the ribbon for holders who are awarded a second AFC.


Order of British India
Instituted: 1837 by the East India Company; became part of the British system of honours in 1859.
Awarded: To Indian Army officers for long and faithful service.
The Military Medal
Awarded to non-commisioned ranks of the Army, RFC and RND for acts of bravery against the enemy. Some 115,600 MMs were awarded during the First World War with 5796 first bars, 180 second bars and 1 third bar. Another 15,000 were awarded during the Second World War with 177 first bars and 1 second bar. Between the World Wars some 300 MMs were also awarded with 4 first bars while 932 MMs and 8 first bars were awarded after 1947.
Distinguished Flying Medal
Instituted at the same time as the DFC to recognise non-comissioned ranks of the RAF for acts of gallantry on operational missions against the enemy. During the Second World War eligibility was extended to Army and Fleet Air Arm NCOs and enlisted men engaged in similar operations.
Air Force Medal
Instituded at the same time as the AFC this medal was awarded to recognise acts of bravery by NCOs and enlisted men of the RAF on non-operational missions. About 100 medals with 2 first bars were awarded during the First World War, 106 medals with 2 first bars between the World Wars and 259 medals during the Second World War.
This medal was replaced by the Air Force Cross for all ranks in 1993.
1914 Star
Some 378,000 1914 stars were issued to members of the BEF and Royal Navy. It is unknown how many 'Mons Bars' were awarded but is believed to be about five for every seven stars issued. When the ribbon was worn without the medal those entitled to the Mons Bar wore a silver rosette in the centre of the ribbon. However this rosette was mistakenly worn by many recipients of the 1914 Star who were not entitled to the bar believing it denoted the earlier of the two stars.
To qualify for the 1914 Star (as opposed to the 1914-15 Star) the recipient had to be on active service in France or Belgium while the 1914-15 Star included all theatres of war. Many naval personnel therefore only qualified for the 1914-15 Star unless they landed in France or Belgium before December 1914. This Star is always accompanied by the War Service Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19.
British War Medal
Six and a half million were issued to British and empire troops with about 110,000 bronze to Chinese and Maltese Native Labour Corps personnel. Although the war ended in 1918 the medal was issued up to 1920 to those involved in mine clearance at sea and service in North and South Russia, the Baltic, Siberia and in the Caspian and Black Seas.
A large number of these medals were struck at the Calcutta Mint in India. These are very slightly larger (0.011 to 0.014 of an inch) and have wider impressed letters for the naming.
Victory Medal WW1
Some 5,725,000 issues were made and this medal was never awarded alone usually being found with at least the War Service Medal 1914-20. Although the medal is dated 1914-19 the qualifying period ended in November 1918 but several issues are known to be made for those serving between 13-14th January 1919 in Hedjaz or the Aden Field Force.
Several different finishes are seen with this medal. Some have a dull brown or dusty finish which is believed to be due to a batch made from a slightly different mixture of metals from the others.
Some examples of these medals are encountered by collectors having a set of palm leaves attached to the ribbon. This signifies that the recipient was 'mentioned in despatches'.
1939 - 1945 Star
First of eight campaign stars awarded for the Second World War the 1939-45 Star given to personnel who had completed 6 months service in a specified operational area overseas between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. However anyone killed while on active service was postumously awarded this star regardless of whether the required 6 months was completed or not.
RAF flight crews who took part in the Battle of Britain received the 'BATTLE OF BRITAIN' clasp although ground crews strangely did not receive this star. They did however receive the Defence Medal.
Atlantic Star WW2
This star was awarded to Royal Navy personnel who completed six months service afloat in the atlantic between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945. Personnel who served in the convoys to Northern Russia were also eligible for this star. All recipients of this star must also have been awarded the 1939-1945 Star with the 6 months service qualifying for that star being separate for that required for the Atlantic Star. RAF and Army personnel serving aboard ship could also qualify for this star but the qualification period was only 2 months.
Those who served in the final six months of the war could be awarded the star without the need to have qualified for the 1939-1945 Star first. Of the two clasps awarded with this medal only one could be granted to any individual.
Africa Star WW2
Awarded for service in North Africa between 10th June 1940 and 12th May 1943. However those serving in Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea and Malta also qualified for this star
The '1ST and 8TH ARMY' clasps were awarded for service in each respective Army between 23rd October 1942 and 23rd May 1943 while the 'NORTH AFRICA 1942-43' clasp was issued to inshore Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and RAF between the same dates.
Pacific Star WW2
This star was granted to those who served in the Pacific between 8th December 1941 and 15th August 1945. Those who qualified for the Burma star as well as this star were awarded the 'BURMA' clasp unless they qualified for the Burma Star first in which case they received the Burma Star with the 'PACIFIC' clasp and not the Pacific Star.
Burma Star WW2
This star was granted to those who served in Burma from 11th December 1941 and 1st May 1943. Those who served in Bengal or Assam also qualified.
Italy Star WW2
Awarded for service on land in Italy, Sicily, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Agean, Dodecanese islands, Corsica, Sardinia or Elba between 11th June 1943 and 8th May 1945.
France/Germany Star WW2
Awarded for service in France, Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany between 6th June 1944 and 8th May 1945. Those who served in connection with the campaign in the North Sea, English Channel and Bay of Biscay also were eligible for this star. Those entitled to this star who had already received the Atlantic or Air Crew Europe Star only received the 'FRANCE AND GERMANY' clasp. Those awarded the France and Germany Star first who later qualified for the Atlantic Star received the 'ATLANTIC' clasp.
The Defence Medal WW2
Awarded to personnel who served three years at home or one year in a non-operational area, such as India, or six months in an area subject to enemy air attack. Recipients included anti-aircraft personnel, RAF ground crews, Dominion forces stationed in the UK, the Home Guard, Civil Defence, National Fire Service and other civil organisations.
Canadian issues were made in silver. This medal is the most common of all those awarded for the Second World War.
War Medal 1939/1945
Awarded to all members of the armed forces for 28 days service between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945 regardless of their postings. Certain civilians such as war correspondents and pilots who worked within operational areas were also eligible for this medal.
Canadian issues were struck in silver.
TAVR Efficiency Medal
The Efficiency Medal was a medal of Britain and the Commonwealth awarded for long service in the Territorial Army of the UK, the Indian Volunteer Forces and Colonial Auxiliary Forces. This award superseded the awards to ranks throughout the volunteer forces of Britain and the Commonwealth. The criteria were for a minimum of 12 years service in the Territorial Army with war service and West African peacetime service counting double. Bars for further periods of 12 years were also awarded. The medal was superseded in 1999 by the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.[1]
The equivalent award for commissioned officers was the Efficiency Decoration.
Korea Medal
The second variant of this medal is somewhat rare while only some 27,000 Canadian issues in .800 silver were made. A bronze oak leaf is worn on the ribbon by those mentioned in despatches. Those awarded to the heavily mauled Gloucestershire Regiment who fought on Hill 235 are highly sought after and command high prices.

United Nations Medal
The inscription on the reverse is written in the language of the recipient's country. Those issued to British personnel are often awarded with the Queen's Korea Medal but many who were eligible for the UN medal did not receive the Queen's whose award criteria was more strict.
The Albert Medal
Named after the the Prince Consort (who had died in 1861) this medal was awarded for gallantry in life saving at sea. In 1867 a second bronze class was introduced and in 1877 it was also awarded for gallantry in life saving on land.
In 1917 the first class became known as the Albert Medal in Gold while the second class remained as the Albert Medal. In 1949 the Albert Medal in Gold was replaced by the George Cross and the bronze medal was discontinued in 1971.
Holders of this medal were invited to exchange their medals for the George Cross. Some 49 of 64 did so.
The George Medal
The George Medal (GM) is the second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.
The GM was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI.[2] At this time, during the height of The Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage. The existing awards open to civilians were not judged suitable to meet the new situation, therefore it was decided that the George Cross and the George Medal would be instituted to recognise both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds more generally.
Announcing the new award, the King said: "In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, and the George Medal for wider distribution.
The Warrant for the GM (along with that of the GC), dated 24 January 1941, was published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941.
The medal is granted in recognition of "acts of great bravery. The GM was originally not issued posthumously, however the warrant was amended in 1977 to allow posthumous awards, several of which have been subsequently made. The medal is primarily a civilian award; however The George Medal may be awarded to military personnel for gallant conduct which is not in the face of the enemy. As the Warrant states:
The Medal is intended primarily for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted. Bars are awarded to the GM in recognition of the performance of further acts of bravery meriting the award. In undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette is worn on the ribbon to indicate each bar.[9] Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters GM.]
The details of all awards to British and Commonwealth recipients are published in the London Gazette.
The Australia Service Medal 1939/1945
The Australia Service Medal 1939-45 was instituted in 1949 to be awarded to all members of the Australian armed forces and those members of the Australian Mercantile Marine who served overseas for at least 18 months full-time service or three years' part-time service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.
On 16 August 1996, the qualifying periods for the award of the Australia Service Medal 1939-45 were changed to 30 days' full-time or 90 days' part-time service respectively.


Efficiency Decoration
The Territorial Decoration (TD) was a medal of the United Kingdom awarded for long service in the Territorial Force and its successor, the Territorial Army. This award superseded the Volunteer Officer's Decoration when the Territorial Force was formed on 1 April 1908, following the enactment of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, (7 Edw.7, c.9) which was a large reorganisation of the old Volunteer Army and the remaining units of militia and Yeomanry. However, the Militia were transferred to the Special Reserve rather than becoming part of the Territorial Force. Recipients of this award were entitled to the post-nominal letters "TD" after their name.
George Cross
Second only to the Victoria Cross in precedence, but of equal status, the George Cross is the highest award that can be given to civilians or military personnel for acts of gallantry for which a military award would not be made. The GC superseded the Empire Gallantry Medal whose recipients could return their medals and exchange them for a GC. In 1971 those who had previously been awarded the Albert or Edward Medal could also make an exchange. Collectors however prefer 'non-exchanged' awards of the GC and so command higher prices.
The most famous of all George Cross awards is that to the island of Malta for the gallantry shown by the Maltese during the Second World War. Despite heavy bombing and blockades by Axis forces Malta never fell to the enemy.
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Awarded to enlisted men for acts of gallantry but was replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in 1993.
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Originally introduced as a naval equivalent to the DCM it was awarded to petty officers and seamen of the Royal Navy and non-commissioned ranks of the Royal Marines. The medal was first awarded to recognise gallant acts during the Crimean War but fell into disuse until the Ashantee War of 1874.
The orginal Crimea issues were in fact struck using the dies for the Meritorous Service Medal with the inscription on the reverse erased and replaced by engraving the words 'CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY'. However in 1874 new dies were produced with raised letters.
In 1943 RAF NCOs and enlisted men became eligible for this award. However the medal was replaced in 1993 by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
Distinguished Service Medal
This medal was awarded to non-commissioned ranks of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for acts of bravery in face of the enemy. Later eligibility was extended to the Merchant Navy, Army, RAF and WRNS serving onboard ship.
In 1993 this medal was replaced by the Distinguished Service Cross which is open to all ranks.



(Be patient with loading)