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Campaign Medals

For the Great War, each person who served in a defined theatre of war against Germany or her allies was entitled to one or more campaign medals. Where the recipient had been killed, the medals were sent to the next of kin.

1914 Star with Clasp

The first medal is the bronze 1914 Star that was awarded to those who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight on 22 November 1914. Where the serviceman was actually in range of the guns a small bronze bar, to be attached to the medal ribbon, was also awarded. It follows that all those ‘Old Contemptibles’ killed in action between the above dates in France or Belgium were entitled to the bar. The medal is incorrectly referred to as the Mons Star. Around 378,000 stars were issued but many, such as those who never left the rear areas, were not entitled to the bar.

1914 - 15 Star

For those who went to France and Belgium after 23 November 1914, the appropriate award was the 1914 - 15 Star. This is very similar to the 1914 Star but was never awarded with a bar, this helped to distinguish those who served under fire from those who did not. The 1914 - 15 Star was not issued after 31 December 1915. A total of 2,366,000 were issued.

(IWM Image)

The British War Medal

Recipients of the 1914 or 1914 - 15 Star also received two further campaign medals. The first is the British War Medal, which was made of silver. The criteria for issue was similar to that of the 1914 - 15 Star however, the qualifying service was extended to 11 November 1918. Some 6,500,000 were issued in silver and a further 110,000 in bronze, mostly issued to Chinese, Indian and some other overseas Labour Corps.

The Victory Medal

The last campaign medal to be issued was the Victory Medal. This was cast in bronze and celebrated the Allied victory. Approximately 5,700,000 were issued.

All campaign medals are named to the recipient and also show their name, rank and number (unless to an officer, as officers did not have a number), together with the name of their regiment or arm of service.

The Territorial Force Medal

The Territorial Force Medal was awarded to all members of the Territorial Force including Nursing Sisters, who were members of the service on 4 August 1914 and to those who had completed four years service before 4 August 1914 providing that they rejoined on, or prior to, 30 September 1914.

In addition to be eligible for the award members must have:

i. Undertaken on or before 30 September 1914 to serve outside the United Kingdom

ii Served outside the United Kingdom between 4 August 1914 and midnight 11 - 12 November 1918

iii. Been eligible for either the 1914 or 1914 - 15 Star

Although the qualification period for those eligible for the award terminated on 11 November 1918, the reverse of the medal is dated 1914 - 19; perhaps it was decided that the end of the Great War, ratified in June 1919, superceded the date of the Armistice. 33,944 were issued.

Silver War Badge

The Silver War Badge, sometimes called the Silver Wound Badge, was issued to servicemen honourably from the forces under King’s Regulations after September 1916, because of wounds or sickness. Around the front of each badge is written For King and Empire. Services Rendered. Each badge carries a unique number, it is possible to trace the recipient from that number. It was issued as a form of recognition to the men who no longer wore a uniform and were being mistaken for those who had never joined up.

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