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British Commemorative Medals

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Whilst you can understand an old boy wearing two or three of these medals, some of them have gone “over the top” (indeed, had they done so for real, they would at least have had 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred'!). Our government positively squeaks in its attitude of some deserving groups – Arctic Convoy veterans, prisoners of war, injured soldier's medal etc. and there are a number of examples of 'foreign' medals, that have been rendered as 'orphans' or worse by official non-recognition.


Formal recognition of service to Crown & Country is by closely guarded requirements and regulations and between WW2 and the latter part of the 20th century very few military bods got a gong. Plenty of stuff going on, just no recognition from the nation for an individuals contribution to the defence of the realm. Hence there has been a rise of privately purchased medals (often in aid of very worthy causes), highlighted at Remembrance Parade.


We have identified as many of these curious little things as we can and given a suggested order of wear, other then alphabetically or not at all!; recognising the precedents set by the medals of Britain and of the United States of America, and where appropriate the medal's 'equivalent' is included, or the reasoning behind placing it there.


Caution - BCM are not real medals. So, if you intend to wear them, 'Keep it honest' & 'Keep it Simple', regiment jacket and tie, head-wear and a couple of BCM for bling to round off the whole effect. If you go mad, 'The Walt Finder General' will get you in the end, and that's not a pretty sight!


Relatives - BCM are NOT REAL. So, if you've ended up with Great Uncle Bob's gongs, we would caution simplicity;

  • Real medals only or
  • Real medals & orphans only (against the regs) or
  • Real medals & 'superior' BCM (totally against the regs) – we've seen a really nice WW2 group of 2 stars, defence and war medal coupled with the Dunkirk & D-Day landings BCM. Very dignified.
  • If you must, keep it simple as often 'less is more' e.g. service, regiment and national service medals would give an overview of their service.

Alternatively, wear a poppy.


Contents

The Walter Mitty Order of Wear of British Commemorative Medals

The Orphans

The Lancastria Medal 17 Jun 1940

The Russian Convoy Medal; 40th Anniversary

The Russian Convoy Medal; 50th Anniversary

The Jordan Service Medal (Midalat al-Kidmat al-Urduni) 1948 – 1957 & 1958

The Korean War Service Medal (Republic of Korea War Service Medal – ROKWSM) Formally known as 'The Incident Participation Medal'

The Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal Aug 1957 – Aug 1966

The Kuwait Liberation Medal (Wisam Al-Tahrir (Liberation Medal) 5th Class). Desert Storm; 2 Aug 1990 – 28 Feb 1991, Medal issued 1993


Recognising 'gallantry'

The Combatant Service Medal USA, The Soldier's Medal

The Active Service Medal

The Hors De Combat Medal USA, The Purple Heart Medal

The Prisoners of War Liberation Medal, 1945 USA, The POW Medal

The Allied Ex-Prisoner of War Medal USA, The POW Medal


Recognising military campaigns

(in order of date of campaign for which commemorated).

The Arabian Service Medal 1839 – 1967

The Hong Kong Service Medal 1841 – 1997

The Battle for Britain Medal 1939 – 1945

The RAF Bomber Command Medal 1939 – 1945

The Arctic Campaign Medal 1939 – 1945

North Africa Service Medal

The Dunkirk Commemorative Medal 27 May – 4 June 1940

The Malta George Cross Medal: 50th Anniversary WW2 Service Medal 10 Jun 1940 – 8 Sep 1943, George Cross Awarded to Malta, 15 April 1942

The Battle for Malta: 60th Anniversary WW2 Service Medal

Normandy Campaign Medal 6 Jun 1944 – 20 Aug 1944

The Arnhem Medal; 50th Anniversary; version 1 17 – 25 Sep 1944

The Arnhem Medal; 50th Anniversary; version 2 17 – 25 Sep 1944

The Operation Overlord; 50th Anniversary; French Normandy Invasion Commemorative Medal

Restoration of Peace Medal 1939 – 1945; VE Day; 8 May 1945

World War II, 65th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Commemorative Medal

The British Army of the Rhine Medal

The British Forces in Germany Medal 1945 – 1989

The Suez Canal Zone Medal; version 1 1945 – 1957

The Suez Canal Zone Medal; version 2 1945 – 1957

The Cold War Medal 1945 – 1991

The Cold War Victory Medal

The Border Service Medal 1945 – Present

The British Nuclear Weapons Tests Medal 1952 – 1967

The Vietnam Veterans Medal 1960 - 1972

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; Royal Navy

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; Royal Marine Commando

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; 40 Commando Royal Marines

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; 42 Commando Royal Marines

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; 45 Commando Royal Marines

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; Army

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; Parachute Regiment

The Falklands 30th Anniversary Medal 1982 – 2012; Royal Air Force

The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty Medal 1987

The Northern Service Medal {The 'stars'}

The Eastern Service Medal {The 'stars'}

The Foreign Service Medal {The 'stars'}

The National Defence Medal {Defence Medal}

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Service Medal NATO medals follow British campaign medals


Polar Commemorative Medals

The Antarctic Service Medal {'wintered over' clasp indicates indicate service on the Antarctic continent}


Jubilee and Coronation Commemorative Medals

The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal 2002 QGJM

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal; version 1 QDJM

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal; version 2 QDJM

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal; version 3 QDJM


Recognising 'Efficiency' and Service Medals

The General Service Cross Meritorious Service Medal

The U.K Armed Forces Veteran Medal Veteran’s Medal version 1 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)

The Veterans Service Medal Veteran’s Medal version 2 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)

The Veteran Star Medal Veteran’s Medal version 3 Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)

The Royal Navy Service Medal Medal for Meritorious Service (Royal Navy 1918-1928); (service est. 1661)

The Royal Navy, Ship Service Medal Ship medals arranged in order of service on ship.

The Royal Marines Service Medal Royal Marines Meritorious Service Medal (1849-1947); (service est. 1664)

The Royal Marines Regiment Medal

The Duke of York and Albany Medal The Duke and York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot 1664.

The Royal Marines Association Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medal 1946 – 2006 (est. 1946)

The Royal Marine Commando Medal (est. 14 Feb 1942)

The Submarine Service Medal (service est. 1901)

The Royal Naval Patrol Service Medal (service est. 1939)

The Sea Service Medal

The Maritime Service Medal

The Army Service Medal; version 1 (service est. 1771)

The Army Service Medal; version 2 (service est. 1771)

The Army, Regimental Service Medals Regiment medals arranged in the order of service.

  • Army Air Corps Medal
  • Army Catering Corps Medal
  • Blues and Royals Medal
  • Coldstream Guards Medal
  • Commemorative Service Medal
  • Grenadier Guards Medal
  • Household Cavalry Medal
  • Irish Guards Medal
  • Life Guards Medal
  • Light Dragoons Medal
  • Light Infantry Medal
  • Parachute Regiment Medal
  • REME Medal
  • Rifles Medal
  • Royal Anglian Regiment Medal
  • Royal Army Medical Corps Medal
  • Royal Army Ordnance Corps Medal
  • Royal Army Pay Corps Medal
  • Royal Army Service Corps Medal
  • Royal Artillery Medal
  • Royal Corps of Transport Medal
  • Royal Dragoon Guards Medal
  • Royal Engineers Medal
  • Royal Green Jackets Medal
  • Royal Gurkha Rifles Medal
  • Royal Irish Regiment Medal
  • Royal Military Police Medal
  • Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Medal
  • Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Medal
  • Royal Signals Medal
  • Royal Tank Regiment Medal
  • SAS Medal
  • Women’s Royal Army Corps Medal

The Black Watch, Royal Highland Regimental Medal 1739 – 2006

The Royal Air Force Service Medal Royal Air Force Meritorious Service Medal (1918-1928) (service est. 1918)

The Royal Air Force Squadron Medal Squadron Medal arranged in order of service.

The Women's Auxiliary Air Force Medal (est. 1939)

The Royal Air Force Regiment Medal (est.1942)

The Aviation Service Medal

The Allied Special Forces Medal (est. 1940)

The National Service Commemorative Medal National Service Medal version 1 1939 – 1960

The Medal for National Service National Service Medal version 2 1939 – 1960

The Bevin Boys Medal 1942 – 1948

The Land Army Medal

The Combined Operations Medal

The International Commando Service Medal

The International Police Service Medal The Colonial Police Long Service Medal

The International Fire-fighters Medal Colonial Fire Brigades Long Service Medal

The International Prisons Service Medal The Colonial Prison Service Medal

The Volunteer Service Medal Volunteer Medal version 1 The Volunteer Long Service Medal

The Voluntary Service Medal Volunteer Medal version 2 The Volunteer Long Service Medal

The Territorial Army Centennial Medal Territorial Decoration

Merchant Naval Service Medal Royal Naval Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Commemorative Cadet Forces Medal Cadet Forces Medal

The International Ambulance and Medics Medal Ambulance Service (Emergency Duties) Long Service and Good Conduct

The International Emergency Services Medal

Rhodesia Independence Commemorative Medal 1970 Rhodesia Medal

The Women's Service Medal (Military) The Woman's Royal Voluntary Service Medal

The Women's Service Medal (Civilian) civilian version has the white stripe omitted.

The Magistrates Medal Colonial Special Constabulary Medal


References

The details of the BCM have been gleaned from these Medallists.