Defence Medal (United Kingdom)

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The Defence Medal
WW2 Defence Medal.jpg
TypeCampaign medal
Awarded for3 years, 360, 180 or 90 days, depending on area and nature of service
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Presented by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India
EligibilityMilitary and certain civilian service
Campaign(s)Second World War
EstablishedMay 1945
Ribbon - Defence Medal.png
Ribbon bar
Order of wear
Next (higher) France and Germany Star
Next (lower) War Medal

The Defence Medal is a campaign medal instituted by the United Kingdom in May 1945, to be awarded to citizens of the British Commonwealth for both non-operational military and certain types of civilian war service during the Second World War. [1] [2]

Contents

Institution

The duration of the Second World War in Europe was from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, while in the Pacific Theatre it continued until 2 September 1945. The Defence Medal was instituted by the United Kingdom in May 1945, to be awarded to British military and civilian personnel for a range of services in the United Kingdom, and to Commonwealth and British Colonial personnel who served from or outside their home countries in a non-operational area or in an area subject to threat, such as attacks from the air. [2] [3]

Award criteria

The Defence Medal was awarded for non-operational service in the Armed Forces, the Home Guard, the Civil Defence Service and other approved civilian services during the period from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 for those serving in certain specified territories in the Far East and the Pacific), [4] with an earlier end date for members of organisations that stood-down before May 1945. [1] [5]

Military personnel

In the United Kingdom, those eligible included military personnel working in headquarters, on training bases and airfields for the duration of the War in Europe from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, and service by members of the Home Guard during its existence from 14 May 1940 to 31 December 1944. The medal was also awarded for non-operational service overseas in the Dominions of the Commonwealth and in British Colonies. [2] [5]

Those who qualified for one or more Campaign Star could also be awarded the Defence Medal. [1]

Civilian services

Eligible civilian service in the United Kingdom included, but was not confined to, civilian services whose members were eligible for Chevrons for war service. [1]

Qualifying service

The length of qualifying service required for the award of the Defence Medal varied, depending on where and in what role an individual served. [3]

The medal was usually awarded to Canadians for six months service in Britain between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945. [6]

Service by Indian Army personnel in India did not count as qualifying service for the Defence Medal, since such service qualified for the India Service Medal, awarded to members of the Indian Armed Forces instead of the Defence Medal for three years of non-operational service in India. [5] [7]

Country of residence

Regarding service outside the country of residence, five territories were classified as single contiguous areas. Movements by personnel from one territory to another within the defined groups were not regarded as "outside the country of residence" in terms of qualification for the award of the Defence Medal. [5]

  • Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Eire, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, including all the islands adjacent to Great Britain.
  • Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Transjordan.
  • Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Zanzibar.
  • Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast.
  • The Union of South Africa, South-West Africa, Basutoland, Swaziland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate.

Threatened territories

The following territories were classified as non-operational areas subjected to enemy air attacks or closely threatened during the periods as shown: [5]

Europe
  • United Kingdom from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945. [5]
Mediterranean Area
  • Anglo-Egyptian Sudan from 28 November 1941 to 8 May 1945.
  • Corsica from 5 October 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • Cyprus from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Egypt from 13 May 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • Gibraltar from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Malta from 13 May 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • North Africa from 13 May 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • Palestine from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Pantellaria from 12 June 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • Sardinia from 20 September 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • Sicily from 18 August 1943 to 8 May 1945.
  • Sinai from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Syria and Lebanon from 12 July 1941 to 8 May 1945. [5]
Indian Ocean
  • Aden from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Andaman Islands from 3 September 1939 to 22 March 1942.
  • Bengal and Assam, west of the Brahmaputra, from 1 January 1944 to 2 September 1945.
  • Ceylon from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Cocos/Keeling Islands from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Iraq from 1 June 1941 to 8 May 1945.
  • Maldive Islands from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Mauritius from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945.
  • Nicobar Islands from 3 September 1939 to 22 March 1942.
  • Persia from 29 August 1941 to 8 May 1945.
  • Rodriquez Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Seychelles from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945. [5]
Pacific Area
  • British North Borneo from 3 September 1939 to 30 December 1941.
  • Brunei from 3 September 1939 to 7 December 1941.
  • Christmas Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Cook Islands from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Fanning Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Fiji Islands from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Hong-Kong from 3 September 1939 to 7 December 1941.
  • Malaya from 3 September 1939 to 7 December 1941.
  • New Caledonia from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • New Hebrides from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Norfolk Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Northern Territory of Australia, north of latitude 14°30' South, from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Phoenix Islands from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Rarotonga Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Sarawak from 3 September 1939 to 7 December 1941.
  • Tonga Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Torres Strait Islands from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Union Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Washington Island from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
  • Western Samoa from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945. [5]
West Atlantic
  • Falkland Islands from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945. [5]

Special criteria

The Defence Medal was awarded without regard to the required period of service to those:

Description

The Defence Medal is a disk, 36 millimetres (1.42 inches) in diameter. The non-swivelling straight bar suspender is attached to the medal with a single-toe claw mount and a pin through the upper edge of the medal. The British issue medals were struck in cupro-nickel, while those awarded in Canada were struck in silver. [3] [6]

Obverse

The obverse, designed by Humphrey Paget, [8] shows the bareheaded effigy of King George VI, facing left. Around the perimeter is the legend "GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMP." (George 6th, by the grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India). [3]

Reverse

The reverse, designed by Harold Parker, [8] shows the Royal Crown resting on an oak sapling, flanked by a lion and a lioness above stylised waves. At the top left is the year "1939" and at the top right the year "1945". The exergue has the words "THE DEFENCE MEDAL" in two lines. [3]

Naming

The British House of Commons decided that Second World War campaign medals awarded to British forces would be issued unnamed. [9] Medals awarded to Australians, Indians [10] and South Africans were impressed with the recipient's name and details.

Ribbon
Emblem denoting a King's Commendation for Brave Conduct KCBribbon.jpg
Emblem denoting a King's Commendation for Brave Conduct

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 4½ millimetres wide green band, a 1 millimetre wide black band and a 4½ millimetres wide green band, repeated and separated by a 12 millimetres wide orange band. The flame-coloured orange centre band and the green bands symbolise enemy attacks on Britain's green and pleasant land while the narrow black bands represent the black-outs against air attacks. [3]

Recipients of a King's Commendation for Brave Conduct, earned while performing service qualifying for the Defence Medal, wore an emblem of silver laurel leaves on the medal ribbon. [11]

The ribbon for the Defence Medal and those of the Second World War Campaign Stars, with the exception of the Arctic Star, were devised by King George VI. [1] [12]

Order of wear

The order of wear of the Second World War campaign stars was determined by their respective campaign start dates and by the campaign's duration. This is the order worn, even when a recipient qualified for them in a different order. The Defence Medal and War Medal are worn after the stars. [13] The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was worn after the Defence Medal and before the War Medal, with other Commonwealth war medals worn after the War Medal. [13]

The Defence Medal is therefore worn as shown: [13]

Ribbon - France and Germany Star.png Ribbon - Defence Medal.png Ribbon - War Medal.png

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals in Time of War (May 1945). "Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal (Regulations)". London: HM Stationery Office. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 GOV.UK – Defence and armed forces – guidance – Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility – Defence Medal: 1939 to 1945 (Access date 20 April 2015)
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 New Zealand Defence Force – British Commonwealth War And Campaign Medals Awarded To New Zealanders – The Defence Medal (Access date 20 April 2015)
  4. 1 2 Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 97. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 New Zealand Defence Force – The Defence Medal Eligibility Rules (Access date 21 April 2015)
  6. 1 2 – Defence Medal (Access date 22 April 2015)
  7. Medals of the Second World War 1939–1945 – India (Access date 4 July 2018)
  8. 1 2 Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin (1988). British Battles and Medals. London: Spink. pp. 252–3.
  9. Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. p. 246. Published by Spink, London. 1988.
  10. Example of named medals to an Indian (Access date 4 July 2018)
  11. "London Gazette: 24 July 1951 Supplement: 39294 Page:4035".
  12. Forces War Records – Medals – 1939–1945 Star (Access date 2 April 2015)
  13. 1 2 3 "No. 40204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1954. p. 3538.
  14. New Zealand Defence Force – The 1939–45 Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  15. New Zealand Defence Force – The Atlantic Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 4 April 2015)
  16. New Zealand Defence Force – The Arctic Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 4 July 2018)
  17. New Zealand Defence Force – The Air Crew Europe Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  18. New Zealand Defence Force – The Africa Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  19. New Zealand Defence Force – The Pacific Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 9 April 2015)
  20. New Zealand Defence Force – The Burma Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  21. New Zealand Defence Force – The Italy Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  22. New Zealand Defence Force – The France and Germany Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  23. New Zealand Defence Force – The War Medal 1939–45 Eligibility Rules (Access date 22 April 2015)