|The Defence Medal|
|Awarded for||3 years, 360, 180 or 90 days, depending on area and nature of service|
|Presented by||the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India|
|Eligibility||Military and certain civilian service|
|Campaign(s)||Second World War|
|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.
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.
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),with an earlier end date for members of organisations that stood-down before May 1945.
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.
Those who qualified for one or more Campaign Star could also be awarded the Defence Medal.
Eligible civilian service in the United Kingdom included, but was not confined to, civilian services whose members were eligible for Chevrons for war 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.
The medal was usually awarded to Canadians for six months service in Britain between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945.
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.
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.
The following territories were classified as non-operational areas subjected to enemy air attacks or closely threatened during the periods as shown:
The Defence Medal was awarded without regard to the required period of service to those:
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.
The obverse, designed by Humphrey Paget,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).
The reverse, designed by Harold Parker,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.
The British House of Commons decided that Second World War campaign medals awarded to British forces would be issued unnamed.Medals awarded to Australians, Indians and South Africans were impressed with the recipient's name and details.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.
The Defence Medal is therefore worn as shown:
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