The General Service Medal was a campaign medal awarded to men and women of both the British Army and the Royal Air Force (the Royal Navy had their own equivalent medal). This decoration was instituted in 1918 to recognise service within a range of military operations where the service merited an award, but the campaign itself was not significant enough to merit the creation of an independent medal.
The particular campaign or service which earned this award was indicated by a small bar worn on the ribbon of the medal, which would bear the name of operation moulded onto this clasp. There were several clasps which could be awarded for a 1918 General Service Medal:
South Persia, Kurdistan, Iraq, N W Persia, Southern Desert Iraq, North Kurdistan, Palestine, S E Asia, Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-49, Bomb and Mine Clearance 1949-1956, Berlin Airlift, Malaya, Canal Zone, Cyprus, Near East, Arabian Peninsula and Brunei.
The criteria for the award of the clasps varied from a minimum of 1 day of service to 30 days, with the Bomb and Mine Clearance clasps requiring 180 days active service. Due to the nature of this medal a man could earn more than one of these clasps – in these instances he would wear the multiple clasps upon the one medal.
This collection is transcribed from the medal rolls which recorded the men who were eligible for a selection of these clasps and the resultant medals. It is a particularly useful collection as amongst its considerable detail, is not only the unit with which they served on the operation where they earned the medal but also who they were with when the medal was conferred – so you can start to build up an idea of their service history.
Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.
Original Source: National Archives reference WO 100 series.