Air Force Medal (AFM)

The Air Force Medal was established by King George V on 3rd June, 1918, it was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force serving within the Commonwealth, for “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy”. The award was the other rank’ equivalent to the Air Forces Cross, which was awarded to commissioned officers and Warrant Officers, although the latter could also be awarded the AFM. It ranked below the AFC in order of precedence, between the Distinguished Flying Medal and the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

Recipients of the Air Force Medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "AFM" and a straight slip-on silver bar is awarded for a further act that would have warranted the medal. The year of the award is engraved on the back of the bar.

In 1993 as a result of the review of gallantry awards and changes to the operational gallantry awarded system, the Air Force Medal has now been replaced by the Distinguished Flying Cross which is available to both officers and other ranks.

Description:

Materials:   The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:    Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – Consists of alternate red and white stripes leaning 45 degrees to the left. (Originally horizontal narrow strips of white and crimson until July 1919)

Air Force Medal ribbon bar (1918-1919).
Air Force Medal ribbon bar (1918-1919).
Air Force Medal ribbon bar.
Air Force Medal ribbon bar.
Air Force Medal and Bar ribbon bar
Air Force Medal and Bar ribbon bar

Suspender - Ornate

Type – Gallantry award

Eligibility – British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces non-commissioned officers and men

Awarded for – act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy

Established – 3rd June, 1918

Post nominals - AFM

NamingFirst World War medals have the names of recipients impressed in large seriffed lettering, whereas WWII medals are rather coarsely engraved.

Clasps – By order of the Royal Warrant, a bar could be awarded to recognise a second award of the Air Force Medal

Description – An oval, silver medal, 34mm wide and 42mm long. The obverse shows a bareheaded effigy of the reigning sovereign, as follows: King George V: A bareheaded coinage effigy, facing left, and the legend: “GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:” King George VI: A bareheaded coinage effigy, facing left, and the legend: “GEORGIVS VI D: G: BR: OMN: REX F. D: IND: IMP:” Queen Elizabeth II: A bareheaded effigy, facing right, with the legend: “ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FID: DEF:”

The reverse shows Hermes (facing right), mounted on a hawk in flight and bestowing a laurel wreath. The date "1918" appears behind Hermes on the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II medals.

This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals

Sources:

Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’

Medal Year Book 2006

< gov.uk/medals-campaigns-descriptions-and-eligibility>

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Air_Force_Medal >

Which are released under the terms of

Creativecommons.org/licenses/by-s/3.0/.

 

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