Australia Service Medal (1939-45)


Established in November, 1949, the Australia Service Medal 1939-45 was a campaign medal that recognized the service by Australia's armed forces, Mercantile Marine and Volunteer Defence Corps during World War II.

The Australia Service Medal was originally awarded to those personnel who served at home or overseas for at least 18 month full-time service, or three years part-time service, between 3rd September, 1939, and 2nd September, 1945. Members of the Australian Mercantile Marine must have served the qualifying time at sea.

On 16th August, 1996, the qualifying time was reduced to 30 days full-time or 90 days part-time service.

To be eligible for the medal a serviceman or woman must have been honourably discharged from the Australian Armed Forces.

The Australia Service Medal is the first distinctive Australian medal in the Imperial system of honours and awards.


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 –  33mm wide with a khaki central stripe, flanked by two narrow red stripes, and edge stripes, one of dark blue the other of light blue. The khaki represents the Australian nature of the award, and the red, dark blue and light blue represent the Army, Navy and Air Force respectively.

Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 ribbon
Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 ribbon

Type – Campaign Medal

Awarded for – Service in World War Two, 18 months in Australia or overseas.

Campaign – Australia's armed forces, Mercantile Marine and Volunteer Defence Corps during World War II.

Established – November 1949.

Total Awarded – 43,723 plus

Clasps – None issued.

Suspender – Straight (plain)

Description – The Australia Service Medal 1939–45 is a circular with a diameter of 36mm and made of nickel-silver.  The obverse bears the crowned effigy of King George VI.  The reverse of the medal shows the Commonwealth Coat of Arms surrounded by the words “Australia Service Medal 1939-1945”.


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


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’


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

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