Burma Star


The Burma Star was a campaign medal awarded for service in World War II to the forces of the British Commonwealth, between 11th December, 1941 and 2nd September, 1945, both dates inclusive. This campaign medal was also awarded for certain specified service in China, Hong Kong, Malaya and Sumatra.

  • Hong Kong - between 26th December, 1941, and 2nd September, 1945.
  • China and Malaya - between 16th February, 1942, and 2nd September, 1945
  • Sumatra - between 24th March, 1942 and 2nd September 1945.

Qualifying details for the Royal and Merchant Navy.

  1. The recipient must first have earned the 1939-45 Star for six months service in operations before eligibility for the Burma Star could commence. It is then awarded for service at sea, restricted to the Bay of Bengal, and enclosed by a line running from the southern-most point of Ceylon for a distance of 300 miles south, then to a point 300 miles west of the southern-most point of Sumatra, and continuing east to the western side of the Sunda Strait, including the Strait of Malacca.
  2. Personnel who served ashore also qualified for this campaign medal under the same rules as the Army.
  3. Certain special conditions apply governing award of the Star for those Naval personnel entering service less than 6 months before the end of the qualifying period.

Qualifying details for the Army.

  1. Army personnel qualified through service in any part of Burma between 11th December, 1941 and 2nd September, 1945. Service in the Indian provinces of Bengal and Assam in the period 1st May, 1942, to 31st December, 1943 and in the same area between 1st January, 1944 and 2nd September, 1945 also qualified.  Also included was service in China and Malaya between 16th February, 1942 and 2nd September, 1945.

Qualifying details for the Royal Air Force.

  1. Air force aircrew had to make one operational sortie. Air Force ground crew had the same restrictions as the Army.

British uniform regulations stipulated that the Pacific Star would not be awarded to a recipient of the Burma Star. Those recipients who qualified for both campaign medals of the Pacific Star and Burma Star were awarded a Silver rosette to be worn of the Star that was first earned when the ribbons alone are worn.When the Burma Star medal is worn by the recipient he is entitled to wear a ‘Bar’ with the title ‘Pacific’ attached to the ribbon.

Those recipients awarded the Burma Star medal or the Burma Star clasps on the Pacific Star were able to join the Burma Star Association.


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 – Dark blue overlaid with a central red stripe to represent the Commonwealth Forces and two narrow stripes of bright orange to represent the sun.

Burma Star ribbon
Burma Star ribbon

Type – Campaign medal

Eligibility – One day operational service, or one sortie for aircrew (six months for Naval personnel)

Awarded for – Service

Campaign – Service in the Pacific Theatre between 11th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945.

Designer – The Star campaign medals were designed by the Mint engravers.

Naming – All issued unnamed by the British Government.  Although Stars issued to Australian and South African personnel have recipient names impressed.

Suspender - Ring

Clasps – One issued

Description – The Burma Star is a six–pointed star of yellow copper zinc alloy, with a height of 44mm and a maximum width of 38mm.  The obverse of the star is comparable in design to the Gwalior Star from the campaign of 1843.  The centre of the star is the Royal Cipher of King George VI, surmounted by a crown overlaid on a circlet which bears the title of the award ‘The Burma Star.’  The reverse of this medal is the same as other WWII Star campaign medals and plain, with no naming. 

Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle.  The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned.  Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order. 


Awarded to those who subsequently qualified for the Pacific Star.

When the ribbon is worn alone a silver rosette ribbon emblem is worn to denote the award of a clasp.


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


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’

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

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

<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Burma_Star >

Which are released under the terms of


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