Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal

Era: 1899 - 1931

Instituted by Queen Victoria on the 18th May 1899 the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal is a military long service award for part-time members of all ranks in any of the organized military forces of the British Colonies, Protectorates and Dependencies throughout the British Empire.

The Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal could be awarded for twenty years of service as a part-time member of any rank in any of the Colonial Auxiliary Forces. Qualifying service could be had by serving in the forces of more than one Colony or Protectorate. Service in the Militia and Volunteer Forces of the United Kingdom was also reckonable, so long as at least half of all qualifying service had been rendered in the forces of the Dominion, Colonies or Protectorates. Service on the West Coast of Africa counted as double time. Service on the permanent staff was not reckonable.

Officers holding the medal who were subsequently awarded the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration were not required to surrender the medal, but were not permitted to wear it any more until such time as the full periods of service required for both decoration and medal were completed.

On 25th January 1923, the Royal Warrant was amended in respect of part-time members who had actually served, or accepted the obligation of serving, beyond the boundaries of the Dominions, Colonies, Dependencies or Protectorates during World War One. Such service on the active list was reckoned two-fold as qualifying service towards the requisite twenty years, whether such service was in the Military Forces, Naval Forces or Air Force.

The Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal was superseded on 23rd September 1931 by the Efficiency Medal with the appropriate colonial or dominion bar in an effort to standardise recognition across the Empire.


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 Green (The same ribbon was used for the Volunteer Long Service Medal, the Volunteer Long Service Medal for India and the Colonies and the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers Decoration)

Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal Ribbon
Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal Ribbon

Suspender - Straight

Type – Military long service medal

Eligibility – All ranks of part-time Colonial Forces

Awarded for – Twenty years’ service

Established – 1899

Description – Silver medal 36mm diameter. The obverse shows the effigy of the reigning monarch, of which there were three variations: A veiled Queen Victoria, King Edward VII in Field Marshals uniform and King George V also wearing a field marshal’s uniform. The reverse bears a shield with a crown on top and enclosed on the shield in five lines is the inscription ‘FOR LONG SERVICE IN THE COLONIAL AUXILIARY FORCES’


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