The Defence Medal was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in World War II. It was instituted to recognise both military and some types of civilian service.
This type of service in the UK includes, but is not confined to, those civilian personnel who worked as members of:
Categories of Entitlement
- Ex-member of the Armed Force or of the Women’s Military Auxiliary Services
- Home Guard
- Medical Services (overseas)
Joint War Organisation of British Red Cross
Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem
(British Red Cross Society)
American Field Service
- Philanthropic Bodies (Overseas)
Army Scripture Readers’ Association
Catholic Women’s League
Christian Scientists (Officiating Minister).
Christian Scientists Welfare Workers( Librarians and Secretaries )
Church of England Soldiers’,Sailors’ and Airmen’s Institute
Church of Scotland.
Incorporated Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Help Society
Methodist and United Board Churches
Mission to Mediterranean Garrisons.
Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s’Families Association
Young Men’s Christian Association
Young Women’s Christian Association
- Voluntary Societies under the Council of British Society for Relief Abroad
Catholic Committee for Relief Abroad
Guide International Relief Service
International Voluntary Service for Peace
Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad
Joint War Organisation of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
Save the Children Fund, Registered Charity
Scout International Relief Service
World Student Relief ( also known as International Student Service) ( London Committee).
Young Women’s Christian Association.
- N.A.A.F.I. ( Overseas)
N.A.A.F.I.Women’s Voluntary Service
Civilian Uniformed Employees.
Entertainment National Service Association
- Other Organisations and independent members ( Overseas)
Allied Expeditionary Force Club
Army Schoolmistresses, Malta.
Assistant Commissioners H.M Forces war Savings Committee
Civil Defence Service Overseas Column
National Fire Service Overseas Column
Technical Representative Civilian . R.E.M.E
Telecom Personnel (Cable and Wireless Ltd
War Correspondents including Americans who served between 3/9/39 and 8/12/41 inclusive
War Office King’s Messengers
Women’s Voluntary Service A.W.S.
Women’s Transport Service A.W.S.
Women’s Transport Service F.A.N.Y.Special Parties.
- Civil Defence Warden service including Shelter Warden
- Civil Defence Rescue Service, including former First Aid Party Services, or in London, Stretcher Party Services
- Civil Defence Decontamination Service
- Civil Defence Report and Control Service
- Civil Defence Messenger Service.
- Civil Defence Ambulance Service including sitting Case Cars.
- Civil Defence First Aid Service, including First Aid Posts and Points. Public Cleaning Centres. Mobile Cleaning Units and the Nursing Service for public air-raid shelters.
- Civil Defence Gas Identification Service.
- Rest Centre Service.
- Emergency Food Services including Queen’s Messenger Convoy Services
- Canteen Services.
- Administration and Information Centre Services not Ministry of Information Services
- Mortuary Services
- Fire guards
who performed duties under a local authority in any areas where the establishment of a fire guard organisation was compulsory or was approved by the Regional Commissioner in Northern Ireland, the Ministry responsible being service which was qualifying service for the award of Chevrons for war services
including civil defence and Fire brigade personnel who performed duties at government or business premises under arrangements made under the Fire Guard Business and Government Premises Order 1943, or any previous provision or under the corresponding Order in Northern Ireland being service which was qualifying service for the award of Chevron for war service
- E.N.S.A (Entertainments National Service Association)
- Women’s Voluntary Service for Civil Defence
being members who were eligible for war service red chevrons by reasons that they performed on behalf of a local authority duties analogous to those, of the eligible local authority civil defence services, and were engaged in a section of the W.V.S, which had,or would have had, operational functions during or immediately after enemy Reserve.. authorities, who do not qualify for the W.V.S members who were enrolled members of one of the eligible local authority services should apply as laid down for categories 8 - 19 above.
- Civil Nursing Reserve.
- Nurses or Midwives in hospitals for which Government Department or Local Authorities are responsible, or in the recognised voluntary hospitals
- National Fire Services including services in a local authority Fire Brigade or the Auxiliary Fire Services prior to nationalisation.
- Police Regular Police, First Police Reserve, Police War Reserve, Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps, Police Auxiliary Messenger Service, Special Constabulary.
- Royal Marine Police Special Reserve..
- Admiralty Civil Police.
- War Department Constabulary.
- Air Ministry Constabulary.
- Railway and Dock Police
- Civil Defence Services set up by Railway Dock authority and Canal Undertakings
- American Ambulance. Great Britain
- Civil Air Transport, Air crew only
- Air Transport Auxiliary, Air crew only
- Civil Defence Reserve
- Kent County Civil Defence Mobile Reserve
- West Sussex County Civil Defence Mobile attacks
- Coast Guard
- Civil Servants forming departmental Civil Defence organisations
- Lighthouse keepers who served under the three general lighthouse Authorities, and keepers of Light Vessel under those authority, who do not qualify for the 1939 - 45 Star
- Port of London Authority River Emergency Service
- Clyde River Patrol.
- Royal Observer Corps.
- Volunteer Stretcher Bearers Emergency Hospital Scheme
- Male Orderlies in Casualty Evacuation Trains Emergency Medical Service.
- Emergency Information Officers and their helpers( who served under the Ministry of Information, and including Deputy E.I.Os.Announcers, Drivers, and Messengers, if engage in a section of the Service which had, operational functions during or immediately after enemy attack.
- R.A.F. Education Officers serving in the United Kingdom
- Enrolled lifeboat men R.N.L.I. who do not qualify for the 1939 - 45 Star.
The qualifying time required depending on the area served is:
• UK - 1080 days
• Overseas non-operational - 360 days
Overseas non-operational in an area deemed to be closely threatened or subject to air attack -180 days
This medal's qualification requirements are numerous and varied. They have been summarised into the following points.
• Service in the Forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service last at least three years.
• Non-operational service in the Forces overseas or outside the country of residence, providing that this service lasted for at least one year. If the territory was threatened by the enemy, or subjected to air raids, the duration requirement was reduced to six months.
• Civil defence in military operational areas providing these civil defence activities were not eligible for campaign stars.
• Members of any of the civilian services entitled to wear chevrons for their war service were eligible for this medal.
• Members of the Home Guard resident in the UK, who had completed at least three years service.
• Recipients of the George Cross or George Medal, regardless of their occupation, provided the George Cross or George Medal was won for service in civil defence.
The Defence Medal was also awarded for non-operational service overseas, for example in India or South Africa.
Materials: The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issued 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 – Centre flame coloured with green edges, symbolical of the enemy attack on our green land. The black-out will be forever commemorated by two thin black stripes down the centre of the green one.
Type – Campaign medal
Eligibility – British and Commonwealth forces
Awarded for – Campaign service
Established – 16th August 1945
Clasps – None
Designers – Obverse, T. H. Paget and the reverse, H. Wilson Parker.
Description – Cupro-nickel or silver disk 36mm dia. The Canadian version was in 0.800 silver. The obverse of the award has the coinage head of King George VI, facing left, and the legend: ‘GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMP:’ (George 6th, by the grace of god, king of all the Britain’s, defender of the faith, emperor of India) . The reverse shows the Royal Crown resting above a small oak tree and flanked by a lion and lioness. The dates ‘1939’ and ‘1945’ appear in the top left and right respectively on the reverse, whilst beneath are the words ‘THE DEFENCE MEDAL’ in two lines.
Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’
Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from
<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Defence_Medal_(United_Kingdom) >
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