General Service Medal (1962 GSM)

Era: 1962 - Present

The General Service Medal 1962 (GSM 1962, also refered sometimes as the Campaign Service Medal.) was introduced by the Ministry of Defence Order NO.61 dated 6th October 1962. It was to combine the three services (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force) would have the one identical General Service Medal, with the appropriate clasp issued to the recipient.  The 1962 GSM was awarded until 2007, when it was replaced by the Operational Service Medal.

If the recipient had already been awarded the medal, then the additional clasp would be added to those already on the medal. Like its predecessors, the Naval General Service Medal (NSGM) and General Service Medal 1918-62 (GSM 1918-62), the GSM 1962 was not issued without a clasp. The clasps were worn on the GSM 1962 in the order that they were earned (reading from the bottom of the ribbon upwards), which is not necessarily the chronological order of the clasps institution.


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 - 32 mm wide ribbon is purple with two outer stripes of dark green. These are the same colours as the GSM 1918–62, but with different proportions of these two colours being used for this medal.

General Service Medal (1962) Ribbon
General Service Medal (1962) Ribbon

Type – Campaign medal.

Eligibility- British and commonwealth forces

Awarded for – Campaign Service.

Campaign – Minor campaigns 1962 – 2007

Description – Silver disk, 36mm Diameter

The 1962 GSM is circular Silver

 The medal shows the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The reverse bears the words ‘FOR CAMPAIGN SERVICE' under a crown, all surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves.

The 32 mm wide ribbon is purple with two outer stripes of dark green. These are the same colours as the GSM 1918–62, but with different proportions of these two colours being used for this medal.

GSMs have the name, rank, service number and regiment or corps of the awardee annotated on the rim of the medal.  It’s in small sans serif capitals for the UK. Australia and New Zealand issues in larger letters, no unit given on Australian types. This medal has since 2005 allegedly been laser engraved in a similar style to the Iraq Medal


Clasps are commonly, though not strictly correctly, also referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating 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 borne nearest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, though they can be found in the wrong order. 

13 Clasps were awarded to the 1962 GSM. The maximum awarded to any one individual appears to have been six.

Borneo                                    (24th December 1962 - 11th August 1966)

Awarded to soldiers that served under Major General Walker fighting Indonesian insurgents in Malaya.

When General Walter Walker arrived in Borneo in December 1962, to confront the Indonesian 'volunteers' infiltrating Malaysia, there were no British bases in Borneo, few tarmac-coated roads and only one deep sea port at Labuan.

General Walker eventually established a British and Commonwealth force, which came to dominate the border area and eventually defeated the persistent incursions into the area. This conflict claimed the lives of 114 Commonwealth personnel killed, with 180 wounded.

Radfan                                               (25th April - 31st July 1964)

Awarded to members of 815 Naval Air Squadron, sailors on HMS Centaur, and soldiers that fought the campaign mounted by British personnel, with Federation troops, against the Egyptian/Yemeni backed Radfan tribesmen. Their main objective was to attempt to close the main road from Aden to Yemen's frontier town of Dhala. However, the campaign mounted by British personnel, with Federation troops, quickly and effectively defeated the tribesmen.

South Arabia                                     (1st August 1964 – 30th November 1967)

This campaign is related to the Radfan Campaign, because both were Egyptian-inspired attempts to end the British presence in Aden and end the embryonic Federation of South Arabia.

The terrorist campaign of 1964-67 was a rival affair between two groups attempting to gain control of the area, and ensure that the British did not retain a military presence after the planned independence of the Federation of Saudi Arabia; this was planned for no later than 1968.

This 3 yearlong campaign saw numerous terrorist attacks on both civilian and military targets. In both Rafan and Aden, the British Army suffered 90 personnel killed and 510 wounded.

The qualifying period was 30 days service in the Federation of South Arabia between 1 August 1964 and 30 November 1967.

Malay Peninsula                                (17th August 1964 – 11th August 1966)

This campaign was an extension of the conflict in Borneo where British and Malaysian troops were operating against Indonesian insurgents. In 1964, the Indonesian President decided to attack the Malaysian mainland. Parachute landings were made in Johore while other troops managed to land across the Malacca Straits from Indonesian Sumatra.

It was for operations in the Malaysian jungle against these troops that this clasp was instituted, as opposed to the concurrent Borneo operations.

The qualifying period was 30 days' service in the Malaysian Peninsula-Singapore area between 17 August 1964 and 11 August 1966.

South Vietnam                                  (24th December 1962 – 29th May 1964)

This clasp was instituted by Royal Warrant dated 8 June 1968 for award to Australian personnel. Only 68 clasps were issued, and all 68 went to members of the Australian Army Training Team.

The various qualifying periods, between 24 December 1962 and 29 May 1964, were

30 days' service in ships operating in inland waters or off the Vietnamese coast.

1 day in the service of a land unit.

1 operational sortie.

30 days' service on an official visit.

For service after 29 May 1964, the personnel were awarded The Australian Vietnam Medal.

Northern Ireland                              (14th August 1969)

This clasp was instituted for award to personnel involved in law and order activities in Northern Ireland. This clasp is still being issued. There is currently no terminating date for qualifying service.

The general qualifying period is a minimum of 30 days' service between 14 August 1969 and some future date. The 30 days' service does not have to be composed of consecutive days. Should the qualifying period be cut short due to injury or death, then the completed days are counted as sufficient for the award of this clasp.

Dhofar                                                (1st October 1969 – 30th September 1976)

In 1965 the mountain tribesmen of Dhofar (now Oman) rose in revolt against the regime of Sultan Sa'ib bin Taimur. The revolt worsened in 1967 when the British left the adjacent State of Aden. The new communist government in Yemen provided an important base for the rebels.

By 1970 it was clear that the Sultan would lose the war unless some action was taken. On 23 July 1970, the Sultan's son staged a coup which provided the required change of direction. Some of the previous Sultan's excesses were removed, and the new leader expanded his armed forces and requested British assistance.

The British Special Air Forces (SAS) provided training for his local forces, the Royal Engineers provided military and civil engineering, and RAF officers provided the backbone of the new Sultan's air force. In addition to these contributions, many British officers were seconded to the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF). As well as the British contribution, Jordan and Iran also provided assistance.

During this period, the British forces suffered 24 killed and 55 wounded.

The qualifying period for service was between 1 October 1969 and 30 September 1976.

Lebanon                                             (7th February 1983 – 9th March 1984)

In 1982, in attempt to remove PLO bases which were attacking Israel, Israel invaded Lebanon and struck north towards Lebanon's capital Beirut. However, they quickly became embroiled in the local Lebanese politics.

In October 1982, an US-inspired multinational peacekeeping force was sent into Beirut. It was composed of troops from USA, France, Italy and UK. Though all the other contingents suffered casualties (241 US Marines in one attack and 58 French troops in another suicide attack), the British troops carried out their assignments with no loss of life.

However, as the force was increasingly becoming just a target for the various factions, it was withdrawn during February - March 1984.

Mine Clearance – Gulf of Suez        (15thAugust – 15th October 1984)

For service in the Gulf of Suez between 15 August 1984 and 15 October 1984.

Gulf                                                    (17th November 1986 – 28th February 1989)

For service between 17 November 1986 and 31 October 1988, and mine countermeasures in the Persian Gulf up to 28 February 1989.

Kuwait                                               (8th March – 30th September 1991)

The qualification will be service of 30 days or more continuously in Kuwait, and its territorial waters, and the Northern Gulf north of 28 30N and west of 49 30E between 8 March and 30 September 1991.

Individuals who had less than 30 days qualifying service towards the Gulf Medal 1990-91, and who therefore did not qualify for that medal, may count that service towards qualification for the clasp `Kuwait'. There may be a gap between 7 March 1991 and deployment in Kuwait and the Northern Gulf, but each period of qualifying service must be continuous.

N. Iraq & S. Turkey             (6th April -17th July 1991)

For service in Northern Iraq or Southern Turkey between 6 April 1991 and 17 July 1991.

The qualification will be service of 30 days or more continuously or three operational sorties in Northern Iraq west of 44 45E and north of 36 00N and Southern Turkey, including its territorial waters, east of 35 00E and south of 38 00N between 6 April and 17 July 1991.

Air Operations Iraq              (16th July 1991 – 30th April 2003)

Awarded to RAF personnel and some members of the Army (mainly Royal Engineers and attached personnel) for patrolling the no fly zones and airfield repair in Iraq and Royal Navy (RN) personnel patrolling the northern Persian Gulf between July 1991 and April 2003. Also awarded to members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) who served on the Arabian Gulf Ready Tanker (AGRT) during above dates.


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


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’


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