Approved in 1946, the New Zealand War Service Medal (NZWSM) was a campaign medal for service in World War II. It was granted to personnel of the New Zealand Armed Forces, including the Naval Auxiliary Patrol Service, the New Zealand Territorial Force, the New Zealand National Military Reserve, the Home Guard, or the commissioned ranks of the Air Training Corps, or rendered the required service in the New Zealand Merchant Navy, or as members of the crew of an aircraft operated by a Civil Air Line registered in New Zealand.
The NZWSM was awarded in addition to the standard Commonwealth campaign awards for World War II.
This medal was issued for 28 days' full time aggregated service or six months' part time aggregated service between 3rd September, 1939 and 2nd September, 1945. Service brought to an end by death on duty, or due to wounds sustained on duty, or honourable discharge as a result of such wounds, automatically qualified for award of the medal.
For personnel who serviced in the Armed Forces, at least twenty-eight days' full-time service must have been rendered, whether within New Zealand or abroad, or six months' part-time service. The part-time service in the Home Guard, which may be reckoned towards the period of six months, shall be restricted to service between 16th August 1940, and 1st January, 1944. The part-time service in the Naval Auxiliary Patrol Service, which may be reckoned towards the period of six months, shall be restricted to service between the 31st December, 1941, and 31st July, 1944.
In the case of personnel who serviced in the New Zealand Merchant Navy, at least twenty-eight days' service must have been rendered at sea.
Members of the crew of an aircraft operated by a Civil Air Line registered in New Zealand must serve at least twenty-eight days' service, involving not less than forty-eight flying hours outside New Zealand territorial waters.
Eligible part time Home Guard personnel must have completed their six months' part time service between 16th August, 1940, and 1st January, 1944, (the Home Guard was disbanded in December 1943).
The NZWSM was the first distinctively ‘New Zealand' war service medal, which was highlighted by the use of the fern leaf motif on the suspender and the reverse, and the national colours of black and white in the ribbon.
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 – 32mm, black with white edges to signify the National Colours.
Type – Campaign Medal.
Eligibility – New Zealand Forces.
Awarded for – Campaign Service.
Campaign – Second World War 1939-45.
Established – 1946
Naming – Unnamed.
Total Awarded – 238,000
Suspender - Ornate
Clasps – None issued
Description – The medal is 36mm diameter and made from cupro- nickel, with a fixed suspension of two fern leaves. Obverse of the NZWSM shows the coinage head of King George VI and the legend “GEORGIVS VI D:G: BR: REX F:D: IND: IMP.” (George VI by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India). Reverse bears the inscription “FOR SERVICES TO NEW ZEALAND 1939 – 1945” on four lines with a fern leaf underneath.
Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’
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