Pacific Star


The Pacific Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in the Pacific theatre of operations between 8th December, 1941, and 2nd September, 1945.  It was also awarded for certain specified service in China, Hong-Kong, Malaya, Sumatra and numerous Japanese held islands and territories between the following specified dates:

  • Hong Kong - between 8th December, 1941 and 25th December, 1941.
  • China and Malaya - between 8th December, 1941 and 15th February, 1942.
  • Sumatra - between 8th December, 1941 and 23rd March 1942.

Campaign Service in China, Hong Kong, Malaya and Sumatra after the above end dates was recognised by the award of the ‘Burma Star’.

The Pacific Star was awarded for immediate bestowal to any soldier or sailor who had been killed or wounded in combat.

Qualifying details for the Army.

  1. In the case of the Army there is no prior time qualification. Service in Burma was excluded.  Those qualifying in the Army for the Pacific Star were restricted to territory which had been subjected to enemy or Allied Invasion, including service in China and Malaya between 8th December, 1941, and 15th February 1942.

Qualifying details for the Royal Navy

  1. Naval personnel must first qualify for the ‘1939 to 1945 Star’ before qualification of the Pacific Star could commence.  It was then awarded for service at sea in the Pacific within certain specified boundaries.  These boundaries being service in the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and the Indian Ocean east of a line running due south from Singapore round the South-East coast of Sumatra, through Christmas Island, and southwards along the meridian of 110 degree East.  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.  They must not have served subsequently in another operational theatre.
  2. Naval personnel who served ashore qualified under the same rules as those in the Army

Qualifying details for the Royal Air Force.

  1. Royal Air Force who engaged in operations against the enemy would also qualify provided that at least one operational sortie had been completed.  Ground service qualified under the same rules as the Army.

British uniform regulations stipulated that the Burma Star would not be awarded to a recipient of the Pacific 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 Pacific Star medal is worn by the recipient he is entitled to wear a bar with the title ‘Burma’ attached to 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 – Stripe of green bisected by a central narrow yellow stripe to symbolize the forests and beaches of the Pacific, one stripe of dark blue and one of light blue with red edges to represent the three services of the Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army. The medal is worn with the dark blue stripe furthest from the left shoulder.

Pacific Star ribbon
Pacific Star ribbon

Type – Campaign medal

Eligibility – One day operational service or one sortie for aircrew men (six months for sailors)

Awarded for – Service

Campaign – Service in the Pacific Theatre between 8th 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 Pacific 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 Pacific 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. 

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


Awarded to those who subsequently qualified for the Burma Star.


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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