Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1869 the Medal for the Best Shot in the British Army, Infantry, was awarded annually from 1870 to 1882 to the best shot of the Infantry of the British Army, including the Royal Engineers and the Colonial Corps. The medal was originally struck in bronze but was upgraded to silver in 1872. The award then ceased in 1882 but was later revived in 1923 and known thereafter as the King’s Medal. The original medal reverse was retained, with the appropriate effigy of the reigning monarch on the obverse. Since 1953 the medal has been known as the Queen’s Medal again.
The medal could be awarded to the champions of Army marksmanship competitions, held under battle firing conditions at annual central meetings in the United Kingdom, India, the British Dominions and the Colony of Southern Rhodesia. Early participating countries were Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia.
All medal contenders have to be actual serving members of the Regular Army, Army Emergency Reserve, Territorial Army, or Local Militia and Volunteer Forces in the countries concerned. Members of independent Naval and Air Forces, while not excluded from the competition, could therefore not be awarded the medal even though they won the championship.
Subsequently additional medals have been sanctioned for award to the military forces of India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Rhodesia, the British South Africa Police, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan, Jamaica and Ghana.
The institution of the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces was followed by the institution of the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the New Zealand Naval Forces in 1958 and the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in 1966.
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 – Crimson with black and white stripes at the edge. It was stated in the regulations that the stripes should be white but recent medals have been issued with buff stripes
Suspender - Straight
Type – Military marksmanship medal
Eligibility – All ranks
Awarded for – Champion shot of a small-arms marksmanship competition
Established – 1869
Bars / Clasps – A date clasp was introduced in 1923, for award with the medal to first recipients as well as, without a medal, to champions who had already been awarded the medal. The clasp is inscribed with the year of the award and is designed to be attached to the medal's suspension bar
Description – Bronze or silver medal 36mm diameter. The obverse bears the effigy of the reigning monarch, with seven versions available. The reverse shows a winged Victoria bestowing a laurel crown on a naked warrior armed with a quiver of arrows and a bow and holding a target, impaled with arrows, in his other hand.
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