Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces

Era: 1953 - Present

Instituted by Queen Elizabeth II on 12th June 1953 the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces was awarded to best shot of the annual Army shooting competition. The medal was the Air Force version of the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces. One medal each can be awarded to the champion shot of annual small arms marksmanship competitions held by the Air Forces of the United Kingdom and those member countries of the British Commonwealth. The Air Forces of countries that took part at some stage include the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. Today, only the United Kingdom and New Zealand still award the medal.

All contenders for the King's/Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces 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.


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 – Broad crimson centre flanked by dark blue stripes bisected by thin light blue stripes.

Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces ribbon
Queen's Medal for Champion Shots of the Air Forces ribbon

Suspender - Straight

Type – Military marksmanship medal

Eligibility – All ranks

Awarded for – Champion shot of a small-arms marksmanship competition

Established – 1953

Bars / Clasps - Every medal is awarded with a clasp, inscribed with the year of award and attached to the medal's suspension bar

Description – Silver medal 36mm diameter. The obverse bears the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the medal reverse shows Hermes kneeling on a flying hawk and holding the caduceus in one hand and a javelin in the other. The image is circumscribed ‘THE QUEEN'S MEDAL FOR CHAMPION SHOTS OF THE AIR FORCES’


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


< gov.uk/medals-campaigns-descriptions-and-eligibility>

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