Volunteer Long Service Medal

Era: 1894 - 1908

Instituted in 1894 the Volunteer Long Service Medal is an award for long service by other ranks in the part-time Volunteer Force of the United Kingdom, as well as to officers who had served in the ranks but who had not qualified for the award of the Volunteer Officers' Decoration.

The qualifying period of service was twenty years and the medal could be awarded upon the recommendation by an individual's present or, if retired, former commanding officer. Service had to have been consecutive, with allowance being made for special circumstances. Officer recipients who were subsequently awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration would have to surrender the medal

The medal was extended to Colonial Forces in June 1898, the titles of the monarch being appropriately expanded for this version.

An administrative oversight resulted in members of the Honourable Artillery Company, reckoned as the oldest regiment of the Royal Army, not being made eligible for the Volunteer Long Service Medal until 1906. To compensate the venerable regiment for this omission, the medal was awarded to its members with a special ribbon to distinguish it from regular awards. The ribbon was half scarlet, half dark blue with yellow edges – Racing colours for King Edward.

The Volunteer Long Service Medal was discontinued when it was superseded by the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal in 1908.


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 – Dark Green, or half scarlet, half dark blue with yellow edges (HAC members)

Volunteer Long Service Medal ribbon
Volunteer Long Service Medal ribbon
Volunteer Long Service Medal ribbon (HAC)
Volunteer Long Service Medal ribbon (HAC)

Suspender - Straight

Type – Military long service medal

Eligibility – Other ranks and Officers who have served in the ranks of the Volunteer Force

Awarded for – Twenty years’ service

Established – 1894

Naming – Recipient would have name rank and number engraved on the rim

Total Awarded – 45,000

Description – silver medal 36mm diameter. The obverse of the medal depicts the reigning monarch. Two versions of the Volunteer Long Service Medal were struck. The original version of 1894, created by George William de Saulles, shows the effigy of Queen Victoria wearing the Crown, a veil and the Star of the Order of the Garter. The effigy is circumscribed "VICTORIA REGINA". This version's suspender is affixed to the medal by means of a double-toe claw. Some Queen Victoria versions of the medal were awarded up to the Army Order of July 1902, post-dating her death. The King Edward VII version, introduced after his succession to the throne in 1901, displays his effigy in Field Marshal's uniform and is circumscribed "EDWARDVS VII REX IMPERATOR". This version's suspender is affixed to the medal by means of a single-toe claw. The reverse of the medal depicts a laurel wreath on which is superimposed ribbons inscribed ‘FOR LONG SERVICE IN THE VOLUNTEER FORCE’.


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


BigBury Mint

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

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Volunteer_Long_Service_Medal>

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