Obverse of medal and ribbon
|Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth|
|Eligibility||Various dependent on service arm. See text.|
|Campaign||Second World War|
|Description||Six pointed star|
|Clasps||Battle of Britain
|Last awarded||22 December 2013|
Black&White enlargement of medal.
The 1939–45 Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in the Second World War. The medal was awarded for operational service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the ‘Victory medal’.
General overview of eligibility
The 1939 to 1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East). The criteria was 180 days’ service between these dates, although some special criteria apply when, at certain specified times, just 1 days’ service was required. These latter instances were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not issued and examples are: France or Belgium: 10 May to 19 June 1940, St.Nazaire 22–28 March 1942, Dieppe: 19 August 1942, Iraq: 10 April to 25 May 1941 and Burma (Enemy Invasion): 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942.
Eligibility by service arm
Army personnel had to complete 180 days service in an operational command.
Airborne troops qualified if they had participated in any airborne operations and had completed 60 days service in a fully operational unit.
Naval personnel qualified after 180 days afloat between certain specified dates in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations.
Merchant Navy personnel qualified if they completed 180 days service with at least 1 voyage made through an operational area.
RAF air crew qualified with 60 days service in an operational unit including at least one operational sortie.
(Note: Air crew of fighter aircraft engaged in the Battle of Britain between 10 July and 31 October 1940 were awarded the clasp ‘Battle of Britain’ to be worn on the ribbon of the 1939 to 1945 Star.
Non-aircrew personnel qualified on completion of 180 days service in an area of operational army command.
Royal Observer Corps personnel required service for 1,080 days.
Additionally the award of a gallantry medal or Mention in Despatches also produced the award of this medal, regardless of service duration.
- The 1939–45 Star is a six–pointed star of yellow copper zinc alloy, with a height of 44mm and maximum width of 38mm.
- The obverse has a central design of the Royal Cypher, surmounted by a crown. The cypher is surrounded by a circlet containing the words ‘The 1939–1945 Star'.
- The reverse is plain, with the recipient's name impressed only for Australians and South Africans.
- The ribbon has three vertical stripes of dark blue, red and light blue. The dark blue stripe represents the Naval Forces and the Merchant Navy, the red stripe the Armies and the light blue stripe the Air Forces. The ribbon for this medal, along with those of the other Second World War campaign stars, is reputed to have been designed by King George VI, with the three equal bands representing the equal contributions towards victory of the Royal Navy, Army, and the Royal Air Force respectively.
- Battle of Britain
- 10 July – 31 October 1940. Members of fighter aircraft crews who took part in the Battle of Britain were awarded this bar. In undress uniform, a silver-gilt rosette was worn on the medal ribbon to denote the award of this clasp.
- Bomber Command
- Members of bomber crews who participated in at least one operational sortie in an RAF Bomber Command operational unit became eligible for this bar introduced in February 2013. In undress uniform, a silver rosette may be worn on the medal ribbon to denote the award of this clasp.
- – 1939–1945 Star;
- – 1939–1945 Star with Battle of Britain clasp.
- – 1939–1945 Star with Bomber Command clasp.
- Mackay, J and Mussel, J (eds) - Medals Yearbook — 2006, (2005), Token Publishing.
- Joslin, Litherland, and Simpkin (eds), British Battles and Medals, (1988), Spink
- The 1939-1945 Star Regulations
- British Battles and Medals, p. 248.
- "ARCTIC STAR AND BOMBER COMMAND CLA". Service Personnel and Veterans Agency. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Stephen Stratford Medals site
- UK MoD site
- Records of WW2 Medals issued to Merchant Seamen from The National Archives.
- ADF site
- Veterans Affairs Canada site
- NZDF site
- 1939-1945 Star Regulations on NZDF site