|The 1939–1945 Star|
Awarded to a South African, C276539 J.P. Lemmetjies
|Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India|
|Type||Military campaign medal|
|Awarded for||180 days of operational service or 60 days of operational flying|
|Campaign||Second World War|
|Clasps||BATTLE OF BRITAIN
|Established||8 July 1943|
|Last awarded||22 December 2013|
|Order of wear|
|Next (higher)||India General Service Medal (1936)|
|Next (lower)||Atlantic Star|
Ribbon bar and rosettes for the Battle of Britain and Bomber Command clasps
The 1939–1945 Star is a military campaign medal, instituted by the United Kingdom on 8 July 1943 for award to subjects of the British Commonwealth for service in the Second World War. Two clasps were instituted to be worn on the medal ribbon, the Battle of Britain Clasp and the Bomber Command Clasp.
The Second World War Stars
Altogether eight campaign stars and nine clasps were initially instituted for campaign service during the Second World War. On 8 July 1943 the 1939–1945 Star and the Africa Star were the first two of these Stars to be instituted. One more campaign star, the Arctic Star, and one more clasp, the Bomber Command Clasp, were belatedly added on 26 February 2013, more than sixty-seven years after the end of the war.
Of all these campaign stars, only the 1939–1945 Star covered the full duration of the Second World War from its outbreak on 3 September 1939 to the victory over Japan on 2 September 1945.
No-one could be awarded more than five (now six) campaign stars and no-one could be awarded more than one clasp to any one campaign star. Five of the nine (now ten) clasps were the equivalents of their namesake campaign stars and were awarded for the same respective campaigns as those stars, to be worn on the ribbon of that campaign star of the applicable group that had been earned first. The maximum of six possible campaign stars are the following:
- The 1939–1945 Star with, if awarded, either the Battle of Britain Clasp or the Bomber Command Clasp.
- Only one of the Atlantic Star, Air Crew Europe Star or France and Germany Star and, if awarded, the first to be earned respectively of the Air Crew Europe Clasp, France and Germany Clasp or Atlantic Clasp, to be worn on the ribbon of that one of these three campaign stars to have been first earned and awarded.
- The Arctic Star.
- The Africa Star with, if awarded, the first to be earned of the North Africa 1942–43 Clasp, 8th Army Clasp or 1st Army Clasp.
- Either the Pacific Star or Burma Star or, if awarded, either the Burma Clasp or Pacific Clasp respectively, to be worn on the ribbon of that one of these two campaign stars to have been first earned and awarded.
- The Italy Star.
The institution of the 1939–1945 Star was announced on 8 July 1943 and in August it was announced that the first uniform ribbons would be issued to qualifying personnel later in that year. The medals themselves were not intended to be available until after the cessation of hostilities. Some ribbon issues to overseas troops were delayed, but many had been received by the end of 1943 and were worn by recipients throughout the remainder of the war.
The 1939–1945 Star was awarded for operational service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945, the duration of World War II. Two clasps were instituted to be worn on the medal ribbon, along with rosettes to be worn on the ribbon bar of the medal to denote the award of a clasp.
- The Battle of Britain Clasp was instituted in 1945 for award to air crew members on fighter aircraft who took part in the Battle of Britain from 10 July to 31 October 1940. A silver-gilt rosette worn on the ribbon bar denotes the award of this clasp.
- The Bomber Command Clasp was belatedly instituted on 26 February 2013, more than sixty-seven years after the end of World War II, for award to air crew members on aircraft who participated in at least one operational sortie in a Royal Air Force Bomber Command operational unit between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 inclusive. A silver rosette worn on the ribbon bar denotes the award of this clasp.
The 1939–1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and either 8 May 1945 in Europe or 2 September 1945 in the Far East theatre. The broad criteria were 180 days of service between these dates, with more specific criteria depending on service arm.
- Naval personnel qualified after 180 days afloat between certain specified dates in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations.
- Army personnel had to complete 180 days of service in an operational command.
- Airborne troops qualified if they had participated in any airborne operations and had completed 60 days of service in a fully operational unit.
- Air Force air crew qualified after 60 days of service in an operational unit, including at least one operational sortie. The 1939-45 Star was also awarded to crews of transport aircraft that flew over certain specified routes. Air crew of fighter aircraft engaged in the Battle of Britain were also awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp, while air crew of bomber aircraft who participated in at least one operational sortie in a Bomber Command operational unit were awarded the Bomber Command Clasp in 2013.
- Ground crew and other Air force personnel qualified upon completion of 180 days of service in an area of operational army command.
- Merchant Navy personnel qualified upon completion of 180 days of service with at least one voyage made through an operational area.
The award of a gallantry medal or Mention in Dispatches qualified the recipient for the award of the 1939–1945 Star, regardless of service duration. Personnel whose qualifying service period was terminated prematurely by their death or disability due to service was awarded this star.
In addition, some special criteria applied when, at certain specified times, just one day's service was required. These latter instances were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not awarded and the regulations for award made provision for a number of operations in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Theatre and India and Burma, in which entry into operational service for one day or part thereof qualified personnel for the award of the 1939-1945 Star. Some notable examples are:
- The Battle of France in France or Belgium from 10 May to 19 June 1940.
- The St Nazaire Raid from 22 to 28 March 1942.
- The Dieppe Raid on 19 August 1942.
- The Anglo-Iraqi War in Iraq from 10 April to 25 May 1941.
- The Japanese conquest of Burma from 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942.
In the case of personnel in operational service at the end of active hostilities in Europe on 8 May 1945, the actual operational service requirement period for the award of the Atlantic Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Italy Star and France and Germany Star was reduced to entry into a theatre of operations and the prior six or two months service requirements did not apply. The 1939-45 Star, however, was not awarded in any of these cases in which actual operational service amounted to less than six or two months respectively.
Order of wear
The order of wear of the nine campaign stars was determined firstly by their respective campaign start dates, secondly by the campaign's duration and thirdly by their dates of institution.
- The 1939–1945 Star, from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945, the full duration of the Second World War.
- The Atlantic Star, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Battle of the Atlantic and the War in Europe.
- The Arctic Star, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Battle of the Atlantic and the War in Europe.
- The Air Crew Europe Star, from 3 September 1939 to 5 June 1944, the period until D-Day minus one.
- The Africa Star, from 10 June 1940 to 12 May 1943, the duration of the North African Campaign.
- The Pacific Star, from 8 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the duration of the Pacific War.
- The Burma Star, from 11 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the duration of the Burma Campaign.
- The Italy Star, from 11 June 1943 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Italian Campaign.
- The France and Germany Star, from 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Northwest Europe Campaign.
Until 5 April 1952 the position of the 1939–1945 Star in the official order of precedence was prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. With effect from 6 April 1952 these awards continued to be worn in the same order of precedence but, with the exception of the Victoria Cross, took precedence after all South African orders, decorations and medals awarded to South Africans on or after that date.
The set of nine campaign stars was designed by the Royal Mint engravers. The stars all have a ring suspender that passes through an eyelet formed above the uppermost point of the star. They are six–pointed stars, struck in yellow copper zinc alloy to fit into a 44 millimetres diameter circle, with a maximum width of 38 millimetres and 50 millimetres high from the bottom point of the star to the top of the eyelet.
The obverse has a central design of the Royal Cypher "GRI VI", surmounted by a crown. A circlet, the top of which is covered by the crown, surrounds the cypher and is inscribed "THE 1939–1945 STAR".
The reverse is plain and, as with the other Second World War campaign medals, a no-engraving policy was applied by all but three British Commonwealth countries. The recipient's name was impressed on the reverse for Australians, Indians and South Africans, in the case of South Africans the recipient's force number, initials and surname in block capitals, as illustrated by the main picture.
Both clasps were struck in bronze and have a frame with an inside edge that resembles the perforated edge of a postage stamp. They are inscribed "BATTLE OF BRITAIN" and "BOMBER COMMAND" respectively and were designed to be sewn onto the medal's ribbon. The rosettes, to be worn on the ribbon bar when medals are not worn, are silver-gilt for the Battle of Britain Clasp and silver for the Bomber Command Clasp.
The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide with equal width bands of Navy blue, Army red and Air Force blue, with the dark blue band representing the Naval Forces and the Merchant Navy, the red band the Armies and the light blue band the Air Forces. The equal width bands represent the equal contributions of the three service arms towards victory.
- Atlantic Star
- Arctic Star
- Air Crew Europe Star
- Africa Star
- Pacific Star
- Burma Star
- Italy Star
- France and Germany Star
- Defence Medal (United Kingdom)
- War Medal 1939–1945
- Stephen Stratford Medals site - British Military & Criminal History - 1900 to 1999 - 1939-45 Star (Access date 1 April 2015)
- Forces War Records - Medals - 1939-1945 Star (Access date 2 April 2015)
- War Service (Decorations) - Statement in the House of Commons by Winston Churchill on 3 August 1943 (HC Deb 03 August 1943 vol 391 cc2091-3) (Access date 9 April 2015)
- The National Archives - Ministry of Defence - Arctic Star and Bomber Command Clasp (Access date 1 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The 1939-45 Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
- Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals in Time of War (May 1945). "Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal (Regulations)". London: HM Stationery Office. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Atlantic Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 4 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Air Crew Europe Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The France and Germany Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Arctic Star (Access date 12 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Africa Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Pacific Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 9 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Burma Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
- New Zealand Defence Force - The Italy Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
- Overseas Service (Recognition) - Statement in the House of Commons by Clement Attlee on 8 July 1943 (HC Deb 08 July 1943 vol 390 c2250)
- New Zealand Defence Force - British Commonwealth War And Campaign Medals Awarded To New Zealanders - The 1939 - 1945 Star (Access date 2 April 2015)
- GOV.UK - Defence and armed forces – guidance - Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility - 1939 to 1945 Star (Access date 1 April 2015)
- Extract from the Regulations - The 1939–1945 Star
- The National Archives - Merchant seamen's campaign medal records 1939-1945 (Access date 2 April 2015)
- Joslin, Litherland, and Simpkin (eds), British Battles and Medals, (1988), Spink. p. 248.
- The London Gazette: . 17 March 2003.
- Government Notice no. 1982 of 1 October 1954 - Order of Precedence of Orders, Decorations and Medals, published in the Government Gazette of 1 October 1954.
- Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
- Free Czechoslovak Air Force - British Medals awarded to Czechoslovak airmen in WW2 - 1939-1945 Star (Access date 2 April 2015)
- Memoirs - My Days With The I.A.F (1940-48) - V S C Bonarjee, IAS (Access date 14 April 2015)
- Rear Side of the Medals (Access date 14 April 2015)