Air Crew Europe Star

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Air Crew Europe Star
WW2 Air Crew Europe Star.jpg
Obverse and reverse of the medal
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Type Military campaign medal
Eligibility Pilots and flying crew
Awarded for 60 days operational flying
Campaign(s) European Air Operations 1939–1944
Clasps ATLANTIC
FRANCE AND GERMANY
Statistics
Established May 1945
Order of wear
Next (higher) Arctic Star
Next (lower) Africa Star
Related Atlantic Star
France and Germany Star
Ribbon - Air Crew Europe Star.png Ribbon - Air Crew Europe Star & Rosette.png
Ribbon bar without and with rosette

The Air Crew Europe Star is a military campaign medal, instituted by the United Kingdom in May 1945 for award to British and Commonwealth air crews who participated in operational flights over Europe from bases in the United Kingdom during the Second World War.[1][2][3]

Two clasps were instituted to be worn on the medal ribbon: Atlantic and France and Germany.[1][3]

The Second World War Stars[edit]

On 8 July 1943, the 1939–43 Star (later named the 1939–1945 Star) and the Africa Star became the first two campaign stars instituted, and by May 1945 a total of eight stars and nine clasps had been established to reward campaign service during the Second World War.[2] 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.[1][4][5]

Including the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command clasp, no-one could be awarded more than six campaign stars, with five of the ten clasps awarded denoting service that would have qualified for a second star. Only one clasp could be worn on any one campaign star. The maximum of six possible stars are the following:[1][5][2]

All recipients of campaign stars also received the War Medal.[15]

Since only the first of the Atlantic Star, Air Crew Europe Star or France and Germany Star to be earned could be awarded to any one individual, the possible Star and Clasp combinations for these three campaign stars are:[1][16]

  • The Atlantic Star with either the Air Crew Europe or France and Germany clasp.
  • The Air Crew Europe Star with either the France and Germany or Atlantic clasp.
  • The France and Germany Star with the Atlantic clasp.
    As a result of the different date ranges involved, the earlier period Air Crew Europe clasp could not be added to the later period France and Germany Star.[1][16]

Institution[edit]

The strategic bombing campaign against German industrial cities, military installations and a wide variety of other targets continued throughout World War Two and made a decisive contribution to Allied victory. Although the Royal Air Force suffered significant losses of both men and aircraft, the campaign severely curtailed German industrial production.[17]

The Air Crew Europe Star was instituted in May 1945 for award to air crew who flew operations from the United Kingdom over Europe. It was not awarded to supporting ground personnel.[1][2][3]

Two clasps were instituted to be worn on the Air Crew Europe Star's ribbon, 'Atlantic' and 'France and Germany'. British uniform regulations stipulated that no one person could be awarded more than one clasp to any one campaign star, and neither the Atlantic Star nor the France and Germany Star could be awarded to a recipient of the Air Crew Europe Star. Subsequent entitlement to either of these stars was denoted by the award of the appropriate clasp to the Air Crew Europe Star, with only the first clasp earned being worn.[1][8]

Award criteria[edit]

Broad criteria[edit]

The Air Crew Europe Star was awarded for operational flying from bases in the United Kingdom over Europe from the outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939 to 5 June 1944, the day before the D-Day Normandy Invasion, both dates inclusive. For air crew of the Royal Air Force, two months of operational flying was required in order to qualify for the award of the Air Crew Europe Star. Army personnel qualified for this star after they had served on air crew duties for four months, provided two months of this minimum four-month period had been operational flying over Europe with at least one operational sortie. The 1939-1945 Star must already have been earned before commencing qualifying service for the Air Crew Europe Star.[1][8][17]

From D-Day on 6 June 1944, operational flying over Europe qualified air crew for the award of the France and Germany Star or, for holders of either the Atlantic Star or Air Crew Europe Star, the award of the France and Germany Clasp.[17][18]

Special criteria[edit]

The award of a gallantry medal or Mention in Dispatches for action during operational flying over Europe, qualified the recipient for the immediate award of the Air Crew Europe Star, regardless of service duration. Personnel whose required qualifying service period was terminated prematurely by their death, disability or wounding due to service, were awarded the Star regardless of service duration.[19]

Description[edit]

The set of nine campaign stars was designed by the Royal Mint engravers. The stars all have a ring suspender which 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.[19]

Obverse

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 AIR CREW EUROPE STAR".[19]

Reverse

The reverse is plain.

Naming

The British Honours Committee decided that Second World War campaign medals awarded to British forces would be issued unnamed,[20] a policy applied by all but three British Commonwealth countries. The recipient's name was impressed on the reverse of the stars awarded to Indians, South Africans and, after a campaign led by veteran organisations, to Australians.[21] In the case of South Africans, the naming comprised the recipient's force number, initials and surname in block capitals.[1][19]

Clasps

Atlantic Clasp France and Germany Clasp

Both clasps were struck in bronze and have a frame with an inside edge which resembles the perforated edge of a postage stamp. They are inscribed "ATLANTIC" and "FRANCE AND GERMANY" respectively and were designed to be sewn onto the medal's ribbon. Regulations only allow one clasp, the first earned, to be worn with the Star. When the ribbon is worn alone, a silver rosette is worn on the ribbon bar to denote the award of a clasp.[1][3][8][19]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 4 millimetres wide black band and a 3 millimetres wide yellow band, repeated in reverse order and separated by an 18 millimetres wide blue band. The colours and layout symbolise the continuous service of the Royal Air Force by night and day. The sky is represented by the blue centre band and night flying by the black bands on the edges, while the yellow bands represent enemy searchlights.[3][17][19]

The ribbons for this medal and the Defence Medal as well as those of the other Second World War campaign stars, with the exception of the Arctic Star, were devised by King George VI.[2][16]

Order of wear[edit]

The order of wear of the Second World War campaign stars was determined by their respective campaign start dates and by the campaign's duration. This is the order worn, even when a recipient qualified for them in a different order. The Defence Medal and War Medal are worn after the stars.[22] The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal is worn after the Defence Medal and before the War Medal, with other Commonwealth war medals worn after the War Medal.[22]

The Air Crew Europe Star is therefore worn as shown:[22]

Arctic Star Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Stephen Stratford Medals site: British Military & Criminal History, 1900 to 1999. 1939–45 Star (Access date 1 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d e 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.
  3. ^ a b c d e New Zealand Defence Force - British Commonwealth War And Campaign Medals Awarded To New Zealanders - The Air Crew Europe Star (Access date 5 April 2015)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ a b c The National Archives – Ministry of Defence – Arctic Star and Bomber Command Clasp (Access date 1 April 2015)
  6. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The 1939–45 Star Eligibility Rules Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  7. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Atlantic Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 4 April 2015)
  8. ^ a b c d e New Zealand Defence Force – The Air Crew Europe Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  9. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The France and Germany Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  10. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Arctic Star (Access date 12 April 2015)
  11. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Africa Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  12. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Pacific Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 9 April 2015)
  13. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Burma Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  14. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Italy Star Eligibility Rules Archived 27 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  15. ^ Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. pp. 97-98. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  16. ^ a b c Forces War Records - Medals - Air Crew Europe Star Medal (Access date 5 April 2015)
  17. ^ a b c d GOV.UK - Defence and armed forces – guidance - Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility - Air Crew Europe Star (Access date 5 April 2015)
  18. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada - Air Crew Europe Star (Access date 5 April 2015)
  19. ^ a b c d e f Extract from the Regulations: Air Crew Europe Star (Access date 8 October 2018)
  20. ^ Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. p. 246. Published by Spink, London. 1988.
  21. ^ A distinction almost denied: the naming of Australia's Second World War medals, Trevor Turner. Orders & Medals Research Society Journal, September 2018, pp 148-157
  22. ^ a b c "No. 40204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1954. p. 3538.
  23. ^ Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 97. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  24. ^ New Zealand Defence Force - The Defence Medal Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 21 April 2015)
  25. ^ New Zealand Defence Force - The War Medal 1939-45 Eligibility Rules Archived 29 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 22 April 2015)