Air Crew Europe Star

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The Air Crew Europe Star
WW2 Air Crew Europe Star.jpg
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 All Ranks
Awarded for 60 days of operational flying
Campaign 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 subjects of the British Commonwealth for service in the Second World War, specifically Commonwealth air crew who participated in operational flights over Europe from bases in the United Kingdom.[1][2][3]

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

The Second World War Stars[edit]

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.[1][4][5]

Only one of these campaign stars, 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.[6]

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:[1][2][5]

  • The 1939–1945 Star with, if awarded, either the Battle of Britain Clasp or the Bomber Command Clasp.[6]
  • 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.[7][8][9]
  • The Arctic Star.[5][10]
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.[12][13]
  • The Italy Star.[14]

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][15]

  • The Atlantic Star with either the Air Crew Europe Clasp or the France and Germany Clasp.
  • The Air Crew Europe Star with either the France and Germany Clasp or the 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][15]

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 Air Forces suffered significant losses of both men and aircraft, the campaign severely curtailed German industrial production.[16]

The Air Crew Europe Star was instituted in May 1945 to commemorate flying operations from the United Kingdom over Europe and was intended primarily for award to air crew. Two clasps were instituted to be worn on the Air Crew Europe Star's medal ribbon, the Atlantic Clasp and the France and Germany Clasp.[1][2][3]

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 two stars was denoted by the award of either the Atlantic Clasp or the France and Germany Clasp to the Air Crew Europe Star. Regulations further stipulated that only the first clasp earned could be worn with the medal.[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 Air Forces, 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][16]

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.[16][17]

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.[1]

Order of wear[edit]

Campaign Medals and Stars are not listed by name in the order of wear prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, but are all grouped together as taking precedence after the Queen's Medal for Chiefs and before the Polar Medals, in order of the date of the campaign for which awarded.[18]

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.[18]

  • The 1939–1945 Star, from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945, the full duration of the Second World War.[6]
  • The Atlantic Star, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Battle of the Atlantic and the War in Europe.[7]
  • The Arctic Star, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Battle of the Atlantic and the War in Europe.[10]
  • The Air Crew Europe Star, from 3 September 1939 to 5 June 1944, the period until D-Day minus one.[8]
  • The Africa Star, from 10 June 1940 to 12 May 1943, the duration of the North African Campaign.[11]
  • The Pacific Star, from 8 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the duration of the Pacific War.[12]
  • The Burma Star, from 11 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the duration of the Burma Campaign.[13]
  • The Italy Star, from 11 June 1943 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Italian Campaign.[14]
  • The France and Germany Star, from 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Northwest Europe Campaign.[9]
British order of wear

Arctic Star Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star

South Africa[edit]

With effect from 6 April 1952, when a new South African set of decorations and medals was instituted to replace the British awards used to date, the older British decorations and medals applicable to South Africa 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.[18][19][20]

The Arctic Star, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal and the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in the Military Forces can or could be awarded to South Africans after 6 April 1952. The position of the Arctic Star in the South African order of wear is therefore different from the order prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood and, as a result, the Air Crew Europe Star takes precedence after the Atlantic Star and before the Africa Star.[18][19]

South African order of wear

Atlantic Star Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star

Description[edit]

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.[21]

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".[21]

Reverse

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.[1][21][22][23]

Clasps

Atlantic Clasp France and Germany Clasp

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 "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][21]

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 Air Forces 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][16][21]

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][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Stephen Stratford Medals site - British Military & Criminal History - 1900 to 1999 - Atlantic Star (Access date 1 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d 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 c New Zealand Defence Force - The 1939-45 Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  7. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force - The Atlantic Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 4 April 2015)
  8. ^ a b c d e New Zealand Defence Force - The Air Crew Europe Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  9. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force - The France and Germany Star Eligibility Rules (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 (Access date 12 April 2015)
  12. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force - The Pacific Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 9 April 2015)
  13. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force - The Burma Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  14. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force - The Italy Star Eligibility Rules (Access date 12 April 2015)
  15. ^ a b c Forces War Records - Medals - Air Crew Europe Star Medal (Access date 5 April 2015)
  16. ^ 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)
  17. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada - Air Crew Europe Star (Access date 5 April 2015)
  18. ^ a b c d The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56878. p. 3352. 17 March 2003.
  19. ^ a b 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.
  20. ^ Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  21. ^ a b c d e Birkenhead Returned Services Association - Military Medals - The Air Crew Europe Star (Access date 5 April 2015)
  22. ^ Memoirs - My Days With The I.A.F (1940-48) - V S C Bonarjee, IAS (Access date 14 April 2015)
  23. ^ Rear Side of the Medals (Access date 14 April 2015)