Civil Defence Medal

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Civil Defence Long Service Medal
Civil Defence Long Service Medal, obverse.jpgCivil Defence Long Service Medal, reverse.jpg
Obverse and original reverse
Awarded by the United Kingdom and Crown dependencies
TypeLong service medal
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Royal Observer Corps Medal[1]
Next (lower)Ambulance Service (Emergency Duties) Long Service and Good Conduct Medal[1]
Civil Defence Long Service Medal, ribbon bar.jpg
Second award clasp
Civil Defence Long Service Medal.png
Ribbon bar of the medal
Reverse, second type

The Civil Defence Medal (CDM) is a long service award by the United Kingdom, instituted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in March 1961 and awarded for 15 years continuous service in a variety of different organisations including the Civil Defence Corps (CD), the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS), the National Hospital Service Reserve (NHSR) and the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation.[2] Qualification was extended in 1963 to Civil Defence personnel in Gibraltar, Hong Kong and Malta.[3]

With most of the eligible organisations disbanded, the medal is currently only awarded to civil defence volunteers on the Isle of Man.


An oval medallion measuring 38mm in height by 32mm wide in a silver coloured cupro nickel metal.
Obverse: The crowned head of Queen Elizabeth II and the legend ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FID. DEF.
Reverse: The original 1961 medal depicted three shields, each bearing the initials of one of the three main services: CD, AFS and NHSR, with an oak branch in the background. A separate Northern Ireland version had the initials AFRS (Auxiliary Fire and Rescue Service) and HSR (Hospital Service Reserve) on the last two shields. When the award was extended to Gibraltar, Hong Kong and Malta in 1963, a new reverse was designed,[4] bearing the words CIVIL DEFENCE and LONG SERVICE, separated by a design of laurel wreaths and palms. This was the only design in use after 1968.[5]

A bar clasp bearing the words LONG SERVICE, attached on the ribbon, was issued for each further period of 12 years service.[6]

The medal hangs from a straight bar, with a 32mm wide ribbon of dark blue with three narrow stripes of yellow red and green, with the yellow being worn farthest from the left shoulder.[5]

Miniature medals for wear at black tie events remain available from several commercial sources.


The medals were issued unnamed.[5]

Disestablishment of the recipient organisations[edit]

The Auxiliary Fire Service, National Hospital Service Reserve and Civil Defence Corps were disbanded in 1968, with those serving in their fifteenth year, or twenty-seventh year for the bar, receiving the medal even though they had not completed their full qualifying service.[3] On the UK mainland, only members of the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation continued to qualify after 1968,[6] until it too was disbanded in 1992. The medal was retained by the Warning and Monitoring Organisation on the Channel Islands until June 2007,[citation needed] and is still awarded to members of the Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps, with two members receiving clasps to the medal in 2011 from the Lieutenant Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks KCB KStJ.[7]

The medal was awarded in Hong Kong until the territory was transferred to China in 1997.[8]

Should any of the former voluntary organisations be reformed in the future or similar organisations established, the Civil Defence Medal remains extant and awards would recommence[citation needed].


  1. ^ a b "No. 62529". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 2019. p. 327.
  2. ^ North East Medals, Medal Guide. Civil Defence Long Service Medal.
  3. ^ a b Captain W.W.F. Chatterton Dickson, RN. The Civil Defence Long Service Medal. Orders & Medals Research Society Journal, Vol 25 No 4, pages 224-226, Winter 1986.
  4. ^ Civil Defence Long Service Medal. Orders & Medals Research Society Journal, Vol 26 No 3, page 165, Autumn 1987.
  5. ^ a b c J. Mussell (ed). Medal Yearbook 2015. p. 251. Published by Token Publishing. Honiton, Devon.
  6. ^ a b D. W. Collett. Medal Year Book 1981. p. 215. Published Medal Year Book, Chingford, Essex. 1981.
  7. ^ Isle of Man Guide, News. Civil Defence stalwarts receive rare honour, 10 March 2011.
  8. ^ M.A.Tamplin. Hong Kong: A summary of Long Service Medals ending 1997. Miscellany of Honours number 11, 1997, page 24, Autumn 1987.