South Atlantic Medal
|South Atlantic medal|
|Awarded by the United Kingdom|
|Eligibility||British military, Merchant Navy and civilian|
|Awarded for||Service in the South Atlantic, during the Falklands War|
|Description||Cupronickel disk, 36mm diameter.|
|Clasps||No clasp, a rosette instead.|
ribbon bars of the medal
The South Atlantic Medal is a British campaign medal awarded to British military personnel and civilians for service in the Falklands War of 1982, between the United Kingdom and Argentina; 29,700 were issued. The South Atlantic Medal Association was formed in 1997.
The medal is a coin, made of cupronickel, 36 mm in diameter, and was struck by the Royal Mint and issued by the Army Medal Office, Droitwich. The obverse side bears a crowned effigy of the The Queen. Like a modern British coin, it has the abbreviated form of ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR ("Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith") on the border and the Queen is facing to the right.
The reverse side has the Falkland Islands' coat of arms, which bears the words "DESIRE THE RIGHT" (an allusion to English explorer John Davis' ship, "Desire"). A laurel wreath and the words "SOUTH ATLANTIC MEDAL" make up the border.
Awarding the medal
To be awarded the medal with the additional rosette, the recipient would have been required to do one day's service within 35° and 60° South latitude or do at least one operational sortie south of Ascension Island, between 2 April and 14 June 1982 (April 2 being the date of the Argentine invasion, June 14 being the date of Argentine surrender).
The medal alone was awarded for 30 days continuous or accumulated service between 7° and 60° South latitude between 2 April and 14 June 1982 (completing no later than 12 July 1982). As a result of the 2012 Independent Medal Review conducted by Sir John Holmes, from 1 October 2014 the qualifying period for the medal without rosette was extended to 21 October 1982, the date RAF Stanley airfield was finished.
The rosette remains an unusual feature for a British medal and was used in this case because otherwise fewer than two hundred medals would have been issued to the Royal Air Force. The vast majority of the medals were issued with a rosette whereas over 90% of the medals issued to the Royal Air Force are without the rosette and thus rarer, the recipients having been stationed on Ascension Island, some 3,300 nmi (6,100 km) north of the Falkland Islands and the war zone.
|Branch||# of medals issued|
|Royal Air Force||2,000|
|Royal Fleet Auxiliary||2,000|
The initials and surname, rank or rating, service number and unit of the recipient are diamond engraved on the edge of the medal though those for Royal Navy officers, as was the tradition, did not include the service number.
- "South Atlantic Medal 1982". www.stephen-stratford.com. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- "Ministry of Defence | Defence For... | South Atlantic". www.mod.uk. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- "Medals of Britain's Forgotten Wars". www.britains-smallwars.com. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- "From the Sea - Freedom". www.sama82.org. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2010-10-13.