War Office and Air Ministry: Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War
The volumes in this series record the entitlement to medals and awards of men and women serving in some capacity during the First World War. Most pieces concern those serving in the Army. Some, however, refer to the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force (RFC/RAF); to civilians in military establishments, e.g. doctors and nurses in hospitals; to people mobilized for other war service, e.g. in colonial labour corps; and to allied personnel who assisted British soldiers behind enemy lines.
The volumes also give the date the issue was approved and record the issue, or cross-refer to another issuing body, e.g. the Air Ministry for some members of the RFC/RAF receiving the British War and Allied Victory Medals.
The medals and awards concerned are:
- The British War Medal;
- The Allied Victory Medal;
- The 1914 Star (the Mons Star) and bar added in 1919;
- The 1914-15 Star;
- The Territorial Force War Medal;
- The Allied Subjects Medal;
- The Silver War Badge for Services Rendered.
Please note: The World War One medal index cards can be searched and downloaded.
The British War Medal
The British War Medal, a silver medal, was approved in 1919. In the Army it was issued to those who entered a theatre of war on duty or rendered approved service overseas between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. It was issued without the Allied Victory Medal to certain regular and mobilised personnel who did not see any active service. The medal was also awarded for certain specified services in Russia and some other areas during 1919 and 1920. Similar rules applied to those serving with the RAF/RFC. The award could be made posthumously. About six and a half million silver medals were issued. Some 110,000 British War Medals in bronze were issued to the Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps personnel, and a few other colonial units of a non-combatant and subsidiary nature.
The Allied Victory Medal
The Allied Victory Medal, a bronze medal, was awarded to all those who received the 1914 or 1914-15 Star (see below), and with certain exceptions, to those who received the British War Medal. It was never awarded alone. To be eligible it was necessary to have been mobilised in any of the fighting services and to have served in any of the theatres of operations between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. In certain circumstances service up to 13 January 1919 was acceptable. Similarly, women who served (eg as nurses) could receive the award. The medal could be awarded posthumously.
The 1914 Star
The 1914 Star (popularly known as the Mons Star) was of bronze and was authorised in April 1917 to those who served in France or Belgium on the strength of a unit between 5 August and 22 November 1914. All officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces, civilian doctors, nursing sisters, nurses and others employed in military hospitals were included. In October 1919 the King sanctioned the award of a bar to the Star to all who had been under fire in France and Belgium during the relevant period.
The 1914-15 Star (a bronze star similar in design to the 1914 Star) was sanctioned in 1918 and awarded to all who saw service in any theatre of war against the Central Powers between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915, except those eligible for the 1914 Star.
The Territorial Force War Medal
The Territorial Force War Medal was approved in April 1920. The bronze medal was awarded to all members of the Territorial Force (including nursing sisters) who volunteered for overseas service not later than 30 September 1914 and who had so served between 4 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. They had to be serving in the Territorial Force on 4 August 1914 or must have completed four years Territorial Force service before that date and rejoined not later than 30 September 1914. In addition, they must not have been eligible for the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star. Eligibility terminated on 11 November 1918 although the dates 1914-1919 appear on the medal.
The Allied Subjects Medal
The Allied Subjects Medal was instituted in 1922 and awarded by the Foreign Office to Allied personnel who, at risk to their own lives or liberty, assisted British soldiers behind enemy lines during the War of 1914 to 1918. The medal was issued in silver or bronze, but in some cases only 'thank you' letters were despatched. The roll for this award (WO 329/2957) contains the names of French and Belgian men and women, and also of Danish, Dutch and other nationals, and their addresses are usually given.
The Silver War Badge for Services Rendered
The Silver War Badge for Services Rendered was authorised on 12 September 1916 for officers and men of HM Forces who had been retired or discharged on account of wounds or sickness caused by war service, at home or abroad from 4 August 1914. The regulations were extended on several later dates to include wider categories, including women.
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- WO 329 War Office and Air Ministry: Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War