At the conclusion of World War 2 an initial medal assessment was carried out and medal papers were raised including details of a seamans service. These were sent to ports to await the signature of the veteran, as to the accuracy of the information, and then returned to the RGSS. Medals were not automatically issued but had to be claimed by the veteran. These papers are still retained by the RSS but, due to the ravages of time and the process, are not now totally complete.
This series contains a database of World War II Medals issued to Merchant Seamen 1946-2002 which is a record of medals claimed and issued. This gives details of the ribbons and medals issued to individual seamen for their service in World War 2. It records each seaman's name plus, usually, his discharge book number and date and place of birth as well as the medals, ribbons and clasps issued together with a reference to the medal papers file.
The medals awarded are indicated by:
- 1939 1939-1945 Star.
- AT Atlantic Star.
- AF Africa Star.
- PA Pacific Star.
- BU Burma Star.
- FR France and Germany Star.
- WM War Medal.
- IT Italy Star.
- CL Clasp.
- OLE Oak Leaf.
A cross (×) drawn through a symbol indicates the issue of that medal; a circle (O) drawn through a symbol indicates that only the ribbon for that medal has been issued. If a cross and a circle have been used then both a medal and a ribbon have been issued. An R sometimes appears and signifies that an application for that medal was reviewed and refused.
Other terms may be found on certain entries:
- DNA: Director of Naval Accounts (the Royal Navy medal issuing authority) or, more recently, Do Not Authorise.
- Refer to Aust: the medals were not issued to an individual by the Registry of Shipping but referred on to the Australian authorities.
- Refer to NZ: the medals were not issued to an individual by the Registry of Shipping but referred on to the New Zealand authorities.
Ribbons were usually issued at the port by the Mercantile Marine Office; the medal normally followed on some time later after it had been produced by the Mint. It is believed that the Atlantic Star and the 1939-1945 ribbon were issued in advance of the others. For those trying to discover whether a medal was issued, or was an unclaimed entitlement, then the RSS should be contacted, before undertaking lengthy searches at The National Archives, as they have the most up-to-date records.
Digital copies of Merchant seamen’s campaign medal records 1939-1945 can be searched and downloaded.