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1939–1945 Star
1939-45star 0011edikpl.jpg
Obverse of medal and ribbon
Awarded by United Kingdom and Commonwealth
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility Six months operational service
(Two months for Aircrew)
Awarded for Service
Campaign Second World War
Description Six pointed star
Clasps Battle of Britain
Bomber Command
Black&White enlargement of medal.

The 1939–45 Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in the Second World War. The medal was awarded for operational service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.


  • Army personnel had to complete six months service in an operational command. Airborne troops qualified if they had participated in any airborne operations and had completed two months service in a fully operational unit.
  • Air Force personnel had to participate in operations against the enemy providing that two months service had been completed in an operational unit. Non-aircrew personnel had to complete six months service in an area of (overseas) operational army command.
  • Naval personnel qualified if they completed six months service, and at least one voyage was made through an operational area.
  • Royal Observer Corps personnel for service of 1,080 days.

There were a number of "Qualifying Special Areas" where operational service for "one day or part thereof" qualified for the special award of the 1939–45 Star. These were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not issued. Examples are: France or Belgium: 10 May to 19 June 1940, St.Nazaire 22-28 March1942, Dieppe: 19 August 1942, Iraq: 10 April to 25 May 1941 and Burma (Enemy Invasion): 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942.[1] The star was immediately awarded if the service period was terminated by death, disability or wounding. The award of a gallantry medal or a Mention in Despatches also led to an immediate award.[2]


  • The 1939–45 Star is a six–pointed star of yellow copper zinc alloy, with a height of 44mm and maximum width of 38mm.
  • The obverse has a central design of the Royal Cypher, surmounted by a crown. The cypher is surrounded by a circlet containing the words ‘The 1939–1945 Star'.
  • The reverse is plain, with the recipient's name impressed only for Australians and South Africans.
  • The ribbon has three vertical stripes of dark blue, red and light blue. The dark blue stripe represents the Naval Forces and the Merchant Navy, the red stripe the Armies and the light blue stripe the Air Forces. The ribbon for this medal, along with those of the other Second World War campaign stars, is reputed to have been designed by King George VI, with the three equal bands representing the equal contributions towards victory of the Royal Navy, Army, and the Royal Air Force respectively.


  • Battle of Britain
10 July – 31 October 1940. Members of fighter aircraft crews who took part in the Battle of Britain were awarded this bar. In undress uniform, a silver-gilt rosette was worn on the medal ribbon to denote the award of this clasp.
  • Bomber Command
Members of bomber crews who participated in at least one operational sortie in an RAF Bomber Command operational unit were eligible for this bar.[3] In undress uniform, a silver rosette was worn on the medal ribbon to denote the award of this clasp.

Ribbon bars


  • Mackay, J and Mussel, J (eds) - Medals Yearbook — 2006, (2005), Token Publishing.
  • Joslin, Litherland, and Simpkin (eds), British Battles and Medals, (1988), Spink

See also


  1. The 1939-1945 Star Regulations
  2. British Battles and Medals, p. 248.
  3. "ARCTIC STAR AND BOMBER COMMAND CLA". Service Personnel and Veterans Agency. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 

External links

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