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War Medal 1939–45
War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg
Obverse (top left) and reverse (top right) of the medal. Ribbon: 32mm, narrow red stripe in centre, with a narrow white stripe on either side, broad red stripes at either edge and two intervening stripes of blue.
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
Type Campaign medal
Eligibility British and Commonwealth forces.
Awarded for Campaign service.
Campaign Second World War 1939–45.
Description Cupro-nickel or silver disk, 36mm diameter.
Clasps Single oak leaf emblem for MID
Established 16 August 1945
Related Defence Medal
War Medal 39-45 BAR MID.png

Ribbon with palm for Mentioned in Dispatches

The War Medal 1939–1945 was a British decoration awarded to those who had served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy full-time for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. In the Merchant Navy, the 28 days must have been served at sea. It is sometimes described as the "Victory Medal" for World War II, although that is not its correct name.[1]


  • A circular silver (.800 fine) medal, 36mm in diameter. The British issue medals were made of cupro-nickel.
  • The obverse shows the crowned coinage effigy of King George VI, facing left, and the legend GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX ET INDIAE:IMP.
  • The reverse shows a lion standing on the body of a double-headed dragon. The dragon's heads are those of an eagle and a dragon to signify the principal occidental and oriental enemies. At the top, just right of centre are the dates 1939/1945 in two lines.
  • The ribbon is 1.25 inches wide and consists of 7 coloured stripes: red, dark blue, white, narrow red (centre), white, dark blue, and red, representing the colours of the Union Flag
  • The medals were issued unnamed; except those awarded to personnel of the Canadian Merchant Marine, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who served only on the RCMP schooner St. Roch, the Royal Indian Army, South African and Australian forces, which were named on the rim.
  • The medal was designed by Edward Carter Preston.[2]


See also


  1. Ministry of Defence: Medal FAQs
  2. Crompton, Ann, Edward Carter Preston 1885 - 1965, (Liverpool): University of Liverpool Art Gallery, 1999, ISBN 0-85323-792-1

External links

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