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Awards and decorations of the British Military are military orders, decorations and medals which recognise service and personal accomplishments while a member of the British armed forces. Together with military badges, such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career.

Order of wear

All services use a common order of wear, the following general rules apply:

  1. The Victoria Cross and the George Cross
  2. United Kingdom Orders
  3. United Kingdom Decorations
  4. Order of St John (all classes)
  5. United Kingdom Medals for Gallantry and for Distinguished Service
  6. United Kingdom Operational Service Medals (including authorised United Nations Medals and Medals of other recognised International Organisations). Worn in order of date of award
  7. United Kingdom Polar Medals
  8. United Kingdom Police Medals for Valuable Service
  9. United Kingdom Jubilee, Coronation and Durbar Medals
  10. Long Service and Efficiency Awards
  11. Commonwealth Orders, Decorations and Medals instituted by the Sovereign. Worn in order of date of award.
  12. Commonwealth Orders, Decorations and Medals instituted since 1949 otherwise than by the Sovereign (including those of the States of Malaysia and the State of Brunei). Worn in order of date of award.
  13. Foreign Orders. If approved for wear, worn in order of date of award.
  14. Foreign Decorations. If approved for wear, worn in order of date of award.
  15. Foreign Medals. If approved for wear, worn in order of date of award.

British military medals and ribbons

Military orders and decorations

Emblem Description Postnom Established Eligibility Period Remarks
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Victoria Cross VC 5 Feb 1856 Jan 1856 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text George Cross GC 24 Sep 1940 1940 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
(Military Division)
GCB(Mil) 27 May 1725 27 May 1725 – present Prior to 2 Jan 1815, this grade was known as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Order of Merit
(Military Division)
OM(Mil) 23 Jun 1902 23 Jun 1902 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
(Military Division)
GBE(Mil) 24 Aug 1917 4 Jun 1917 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Knight/Dame of the Order of the Bath
(Military Division)
KCB(Mil)
DCB(Mil)
2 Jan 1815 2 Jan 1815 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Knight/Dame of the Order of the British Empire
(Military Division)
KBE(Mil)
DBE(Mil)
24 Aug 1917 4 Jun 1917 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Companion of the Order of the Bath
(Military Division)
CB(Mil) 2 Jan 1815 1815 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Commander of the Order of the British Empire
(Military Division)
CBE(Mil) 24 Aug 1917 4 Jun 1917 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Distinguished Service Order DSO 09 Nov 1886 1885 – present From Oct 1993 awarded for leadership only. Replaced for gallantry in Oct 1993 by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Officer of the Order of the British Empire
(Military Division)
OBE(Mil) 24 Aug 1917 4 Jun 1917 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Member of the Order of the British Empire
(Military Division)
MBE(Mil) 24 Aug 1917 4 Jun 1917 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Order of Merit (1st Class)
(Military Division)
IOM(Mil)   1837–1911 Replaced by the VC in 1911.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Order of Merit (2nd Class)
(Military Division)
IOM(Mil)   1837–1947  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Order of Merit (3rd Class)
(Military Division)
IOM(Mil)   1837–1947  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Conspicuous Gallantry Cross CGC October 1993 1993 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Royal Red Cross (Class I) RRC 27 April 1883 1883 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Distinguished Service Cross DSC June 1901 1901 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Military Cross MC Dec 1914 1914 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Distinguished Flying Cross DFC June 1918 1918 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Air Force Cross AFC 3 Jun 1918 1918 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Royal Red Cross (Class II) ARRC 27 April 1883 1917 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Order of British India (First Class) OBI   1837–1947  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Order of British India (Second Class) OBI   1837–1947  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Distinguished Conduct Medal DCM 1854 1854–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Conspicuous Gallantry Medal CGM   1874–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) CGM 1874 1874–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text George Medal GM September 1940 1940 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Royal West African Frontier Force Distinguished Conduct Medal   1907 1907–1942  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King's African Rifles Distinguished Conduct Medal   1907 1907–1942  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Distinguished Service Medal IDSM June 1907 1907–1947  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Distinguished Service Medal DSM October 1914 1914–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Military Medal MM 25 March 1916 1916–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Distinguished Flying Medal DFM June 1918 1918–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Air Force Medal AFM 3 June 1918 1918–1993  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Medal for Saving Life at Sea SGM 10 August 1854 1854 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Burma Gallantry Medal BGM 10 May 1940 1940–1948  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen's Gallantry Medal QGM 20 June 1974 1974 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text British Empire Medal BEM 24 Aug 1917 04 Jun 1917 – 1993
2012–Present
 
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal QVRM 1999 1999 – present  
Insignia image of a bronze, single oakleaf insignia representing the award of a Mentioned in Despatches Mentioned in Despatches 1920 1914 – present  
Queens Commendation for Brave Conduct.png King's/Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct   1939–1994  
  King's/Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air   1939–1994  
  Queen's Commendation for Bravery   1994 – present  
  Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air   1994 – present  
  Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service   1993 – present  

Note Eligibility period start dates reflect respective establishment dates, except where available evidence indicates otherwise.

Military campaign medals

Emblem Description Established Eligibility Period Remarks
18th Century Campaign Medals
Yellow Cord Morighyr Mutiny Medal 1766 1766 HEIC Issue.[C 1]
Yellow Cord Decan Medal 1784 1778–1784 HEIC Issue. Awarded in gold to Subadars, silver gilt to Jemadars and other native officers, and silver to 'native' non-commissioned officers and soldiers.
Yellow Cord Mysore Medal 1 Apr 1793 1790–1792 HEIC Issue. Awarded in gold to Subadars, silver gilt to Jemadars and Serrangs, and silver to 'native' non-commissioned officers and soldiers.
19th Century Campaign Medals
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Siege of Seringapatam Medal 1801 March 1799 – 8 May 1799 HEIC Issue. Awarded in gold, silver gilt, silver, bronze and tin dependant upon rank and position to both British subjects and 'native' soldiers. Authorised for British Army wear on 29 Aug 1815. Several other ribbons were worn unofficially.
Yellow Cord Medal for Egypt 1801 31 Jul 1802 08 Mar 1801 – 31 Aug 1801 HEIC Issue. Awarded in gold to senior officers, and silver to all others eligible.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Army Gold Medal 1806 1808–1814 Issued with battle/action claps where appropriate.
Yellow Cord Capture of Ceylon Medal 15 May 1807 1795–1796 HEIC Issue. Awarded in gold to 'native' officers, and silver to 'native' non-commissioned officers and soldiers.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Army Gold Cross 1810 1808–1814 Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Waterloo Medal 1816 16 Jun 1815 – 18 Jun 1815  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Ghuznee Medal 1839 21 Jul 1839 – 23 Jul 1839 HEIC Issue.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Candahar, Ghuznee, Cabul Medal 1842 1839–1842 HEIC Issue.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Jellalabad Medals 1842   HEIC Issue.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Medal for the Defence of Kelat-I-Ghilzie 1842   HEIC Issue.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text China War Medal (1842) 1843 5 Jul 1840 – 29 Aug 1842 Issued with clasps for Second China War where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Scinde Medal 22 Sep 1843 1842–1843 HEIC Issue. Issued in one of three types: "Meeanee 1943", "Hyderabad 1843" and "Meeanee/Hyderabad 1843".
See Below Gwalior Star 1843   HEIC Issue, issued for the Battle of Gwalior, which was fought at Maharajpur and Panihaar. Medals indicated in central disc of star the battleground for which it was issued
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Maharajpoor Star 1843 29 Dec 1843 HEIC Issue.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Punniar Star 1843 29 Dec 1843 HEIC Issue.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Sutlej Medal 17 Apr 1846 7 Sep 1845 – 14 Mar 1849 HEIC Issue. Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Naval General Service Medal 1847 1793–1840 Always issued with battle/action clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Military General Service Medal 1 Jun 1847 1793–1814 Always issued with battle/action clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Punjab Medal 2 Apr 1849 7 Sep 1848 – 14 Mar 1849 HEIC Issue. Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Army of India Medal 21 Mar 1851 1803–1826 HEIC Issue. Always issued with battle/action clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text India General Service Medal (1854) 11 Mar 1854 1852–1895 Issued in silver. From 1885, issued in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel. Always issued with battle/action clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text South Africa Medal (1854) 1854 1834–1835
1846–1847
1850–1853
 
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Crimean War Medal 15 Dec 1854 1854–1856 Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Baltic Medal 23 Apr 1856 1854–1855  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Mutiny Medal 1858 1857–1858 HEIC Issue. Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Second China War Medal 6 Mar 1861 1856–1860 Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text New Zealand Medal 1869 1845–1848
1860–1866
Issued in bronze and silver.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Abyssinian War Medal 1869    
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Canada General Service Medal   1866–1870  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Ashantee Medal   1873–1874  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text South Africa Medal (1877) Aug 1880 1877–1879 Issued with campaign clasp where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Afghanistan Medal 1881 1878–1880  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Kabul to Kandahar Star   1880  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Egypt Medal   1882–1889  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text East and West Africa Medal 1892 13 Nov 1887 – 8 May 1900 Issued in silver to officers and enlisted personnel and in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel. Issued with campaign and battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text India General Service Medal (1895) 1 Apr 1896 3 Mar 1895 – 10 Mar 1902 Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Ashanti Star 1896    
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen's Sudan Medal 1899    
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text East and Central Africa Medal 1899 20 Jul 1897 – 2 May 1899 Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen's South Africa Medal Apr 1901 11 Oct 1899 – 31 May 1902 Issued in silver to officers and enlisted personnel and in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel. Issued with appropriate battle or state clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen's Mediterranean Medal 1902 1899–1902  
20th Century Campaign Medals
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Third China War Medal 1901 1900 Issued in silver to officers and enlisted personnel and in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel. Issued with battle/action clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Ashanti Medal 1901    
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King's South Africa Medal 1902 1 Jan 1902 – 1 Jun 1902 Issued with clasps and where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Africa General Service Medal 1902  ? – 1962  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Transport Medal 1903   For South Africa or China.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Tibet Medal 1 Feb 1905 13 Dec 1903 – 23 Sep 1904 Issued in silver to officers and enlisted personnel and in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text India General Service Medal (1909) 1 Jan 1909 1908–1935 Issued in silver to officers and enlisted personnel and, during 1908–1912, in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel. Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text 1914 Star Apr 1917 5 Aug 1914 – 22 Nov 1914 Issued with clasp where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text 1914-15 Star Dec 1918 5 Aug 1914 – 31 Dec 1915  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text British War Medal 26 Jul 1919 5 Aug 1914 – 11 Nov 1918 Issued in silver to officers and enlisted soldiers and in bronze to non-enlisted support personnel.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Victory Medal 1 Sep 1919 5 Aug 1914 – 11 Nov 1918
1919–1920
11 Nov 1918 – 30 Nov 1919
World War 1. Issued with MID oak leaf cluster where appropriate.
British Naval Mission to Russia
North Sea mine clearance
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Territorial Force War Medal Apr 1920 4 Aug 1914 – 11 Nov 1918  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Mercantile Marine War Medal 01 Sep 1919 4 Aug 1914 – 11 Nov 1918  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Naval General Service Medal (1915) 6 Aug 1915 1909 – 23 Dec 1962 Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text General Service Medal (1918) 19 Jan 1923 12 Nov 1918 – 23 Dec 1962 Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text India General Service Medal (1936) 3 Aug 1938 1936–1939 Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps. Issued with MID oak leaf where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text 1939-45 Star 1945 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945 Issued with clasps or where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Atlantic Star   3 Sep 1939 – 8 May 1945 Issued with clasps or where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Air Crew Europe Star   3 Sep 1939 – 5 Jun 1944 Issued with clasps or where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Africa Star   10 Jun 1940 – 12 May 1943 Issued with clasps or or where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Pacific Star   8 Dec 1941 – 2 Sep 1945 Issued with clasp where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Burma Star   11 Dec 1941 – 2 Sep 1945 Issued with clasp where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Italy Star   11 Jun 1943 – 8 May 1945  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text France and Germany Star   6 Jun 1944 – 8 May 1945 Issued with clasp where appropriate.
Arctic Star bar.png Arctic Star   3 Sept 1939 – 8 May 1945  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Defence Medal 16 Aug 1945 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945 Issued with KCBC silver oak leaf where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text War Medal 1939–1945 16 Aug 1945 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945 Issued with MID bronze oak leaf or KCBC silver oak leaf where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text India Service Medal 6 Jun 1946 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Canadian Volunteer Service Medal 22 Oct 1943 3 Sep 1939 – 1 Mar 1947 Issued with , , or clasps where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Africa Service Medal 23 Dec 1943 6 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945 Issued with KCSA (1939–45) bronze protea where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Australia Service Medal Nov 1949 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text New Zealand War Service Medal 30 Sep 1948 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Southern Rhodesia Medal for War Service      
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Newfoundland Volunteer War Service Medal 17 Dec 1993 3 Sep 1939 – 2 Sep 1945  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Korea Medal Jul 1951 1 Jul 1950 – 27 Jul 1953  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text General Service Medal (1962) 06 Oct 1964 24 Dec 1962 – 31 Jul 2007 Always issued with appropriate campaign clasps. Replaced 1918 GSM.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text South Atlantic Medal 1982 2 Apr 1982 – 12 Jul 1982 Issued with for service south of 35th Parallel where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Gulf Medal 1992 2 Aug 1990 – 7 Mar 1991 Issued with clasp or where appropriate.
21st Century Campaign Medals
See below Operational Service Medal 1 Jan 2000 See below Replaced GSM 1962. Issued with a separate ribbon for each campaign.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text OSM Sierra Leone 2002 5 May 2000 – 31 Jul 2002 Issued with for Op BARRAS or Op MAIDENLY where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text OSM Afghanistan 2003 11 Sep 2001 – present Issued with clasp where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text OSM Democratic Republic of Congo 2005 14 Jun 2003 – 10 Sep 2003 Always issued with Clasp .
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Iraq Medal 23 Feb 2004 20 Jan 2003 – present Issued with clasp where appropriate.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Iraq Reconstruction Service Medal 26 Jun 2004 19 Mar 2003 – present  

 

Coronation and Jubilee medals

Emblem Description Established Eligibility Period Remarks
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Medal 1887   Issued in Gold, Silver or Bronze
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medal 1897   Issued in Gold, Silver or Bronze
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King Edward VII Coronation Medal 1902 26 Jun 1902  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King George V Coronation Medal 1911 23 Jun 1911 Civil/Military award
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King George V Coronation Medal 1911 23 Jun 1911 Police award
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King George V Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 6 May 1935  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text King George VI Coronation Medal 1937 12 May 1937  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953 2 Jun 1953  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977 6 Feb 1977  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002 6 Feb 2002  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012 6 Feb 2012  

Efficiency and long service decorations and medals

Emblem Description Post
nom
Estab. Eligibility Period Remarks
See below Meritorious Service Medal      
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text   Meritorious Service Medal   1845 – present Army
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text   Meritorious Service Medal (Royal Navy) 1919 1928 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text   Meritorious Service Medal (Royal Marines) 1849 1947 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text   Meritorious Service Medal (Royal Air Force) 1918 1928 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Accumulated Campaign Service Medal 1994 1969 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)   1830 – present Army
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal   1831 – present  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Medal for Meritorious Service (Royal Navy) MSM   1918–1928  
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Long Service and Good Conduct Medal     For Europeans of the Indian Army.
Ribbon bar image refer to adjacent text Indian Meritorious Service Medal     For Europeans of the Indian Army.
  Royal Marines Meritorious Service Medal   1849–1947  
  Royal Air Force Meritorious Service Medal   1918–1928  
Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.PNG Royal Air Force Long