PATRON: Lieutenant General F J Hickling AO CSC
MEDALS - Post WWII
The Medals page is intended as a guide only. Please post medal queries at the Medal & Awards Discussion Board located at the Forum.
Naval General Service Medal
The NGSM 1915-1962 was instituted on 6 August 1915 and granted to around 250 Australians from the end of WWII until 1962. The round medal hangs from a red and white ribbon and is granted for service in minor operations. A number of distinctive clasps were issued with this medal. These include: South-East Asia 1945-48 [approximately 170 medals issued to sailors on the HMAS Macquarie, Java, 1946]; Minesweeping 1945-51 [number of issue unknown]; Yangtze 1949 [1 medal issued to a RAN Medical Officer]; Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-53 [60 medals issued]; Malaya [7 medals issued]; Near East [14 medals issued - 3 to RAN Midshipmen, serving on HMS Newfoundland, Maidstone and Albion; 10 to Officers serving on HMS Duchess, Daring, Ocean, Bulwark, Jamaica, Woodbridge Haven and Eagle, and 1 to O/R]; Palestine 1936-39 [14 issued to Officers serving on HMS Malaya, Grafton, Repulse and Havock]; and Palestine 1945-48 [1 issued to HMS Milne].
General Service Medal
The GSM was instituted after WWI for service in minor campaigns. It was the Army equivalent of the Naval General Service Medal and was awarded for service throughout the world excluding India and Africa. The first Australians to receive this medal were 45 members of the 1st Australian Wireless Squadron who were awarded the medal for service in Kurdistan . Along with the 45 clasps issued for Kurdistan, other clasps include South Persia 1918-19 [5 issued to Australian Nurses, awarded 1927]; South East Asia 1945-46 [200 issued]; Palestine 1945-48 [2 issued to the War Graves Unit]; Malaya (George VI Issue) [quantity unknown]; Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-56 [26 issued - 20 to 1st Australian Bomb Disposal Unit, PNG; 6 to 2nd Australian Bomb Disposal Unit, Solomon Islands, with one officer serving in both units]; Malaya (Elizabeth II Issue) [4,434 issued]; and Brunei [14 medals issued]. The GSM was later superseded by the GSM 1962.
The Korean Medal was issued in recognition for service in Korea between 1 July 1950 and 27 July 1953. A bronze oak leaf on the ribbon signifies dispatch recognition. A United States of America Presidential Unit Citation was also awarded to members of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The Korean Medal was issued with two obverse legends. The first features Queen Elizabeth II DEI.GRA.BRITT.OMN.REGINA.F.D.; the second rarer edition features Queen Elizabeth II DEI.GRATIA.REGINA F.D. It is interesting to note that despite the fact that King George VI was still alive until 1952, the medal's obverse only features the first of later version of Queen Elizabeth who reigned from 1953.
United Nations Service Medal (Korea)
The UN Medal For Korea was instituted in 1950. It was awarded on behalf of the United Nations for operational service in the Korean Campaign from 27 June 1950 to 26 July 1954, and in some instances, for unauthorized service in Japan of a unit which directly assisted operations in Korea.
General Service Medal 1962
The GSM 1962 was instituted with the specific aim of replacing the separate awards issued for both Army/RAAF [GSM] and Navy [NGSM]. The bars for this medal include South Vietnam, Borneo, Malaya Peninsula and Radfan. Clasps are worn in order of merit starting from the bottom up. In total, 68 medals were awarded for South Vietnam [32 to Officers and 36 to WO's] 3,000 medals were issued for Borneo most of which went to the Army. The Army also received 1,000 medals for the Malaya Peninsula. Only 1 medal was awarded for Radfan to the RAN Officer serving on HMS Centaur, there were 3000 medals to the Navy for "Borneo" and 1000 to the Navy for "Malay Peninsular"
Instituted on 8 June 1968, the VM was awarded for service in Vietnam from 29 May 1964 to 11 January 1973. It superseded the General Service Medal with a bar for Vietnam. The medal is round, sterling silver, with Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. The inscription reads 'Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina F.D.' The reverse depicts a symbol of a man. Vietnam is inscribed above his head. The ribbon from centre to outer edge, is three thin stripes of red on yellow [representing the flag of the former Republic of South Vietnam], flanked by stripes of red, edged by a stripe of navy on one side and a stripe of pale blue on the other. In total, 49,708 medals were awarded. The Navy received 2,858; the Army 42,407 and the RAAF 4,443.
Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal
The VLSM [instituted on 24 February 1993] was awarded to those who did not qualify for the Vietnam Medal. This medal required at least one day of service. The VLSM is a round, nickel-silver, with the crowned head of Queen Elizabeth on the obverse, and a man on the reverse. 'Vietnam' is imprinted above the man's head. The ribbon is yellow with three thin central red stripes. The yellow is flanked by dark blue and brown. The outer edges are pale blue on the right and red on the left.
Vietnamese Campaign Medal
This medal was instituted by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. It was awarded between 31 July 1962 and 27 January 1973, to those with 181 days [Special Service] in Vietnam or qualifying waters. Exceptions to the required days of service include the award of the medal to battle casualties and those who died in action.
Papua-New Guinea Independence Medal
This medal was issued in 1976-77 to Civilians; Police Defence Force, Corrective Institutions, Fire Services and members of the Australian Defence Force who served in PNG between 1 December 1973 and 16 September 1975. 187 medals were issued to members of the Army; 9 to Navy and 6 tot he RAAF.
Australian Active Service Medal (post 1975)
The AASM [post 1975] was instituted 25 October 1991 in recognition of operational service after 1975. A round, nickel-silver medal ensigned with the Crown of St Edward, the medal has a nickel-silver clasp to identify locality. The Commonwealth Star surround by a wreath of wattle features on the obverse, and a laurel wreath on the reverse. The ribbon is green and yellow, with a red centre stripe signifying active service.
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75
The AASM 1945-75 instituted on 11 December 1997, recognises warlike service between 3 September 1945 and 14 February 1975. It is a round 32mm silver-nickel, flagged by the Crown of Saint Edward. The principal design is a Federation Star surrounded by the words 'Australian Active Service Medal 1945-1975'. The reverse has a horizontal panel 25mm across and 8mm deep surrounded by two sprays of wattle. The ribbon is 32mm wide, having a central red stripe of 2mm, representing the dangers of war, flanked by two yellow stripes of 2mm, 4mm stripes of blue, then two dark green stripes of 4mm and two purple stripes of 4mm. It is said that these colours reflect the 1947-1975 Imperial Medal ribbons. The medal is issued with nickel-silver clasps according to service location and in some instances, is awarded to non-defence personnel who supported those in operational service.
Australian Service Medal (post 1975)
The ASM [post 1975] was instituted on 13 September 1988 to recognise peacekeeping operations undertaken by Australian Defence personnel. The medal is round, nickel-silver, flagged by the Crown of St. Edward. The Commonwealth Coat of Arms features on the obverse and on the reverse there is a seven pointed Commonwealth Star cushioned by sprays of wattle. A clasp denotes the area of operation.
Australian Service Medal 1945-1975
The ASM 1945-1975 is a round, nickel-silver, medal hanging from a ribbon of light and dark blue, khaki, green and gold, said to represent the Australian Defence Services. A modified shield of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms features on the obverse and a Commonwealth Star overlaid with the recipient's name features on the reverse. The medal is ensigned with the Crown of St. Edward. Silver-silver clasps denote locality. This medal is awarded for service in overseas peace-keeping missions and other non-like war operations.
Australian Defence Medal
The Rhodesia Medal was awarded to the Commonwealth Monitoring Force who served during the transitional stages of Rhodesian independence. Granted for 14 days service from 1 December 1979 to 20 March 1980, this medal features a crowned Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and a sable antelope with the inscription 'The Rhodesia Medal' on the reverse. In total, 152 medals were issued all of which were awarded to the Army. 36 medals were awarded to Officers; 109 to NCO's; and 7 to OR's.
Vanuatu Independence Medal 1980
Minted in Cupro Nickel this 36mm diameter medal features the Arms of Vanuatu with the inscription 'Vanuatu Independence 1980' surrounding. The National Emblem features on the reverse. This medal was instituted in 1980, or which 4 were awarded. The RAAF received 3 and an 1 was awarded to an Army Pilot. Picture of Medal courtesy of Mr Lang Kidby
Multinational Force and Observers
Although the League of Nations lasted over 20 years, no true system of field observation existed and no awards system was instituted.
Once the UN took over from the League of Nations, medals have been struck to commemorate a number of those previous actions.
Apart from the two MFO's. There are the;
- International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC) Indochina. 1954-65
- ICSC for Indo China (Vietnam) . 1973-1975
- Organisation of American States (OAS) Dominican Republic. 1965-1966
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Former Yugoslavia. 1992 to Present
- International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) 1993-1996
International Force East Timor Medal
The IFETM was instituted on 25 March 2000 to recognise 30 days INTERFET service by the Australian Defence Force and members of the Allied Forces who served in the Australian-led operative. A dove of peace bearing an olive branch overlayed on a map of Timor features on the obverse. The medal is ensigned with the Commonwealth Star and the ribbon is green, red, white, and blue.
Australian Operational Service Medal (OSM)
From defence.gov.au: The OSM has been introduced to replace the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) and Australian Service Medal for future ADF operations.
The OSM will be awarded to ADF members for service on operations recommended and approved as warranting recognition. Each declared operation will be recognised by the standard medal with a unique ribbon for each operation in the same way as the United Nations Medal is awarded.
Where appropriate, an accumulated service device will recognise those who render additional prescribed periods of service on a particular operation.
The first service declared for the OSM is the range of border protection operations conducted since 1997.