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The General Service Medal
(Army and Royal Air Force) 1918 - 62

First Issue: 1918-1934 Uncrowned head of King George V with legend: ‘GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP’.
Second Issue: 1934-1936 Crowned head of King George V in robes with legend: ‘GEORGIVS V.D.G. BRITT. OMN. REX. ET. INDIAE. IMP’.
Third Issue: 1936-1949 Crowned head of King George VI with legend: ‘GEORGIVS VI D:G: BR: OMN: REX ET INDIAE IMP’.
Fourth Issue: 1949-1952 Crowned head of King George VI with legend: ‘GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF’
Fifth Issue: 1952-1953 Crowned bust of Queen Elizabeth II with legend: ‘ELIZABETH II D: G: BR: OMN: REGINA F:D.’
Sixth Issue: 1953-1964 Crowned bust of Queen Elizabeth II with legend: ‘ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F:D.’

Standing winged figure of Victory, holding a trident in left hand and placing a wreath on the emblems of the two services with her right.

Approx. 36 mm diameter.

Medal and bars silver.

Approx. 32 mm wide. Purple with a central green stripe 10 mm wide approx. 

Ornamental suspension.  First three issues are fixed, the remaining issues  swivel. 

Named on edge in thin impressed block capitals.

Sixteen: ‘S. PERSIA’ 12 Nov. 1918 - 22 June 1919.  ‘KURDISTAN’ 23 May - 6 Dec. 1919 and 19 Mar - 18 June 1923.  ‘IRAQ’ 10 Dec. 1919 - 17 Nov. 1920.  ‘N.W. PERSIA’ 10 Aug. - 31 Dec. 1920.  ‘SOUTHERN DESERT IRAQ’ 8 Jan. - 3 June 1928.  ‘NORTHERN KURDISTAN’ 15 March - 21 June 1932.  ‘PALESTINE’ 19 April 1936 - 3 Sept. 1939.  ‘S. E.  ASIA 1945-46’.  ‘BOMB AND MINE CLEARANCE 1945-49’.  ‘BOMB AND MINE CLEARANCE 1945-56’.  ‘PALESTINE 1945-48’ 27 Sept. 1945 - 30 June 1948.  ‘MALAYA’ 16 June 1948 - 31 July 1960, or for Colony of Singapore 16 June 1948 - 31 Jan. 1959.  ‘CANAL ZONE’ 16 Oct. 1951 to 19 Oct 1954.  ‘CYPRUS’ 1 Apr. 1955 - 19 Apr. 1959.  ‘NEAR EAST’ 31 Oct. - 22 Dec. 1956.  ‘ARABIAN PENINSULA’ 1 Jan. 1957 - 30 June 1960.  ‘BRUNEI’ 8 - 23 December 1962.

A bronze oak leaf emblem would be worn on the ribbon to denote a Mention in Dispatches in any of the campaigns for which the medal was awarded after 11 August 1920.

This medal was authorised by Army Order No. 4 of 19 January 1923 for services in areas other than the frontier areas of India and East, Central and West Africa.

Qualification for the different bars vary and are further complicated by the differing conditions of service in the Army and Royal Air Force.  Civilians in a number of officially recognised organisations are eligible for this medal, i.e., Ministry of Defence (Army Department) Fire Service; Missions to Mediterranean Garrisons; British Red Cross Society; Welfare Services; Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI); etc.

The King’s Own
The medal awarded to King’s Own men is mainly seen bearing the bars ‘PALESTINE’, the 2nd Battalion served in Palestine during the emergency from September 1938 to September 1939, and ‘ARABIAN PENINSULA’, the 1st Battalion served on internal security duties in Aden and Bahrain for over three months in the latter half of 1958.  A number of General Service Medals (1918-1962) with other bars were awarded to King’s Own personnel for services on the Staff or on attachment to other units or formations.  An example of this in the museum collection is a medal bearing the bar ‘MALAYA’.

General Service Medals in the museum's collection

The General Service Medal

© 2006 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum