There are many military campaign medals, ranging in shape, size and materials, from gold and silver to bronze and nickel.

In this blog, we will look at some of the most prestigious British medals awarded to people serving in the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence and veterans. 

What is a Campaign Medal, and what are they made from?

Campaign medals are awarded to servicemen who participated in a specific military operation, such as World War I and World War II. Other criteria also need to be met to receive a British medal; usually serving in a particular area of the armed forces during a specific date range. As you can imagine, there have been many British campaign medals issued over time. Visit the Campaign Medals section of our website to explore more.

World War I British Medals

The most significant medals awarded for service during World War I, are the 1914 or 1914-15 Stars, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. 

The 1914 and 1914-1915 Star Medals

The 1914 Star Medal was the first to be issued and was awarded to British soldiers who fought in France or Belgium from the 5th August 1914 – 22nd November 1914. 

1914 Star Full Size

The 1914-15 Star was released shortly afterwards but had a wider set of criteria. It was awarded to servicemen who served anywhere outside of the UK between 5th August 1914 – 31st December 1915. 

1914-15 Star Full Size

Both medals were struck from bronze – one of the most common materials used for commemorative medals. Each medal was engraved with the recipient’s service number, rank, name and unit on the reverse.

We stock high-quality replicas of the 1914 Star Medal and the 1914-15 Star Medal, which can be personalised and mounted.  

The British War Medal and Victory Medal

The British War Medal was struck from silver, with the front featuring King George V with a Latin engraving following the curvature of the medal. It was awarded to eligible personnel who completed service between 5th August 1914 - 11th  November 1918. However, it was later extended to 1920 and awarded to servicemen for their contributions in areas such as Russia, the Baltic, Siberia and the Black Sea. 

British War Medal Full Size

Lastly, we have the Victory Medal. Struck from bronze, each of the allied nations released its own version but with an identical ribbon. This campaign medal was awarded to those who received the 1914 or 1914-15 Star Medals, and to most of those who received the British War Medal.

Victory Medal Full Size

Take a look at our British War Medal and Victory Medal, which can be diamond engraved with your service number, rank, name & initials and regiment or service.

World War II British Medals

During World War II, there were nine star medals in total for various military operations which took place during this time. It is said King George VI designed each of the ribbons that accompanied these awards.

The Defence Medal and the War Medal were also awarded to eligible servicemen for their contribution to the war. 

The Defence Medal and The War Medal

The Defence Medal was awarded to personnel who contributed in a non-service capacity in the UK and overseas, such as people working at military headquarters, airfields, training bases and within the Home Guard. 

Defence Medal Full Size

This particular campaign medal featured King George VI on the obverse with a green and orange ribbon. The colours were a symbolic reference to the attacks on Britain’s ‘green and pleasant land’. 

The British version of the Defence Medal was struck from Cupro-Nickel. This is a copper alloy that contains elements such as nickel, iron and manganese, which help make it stronger. Despite Cupro-Nickel’s high copper content, it is silver in colour. Get your replica of the Defence Medal here

The War Medal was given to anyone who served from 1939 to 1945 in addition to the campaign stars and Defence Medal – it did not matter where the service took place.

War Medal 1939-45 Full Size

This British medal was also struck from Cupro-Nickel. The obverse depicts King George VI, while the reverse displays a triumphant lion conquering a double-headed dragon. The red, white and blue ribbon represents the Union Jack flag. 

Browse the War Medal in more detail.