There are many rules to adhere to when it comes to the correct wear of military medals, with even more guidelines to consider for commemorative medals. 

In this blog, we will discuss the key differences between these types of medals, with examples of medals that fall within these categories.

What are Official British Campaign Medals?

Official military medals are awarded by the Medal Office of the Ministry of Defence to people currently serving in the armed forces and veterans. Only official medals can be worn whilst in uniform by those actively serving in the armed forces.

There are many types of official medals available, all of which have set criteria that determine the eligibility for the award. Examples of these are:

  • Decorations, Gallantry and Distinguished Conduct medals – to earn this type of medal you must be recommended for reasons such as showing gallantry in the face of the enemy. Examples include the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.
  • Campaign medals are awarded to members of the Armed Forces who served during a time of war or as part of a specific campaign – such as the General Service Medals and Korea Medal.
  • Coronation and Jubilee Medals are awarded to various groups depending on the type of medal, but this tends to vary between service personnel, reserves, cadet forces, and civil service. Examples of these include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal and the King’s Coronation Medal.
  • Long Service Medals are awarded for long-term services in the Armed Forces but the criteria differs for each medal. An example is the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

We make and supply high-quality replicas of many official medals – browse our website to purchase yours with free bespoke engraving.

What are Commemorative Medals?

Commemorative Medals are not issued by the Ministry of Defence, instead, they are manufactured by reputable medal companies, such as Award Medals. They are created to commemorate a particular area of service, where official recognition has not been given. 

As commemorative medals, they have their own etiquette which must be followed: 

  • They cannot be worn on service uniform
  • They cannot be mounted alongside official orders, decorations or medals
  • They can be mounted on a separate bar and worn separately but this has no official endorsement 

We stock a wide range of commemorative medals, most of which have been requested or supported by a veteran group or charity. Here are some examples: 

British Military Service Commemorative Medal

A Regimental medal commemorating all those who served or are currently serving in any of the 23 regiments or services for any period to the present day. The obverse bears the regimental or service badge of your choice, minted on a nickel-silver plated and highly polished medallion which is set in a 24-carat gold-plated medal. It will be fitted on the appropriate coloured, woven ribbon and on a pin ready to wear.

Cold War Full Size Medal

The Cold War Medal marks service with British & Allied Forces during The Cold War, 1945 – 1991. Next of kin and direct descendants are also eligible to wear the medal.

The obverse of the medal comprises the flags of the three main players in the Cold War. The reverse features the Russian Bear, confronted by the Lion with an Eagle flying overhead. 

Take a look at this blog for more information about Commemorative Medals or visit our website to discover our collection.