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British Commonwealth War and Campaign Medals Awarded to New Zealanders - The 1914 - 15 Star

Obverse View

The 1914 - 15 Star obverse view

About the 1914-15 Star

The 1914-15 Star was awarded to servicemen and servicewomen who served between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 in any "theatre of war", provided they had not qualified for the 1914 Star. This included service at Gallipoli between 25 April 1915 and 31 December 1915, service in Egypt between 5 November 1914 and 31 December 1915, and service during the capture of German Samoa on 29 August 1914. Those eligible for the medal must have "served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war" during the relevant dates of operations in that area.

The 1914-15 Star is a crowned four-pointed star with crossed swords and a wreath of oak leaves, with the royal cypher at the foot and a central scroll inscribed 1914-15.  The 1914-15 Star is identical to the 1914 Star, except for the omission of AUG and NOV, and the scroll across the centre being inscribed 1914-15. The reverse of the 1914-15 Star is plain, except for the inscribed name and service details of the recipient. The medal is bronze and is attached to the ribbon by a ring.

Throughout the British Empire more than 2.35 million 1914-15 Stars were awarded.

Initially this medal was not going to be awarded for service at Gallipoli. Instead, it had been proposed by Lieutenant General Birdwood in October 1917 that a Gallipoli Star (originally to be called the ANZAC Star) should be awarded to members of the Australian Imperial Force and 1NZEF who served at Gallipoli. King George V approved the idea the following month. However, by August 1918 when the design of the star and the conditions for award had been finalised, and stocks of ribbon forwarded to New Zealand and Australia, the proposal was reviewed by the British government following criticism from both members of Parliament and the media in the United Kingdom, who were uneasy about British and other forces of the Empire being ineligible for the proposed star. After consultation with the Australian and New Zealand governments, the British War Cabinet agreed that the 1914-15 Star would be awarded to all personnel who had served at Gallipoli. (Source: Ian McGibbon (ed), The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Oxford University Press, Auckland, 2000), p.226).

In 1967 the Australian and New Zealand governments jointly agreed to issue an ANZAC Commemorative Medallion (which was not designed to be worn) to all veterans and the next of kin of veterans who had served at Gallipoli.

About the ribbon

The ribbon is watered silk with red, white and blue stripes.  This is the same ribbon as that worn on the 1914 Star.

Clasps and Bars

No clasps or bars were issued for this medal.

Order of Wear

The position of this medal in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.

Recent Media Statements concerning service by New Zealand personnel which qualified for the award of the 1914-15 Star

30 April 2013 - Waimauku Man Finds His Great Great Grandfather at Gallipoli

Further information about First World War medals

For more information about First World War medals the following books are recommended:

Alec A. Purves. The Medals, Decorations and Orders of the Great War 1914-1918. 2nd revised edition (1989)

Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. 20th edition (1983). Edited and revised by Alec A. Purves