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The Defence Medal Eligibility Rules

THE DEFENCE MEDAL

54. General

The Defence Medal is granted for non-operational service in the armed Forces, the Home Guard, the Civil Defence Services and other approved civilian service during the period 3rd September, 1939, to 2nd September, 1945, (inclusive)

Army Qualifications

  1. The qualification for army personnel is:-
    1. three years' service in the United Kingdom (if normally resident therein), or three months' (90 days) service in a Mine and Bomb Disposal Unit. Military service in the United Kingdom qualifies up to 8th May, 1945.
    2. Six months' (180 days) service overseas from or outside the country of residence in a non-operational area subjected to air attack or closely threatened. A list of non-operational areas which were subjected to air attack or closely threatened together with the qualifying periods is given in para. 55. Service will be reckonable from the date of embarkation and will be counted at half the actual time of the voyage to the area.
    3. One year's (360 days) service overseas from or outside the country of residence in a non-operational area other than those stated in para. 55. Military service overseas from the United Kingdom qualifies up to 2nd September, 1945. Service will be reckonable from the date of embarkation and will be counted at its full rate from the voyage to the non-operational area.
    4. If the normal country of residence of army personnel was overseas from the United Kingdom the qualifying period for service in that country will be that laid down for full-time service with the local eligible categories in the areas defined in para. 59.
  2. The time qualification for uniformed personnel of the classes referred to in para. 9 (iii) for service in the United Kingdom will be as for army personnel in para. 54 (i) (a). Note.–the conditions for special awards of the Defence Medal are stated in Section I.
  3. In dealing with claims relating to service outside the country of residence, the following territories are classified as one area; that is to say, movements by personnel from one territory to another within the defined groups will not be regarded, for the award of the Defence Medal, as “outside the country of residence,” viz.:-
    1. Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Eire, Isle of Man and the Channel islands (including all the islands adjacent to Great Britain).
    2. Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Transjordan.
    3. Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Zanzibar.
    4. Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast.
    5. The Union of South Africa, South-West Africa, Basutoland, Swaziland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate.

Note. - Civil Defence Service in Guernsey and service in the Jersey Volunteer Force in June, 1940, is not service qualifying for the Defence Medal.

55. Threatened, etc., Areas

The territories classified as non-operational areas subjected to enemy air attacks or closely threatened are:-

From To
(i) Europe
United Kingdom 3.9.39 8.5.45
(ii) Mediterranean Area.
) 3.9.39 9.6.40
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan) 28.11.41 8.5.45
Corsica 5.10.43 8.5.45
Cyprus 3.9.39 8.5.45
) 3.9.39 9.6.40
Egypt) 13.5.43 8.5.45
Gibraltar 3.9.39 8.5.45
) 3.9.39 9.6.40
Malta) 13.5.43 8.5.45
North Africa 13.5.43 8.5.45
Palestine 3.9.39 8.5.45
Sardinia 20.9.43 8.5.45
Sicily 18.8.43 8.5.45
Sinai 3.9.39 8.5.45
) 3.9.39 7.6.41
Syria and Lebanon) 12.7.41 8.5.45
Pantellaria 12.6.43 8.5.45
(iii) Indian Ocean
Aden 3.9.39 8.5.45
Andaman Islands 3.9.39 22.3.42
Bengal and Assam (West of the Brahmaputra) 1.1.44 2.9.45
Ceylon 3.9.39 8.5.45
Cocos/Keeling Islands 3.9.39 2.9.45
) 3.9.39 9.4.41
Iraq) 1.6.41 8.5.45
Maldive Islands 3.9.39 8.5.45
Mauritius 3.9.39 8.5.45
Nicobar Islands 3.9.39 22.3.42
) 3.9.39 24.8.41
Persia) 29.8.41 8.5.45
Rodriquez Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Seychelles 3.9.39 8.5.45
(iv) Pacific Area
British North Borneo 3.9.39 30.12.41
Brunei 3.9.39 7.12.41
Christmas Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Cook Islands 3.9.39 2.9.45
Fanning Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Fiji Islands 3.9.39 2.9.45
Hong-Kong 3.9.39 7.12.41
Malaya 3.9.39 7.12.41
New Caledonia 3.9.39 2.9.45
New Hebrides 3.9.39 2.9.45
North Territory of Australia (North of latitude 14? 30' South). 3.9.392.9.45
Norfolk Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Phoenix Islands 3.9.39 2.9.45
Rarotonga Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Sarawak 3.9.39 7.12.41
Tonga Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Torres Strait Islands 3.9.39 2.9.45
Union Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Washington Island 3.9.39 2.9.45
Western Samoa 3.9.39 2.9.45
(v) West Atlantic
Falkland Islands 3.9.39 8.5.45

56. Local Commissions and Recruitment Overseas

  1.  
    1. The qualification for British subjects who were living more or less permanently in the non-operational territory overseas in which they were commissioned or enlisted for service in the British Army or in the local military force (such territory being subjected to air attack or closely threatened) (para. 55) and who did not thereafter serve elsewhere, will be three years, or that laid down for the particular area as defined in para. 59.
    2. The qualification for those who afterwards served in a non-operational area outside the country of residence (subject to para. 54 (iii)) will be six month in an area closely threatened, etc. (para. 55) or one year elsewhere as for army personnel.
    3. Those who were living more or less permanently in a non-operational territory neither subject to air attack nor closely threatened and did not serve elsewhere (e.g., officers commissioned in America for duty with the British Army Staff or personnel of the local forces in West Africa or the West Indies), may not count such service as a qualification for the Defence Medal. (They will, however, be eligible for the War Medal, 1939-45).
    4. Those who left the territory of residence (e.g., from the Argentine Republic to the United Kingdom), will qualify on entering military service in the United Kingdom or in a similar qualifying area.
    5. Cases of difficulty in applying the above rules will be referred to the War Office (A.G. 4 (Medals)) for decision. Consideration will be given to applications from individuals who were not normally resident in the territory in which they joined the armed forces after 3rd September, 1939, but who were there on a temporary visit and did not relinquish their previous domicile elsewhere.
  2. Indian Army.
    Indian Army personnel referred to in para. 70 are not permitted to count service in India for the Defence Medal, as such service qualifies for the India Service Medal, 1939-45.

57. Home Guard

  1. The qualification for enrolled members of the Home Guard (para. 9) and personnel of specified units of the territorial Army Reserve before embodiment, is: -
    1. Three years' part-time service in the United Kingdom (or three months' (90 days) service in mine and bomb disposal units) from 14th May, 1940, to 31st December, 1944 (inclusive); or,
    2. Six months' (180 days) for British Commonwealth citizens from overseas who served in the Home Guard in the United Kingdom.

Note.–The conditions for a special award of this Medal are stated in Section I, para 10.

58. Approved Civilian Categories

The qualification for the specially approved categories of civilians (para. 9 (i)), who were eligible to qualify for campaign stars for service with the armed forces, is six months' (180 days) service overseas from, or outside, the normal country of residence in a non-operational territory subject to enemy air attack or closely threatened during the qualifying periods as shown in paras. 54 (iii) and 55. Service in the United Kingdom and service in transit to a scheduled non-operational area, may not be reckoned as qualifying service.

59. Colonial Empire

Service in the country of residence by members of colonial local military forces or militarised civilian bodies and other special categories of civilians in a qualifying territory for the Defence Medal, may be reckoned towards the required time qualification for this award, but any service rendered which qualifies for the grant for campaign stars will not reckon towards the Defence Medal.

The eligible categories with their respective qualifying periods and qualifying dates are shown below:-

[NZDF Website Notes:

1. The three pages of eligible service still need to be added to this webpage.

2. New Zealand and Australia are NOT included in this list of eligible colonial forces].

Note: Service in Palestine short of one year six months may be added to service in other territories in the group specified in para. 54 (iii) (b), but will be counted at its actual time to aggregate the required three years.

60. Foreign Subjects

  1.  
    1. Poles who served in the United Kingdom as part of the Polish Forces, are eligible for the Defence Medal, on the same terms as members of the United Kingdom Forces (para. 54).
    2. Poles who served overseas from the United Kingdom in non- operational areas in units under British command are eligible for the Defence Medal on the same terms as United Kingdom Forces (para. 54).
    3. Poles who served under British command in a non-operational area overseas from the United Kingdom, but who did not serve at anytime in the United Kingdom, are eligible to qualify for the Defence Medal on the same terms as those Poles who went overseas from the United Kingdom, and will be treated as though the United Kingdom had been their normal country of residence (para. 54).
  2. Members of W.T.S./F.A.N.Y. who served as civilians with the Polish Forces under British command overseas from the United Kingdom in non-operational areas which were subjected to enemy air attack or closely threatened (para. 55) are eligible to qualify for the Defence Medal as in sub-para. (i) above.

61. Civilians–United Kingdom

  1. The qualification for members of civilian services in the United Kingdom eligible for chevrons for war service, whether part-time or whole-time during the period the enrolled member was available for duty up to the standard required from time to time, and performed such duty as and when required (in no case being less than 48 hours monthly), is three years from 3rd September, 1939, to 8th May, 1945, or whatever earlier date may have been fixed for the cessation of service in particular cases. A list of civilian categories servicing in the United Kingdom eligible for chevrons for war service and the Defence Medal is shown at Appendix D. (The procedure for the administration of awards to eligible civilians employed in War Department premises is laid down in A.C.I. 613 of 1946) Note.–Civil Defence Service in the Channel Islands is not a qualification for the Defence Medal.
  2. Members of the Joint War Organisation of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John, the Scottish Branch of the British Red Cross Society and the St. Andrew's Ambulance Association can qualify as above if (a) they were enrolled in an eligible local authority Civil Defence Service, or (b) they performed duties analogous to those of one of the eligible local authority Civil Defence Service (in no case less than 48 hours each month) and the section of the organisation to which they belonged was one which functioned operationally during, or immediately after, enemy attacks. (Administration will be by the Home Office, except for those referred to in para. 58, in accordance with the instructions given in Civil Form D.M.I).
    1. Civil Defence services (United Kingdom)
      The terminal date for full-time Civil Defence Service is 8th May, 1945.
    2. National Fire Service
      The terminal date for full-time National Fire Service is 8th May, 1945. Part-time members of the N.F.S. who were no longer required for regular duty after 15th December, 1944 (England and Wales) or after 19th January, 1945 (Scotland) but desired to retain their connections with the Service and were “stood down” on the understanding that hey would report for duty if required, will be entitled to count such service up to 8th May, 1945, towards the qualifying period.
    3. Fire Guards
      The terminal date for qualifying service will be the date of de-prescription of the area or the 8th May, 1945, whichever was the earlier. The London Civil Defence Region and in large cities and many smaller towns in Civil Defence Regions (1), (7), (8), (9), (10) and in substantial parts of Regions (2) North-Eastern, (3) North Midland and (6) Southern, de-prescription was effected on 30th April, 1945. In Scotland, de- prescription was completed by 26th March, 1945. No fire guard service will be reckoned in any area subsequent to de-prescription of the area.
    4. Canteen (etc.) Services
      Members of categories 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of Appendix D will qualify only where they have been engaged in a section of the service which had, or would have had, operational functions during or immediately after enemy attacks, and where this engaged on service which was qualifying service for war service (red) chevrons.

62. Civil Defence Organisations–Overseas

  1. Civil Defence service in military operational areas (as defined under the appropriate campaign stars) or in non-operational areas subjected to enemy air attack will qualify for the Defence Medal, provided the civil category was not eligible for campaign stars and the service was rendered during the qualifying period laid down for the particular area.
  2. Awards in respect of such service will be administered by the local authority concerned.

Note. - Civil Defence Service in the territory of residence neither subjected to enemy air attack nor closely threatened, e.g., in West Africa or the West Indies will not be a qualification for the Defence Medal.

63. Emblem

The conditions for the award of the emblem of silver laurel leaves in respect of the grant of a King's Commendation for service as a civilian (other than for service in the Merchant Navy), are laid down in Army Order 109 of 1947.

 This page was last reviewed 23 April, 2013 and is current.

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