This section of our website will allow you to select and view some of the Australian War Medals and Campaign Stars awarded for military service together with a brief description of the period and the theatre of war.
Please be aware that some medals are not campaign-specific, although they may have been awarded as a result of service in a particular campaign e.g. the Military Medal was awarded in many campaigns.
We wish to acknowledge and express our thanks to the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee (QLD) Incorporated 2001 for the Medals and Campaign images contained in this site.
For other minor campaigns such as Malaya, Borneo, and Peace Keeping and to gain access to detailed information on selected awards please visit their website by clicking here
The 1914-15 Star
The “1914-15 Star” was awarded for service on the establishment of a ship or unit in a theatre of war. A member awarded the 1914 Star could not be awarded the 1914-15 Star (this award).
The British War Medal 1914-20
Awards for service were as follows:
Navy: for 28 days mobilised service or to those who lost their lives in active operations before completing that period, between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918.
Army and Air Force: entry into a theatre of war on duty, or who left places of residence and rendered approved overseas service between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918.
Mercantile Marine: at least six months service between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918
The Mercantile Marine Medal
The Mercantile Marine Medal was awarded to those who qualified for the British War Medal and could supply evidence of having served at sea on at least one voyage through a danger zone.
The Victory Medal
The Victory Medal was awarded for service as follows:
Navy: those mobilised and rendered approved service either at sea between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 or on the establishment of a unit within a theatre of military operations.
Army: those who served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war. August 1914 and 11th November 1918.
Air Force: those who served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war outside the UK, served with an operational unit in the UK or overseas and had been actively engaged against the enemy, been employed in flying new aircraft to France or served on the complement of aircraft-carrying ships.
A member Mentioned in Dispatches for service during World War 1 wears a bronze oak leaf on the ribbon. Only one emblem is worn no matter how many times a member may have been ‘mentioned’.
The Gallipoli Medallion
In 1967, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, a medallion was issued to everyone who served at Gallipoli, or their families.
The medals and medallion depicted below are specific to World War 2 service.
The 1939-45 Star
Awarded for service as follows:
Navy: awarded for six months service afloat in areas of active operations from 3rd September 1939 to 2nd September 1945.
Army: awarded for six months service in an operational command during the period 3rd September 1939 to 2nd September 1945.
Air Force: awarded to all aircrew who have taken part in operations against the enemy, subject to at least two months in an operational unit and to all non-air crew who served six months in the area of an Army operational command. A gold rosette worn on the ribbon signifies participation in the Battle of Britain, 1st July 1940 to 31st October 1940.
Merchant Marine: awarded under the same conditions as Navy provided that at least one voyage was made through a specified area of active operations.
The Atlantic Star
Awarded for service as follows:
Navy: awarded for six months service afloat in the Atlantic or Home waters between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945, after qualifying for the 1939- 45 Star.
Army: awarded under the same conditions as Navy.
Air Force: awarded to air crew for operations against the enemy at sea within the areas and dates defined for Navy, subject to completing two months service in an operational unit, after qualifying for the 1939-45 Star.
Merchant Marine: awarded under the same conditions as Navy, but requiring six months service at sea anywhere provided one voyage is made in the defined area.
A person qualifying for this Star and the Air Crew Europe Star and the France and Germany Star is awarded only the first earned, plus Clasps for the others. A silver rose emblem is worn on the ribbon bar to denote the award of a bar.
The Air Crew Europe Star
Awarded for two months operational flying from the United Kingdom bases over Europe and the United Kingdom between 3rd September 1939 and 5th June 1944. The 1939-45 Star must be earned first.
A person qualifying for this Star and the Atlantic Star and the France and Germany Star is awarded only the first earned, plus Clasps for the others. A silver rose emblem is worn on the ribbon bar to denote the award of a bar.
The Africa Star
Awarded for service as follows:
Navy and Merchant Marine: service at sea in the Mediterranean between 10th June 1940 and 12th May 1943, or in support of Army operations in Abyssinia, Somaliland and Eritrea or for shore service as for Army.
Army: entry into the operational area on the posted strength of a unit or formation in the area between the Suez Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar between 10th June 1940 and 12th May 1943 or for service in operations in Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea, Malta or Syria.
An Arabic numeral ‘1’ or ‘8’ may be worn on this ribbon to denote service with the British 1st Army or 8th Army respectively.
The Pacific Star
Awarded for service in the Pacific theatre between 8th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 as follows: –
Navy and Merchant Marine: service in the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and part of the Indian Ocean, or for shore service under same criteria as Army. The 1939-45 Star must be earned first.
Army: operational service in territories, not including Burma, that have been invaded by the enemy or the allies.
Air Force: air crew service in operations against the enemy (one operational sortie qualifies)
A person qualifying for both the Pacific Star and the Burma Star is awarded only the first Star earned. A Clasp is worn denoting service for the other Star.
The Burma Star
Awarded for entry into operational service in the Burma campaign between 11th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 as follows:
Navy and Merchant Marine: service in the Bay of Bengal and the prescribed area of the Indian Ocean, or for shore service under same criteria as Army. The 1939-45 Star must be earned first.
Army: operational service in Burma, and, in addition, provinces of Bengal and Assam between 1st May 1942 and 31st December 1943; provinces of Bengal and Assam east of the Brahmaputra between 1t January 1944 and 2nd September 1945; China and Malaya between 16th February 1942 and 2nd September 1945.
Air Force: air crew service in operations against the enemy (one operational sortie qualifies).
The Italy Star
Awarded as follows:
Army: for entry into operational service on land in Sicily or Italy during the campaign there, between 11th June 1943 and 8th May 1945.
Navy and Merchant Marine: service in the Mediterranean Sea directly connected with active operations in the Mediterranean theatre, or for shore service under same criteria as Army. The 1939-45 Star must be earned first.
Air Force: air crew service in operations against the enemy within the Mediterranean theatre including sorties from the Mediterranean area over Europe.
The France and Germany Star
Awarded for entry into operational service on land in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany between 6th June 1944 and 8th May 1945.
Navy and Merchant Marine – One days service afloat in the prescribed areas of the North Sea, the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay.
A person qualifying for this Star and the Air Crew Europe Star and the Atlantic Star is awarded only the first earned, plus Clasps for the others. A silver rose emblem is worn on the ribbon bar to denote the award of a bar.
The Defence Medal
Awarded to members:
Who served for six months in specified non-operational areas subjected to enemy air attack or closely threatened;
Who served for six months at any time between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945 in the Northern Territory north of 14° 30′ South and the Torres Strait Islands;
Who served for 12 months non-specified non-operational service overseas from or outside Australia; or
Who served in Mine and Bomb Disposal units employed in areas subjected to enemy air attack or closely threatened for three months within the periods stated.
The War Medal 1939-45
Awarded to members:
Who served full-time in operational or non-operational service between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. The qualifying period is 28 days.
For the Merchant Marine, the 28 days must be served at sea.
A member Mentioned in Dispatches for service during World War 2 wears a bronze oak leaf emblem on the ribbon. Only one emblem is worn no matter how many times a member may have been ‘mentioned’.
The Australia Service Medal 1939-45
Awarded for 30 days full-time or 90 days part-time service at home or overseas in the Australian Armed Forces and the Australian Mercantile marine between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945.
Korean War Medals
The medals depicted here are specific to Korean War service.
The Korea Medal
Awarded for one days service on the posted strength of a unit, on operational service in Korea during the period from 1st July 1950 to 27th July 1953.
United Nations Service Medal (Korea)
Awarded for any period of service on the posted strength of a unit, on operational service in Korea during the period from 27th June 1950 to 26th July 1954
Vietnam War Medals
The medals depicted here are specific to Vietnam War service.
The Vietnam Medal
Awarded for one days service on the posted strength of a unit, on operational service in Vietnam during the period from 29th May 1964 to 27th January 1973.
The Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal
Awarded for one days service in support of operations in Vietnam during the period from 29th May 1964 to 27th January 1973.
The Vietnamese Campaign Medal
Awarded by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam to allied Service personnel who served in Vietnam for a minimum period of 180 days.
Our Australian honours system is internationally renowned and respected. Australia’s distinctive honours system began in 1975 with the creation of the Order of Australia, to recognise service to the nation or humanity, as well as the Australian Bravery Decorations and the National Medal.
Prior to 1975, Australians were recognised through the British Imperial System. Medals awarded to Australians included the Order of the British Empire, military decorations for gallantry, decorations for military service and campaign and long service medals. By 1991 Australian honours and awards were available to recognise all service previously recognised through the British Imperial system.
Since 1975, Australia has created additional awards that completely replace those areas of service previously recognised in the British system. These awards also recognise those additional areas of service valued by Australians.
Our Australian honours are unique in design as the community can make nominations. The system is free of patronage or political influence and anyone can nominate an Australian citizen.
War medals may only be worn on the left breast by the persons upon whom they were conferred. The honour afforded remains with the individual and does not pass to a widow, parent, son or relative when the recipient is dead. Similarly, the same rules apply in cases where a posthumous award is made
The policy as it stands is that on the death of a recipient, technically, any honours and awards revert to the commonwealth in the first instance. The reality of course is that family members have an ambient claim and the commonwealth would not seek to intervene in medals being passed on directly within the family.
Family members may wear their forebears medals on the right breast which indicates that they are not their own. There is no limitation or formal policy on what occasions they should be worn. In essence, the wearing of forebear’s medals on the right breast is a convention passed down over the years that is largely dictated by the occasion and (ideally) a measure of decorum fitting the event. They should not be worn lightly or where it would be inappropriate to do so.
For uniformed personnel, on ANZAC and Remembrance days only, modification of normal service dress code is allowed whereby they wear their own medals on the left breast accompanied (if they wish) by their ancestor’s on the right.
War Medals (with certain exceptions) are worn on the left breast of the coat, or in a corresponding place on the dress, as the case may be. They will be worn in a horizontal line, suspended from a single bar, of which no part is to be seen, or stitched to the garment. When worn on the coat, the coat should be buttoned up.
The ribbon should not exceed one inch in length, unless the number of clasps require it to be longer. The uppermost clasp should be one inch below the top of the ribbon. When two or more medals and decorations are worn, they will be so arranged that the lower edges (or lowest point of a Star) are in line.
War medals are worn to show the Sovereign’s head.
War medals (or Campaign medals) are worn in the order of the dates of Campaigns for which they have been conferred, the first obtained being farthest from the left shoulder.
For the sake of brevity, only the more generally known are listed hereunder. Persons who are entitled to wear other decorations or medals not mentioned herein, should seek advice in regard to their order or priority.
GAZETTE No. S17, Friday 15 January 1993