Birkenhead RSA


Obverse: An Uncrowned Effigy of King George VI surrounded by the legend "GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMP.".

Reverse: The Royal Crown resting on the stump of an oak tree and flanked by two lions. On the top left is the date "1939" and on the top right the date "1945". At the bottom is the wording "THE DEFENCE MEDAL".

Size: 36mm in diameter.

Ribbon: 32mm wide. The ribbon is flame coloured with 10mm wide green edges, symbolical of the enemy attacks on Britain's green land. The blackout is commemorated by two 1mm black stripes down the centre of the green edges.

Suspension: By a plain, straight, non-swivelling suspender bar.

The qualifications for the award, composed of cupro-nickel, issued for service between 3rd September, 1939, and 8th May, 1945, were;
(1) Service in the Forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service lasted for three years or more.
(2) Non-operational service in the Forces overseas or outside the country of residence, providing that such service lasted for one year or more, except in territory threatened by the enemy or subject to bomb attacks, in which case the qualifying period was six months.
(3) Civil Defence or other similar service in military operational areas, providing the civil category was not eligible for campaign stars.
(4) The qualifying period for service in mine or bomb disposal units was three months.
(5) Those who were awarded campaign stars could also, providing they fulfilled the necessary conditions, be awarded this medal.
(6) Service in the United Kingdom Forces in West Africa, Palestine and India would count for the award of this medal, as well as by Dominion Forces, other than operational air crews, in non-operational areas outside their own countries.
(7) Part-time service in the Malta Home Guard counted.
(8) The qualifying date for those in the Forces was extended to 2nd September, 1945, for those serving overseas.
(9) Members of any of the civilian services that were entitled to wear chevrons for their war service were eligible for this award.
(10) Members of the Home Guard resident in the United Kingdom qualified for this medal by rendering three years' service (or three months in the case of those who served in a bomb or mine disposal unit). British citizens from overseas qualified with six months' service, or three months in bomb or mine disposal units.
(11) Service curtailed by death due to enemy action or service wounds was considered eligible. Those who received a personal award conferred by the King were also eligible irrespective of their length of service, providing they were serving in a category that qualified for the medal.
(12) Recipients of The George Cross or The George Medal were eligible for The Defence Medal whether they were serving in a category eligible for the medal or not, providing that the decoration was gained for service in Civil Defence.

The plastic oval badge granted to civilians who were awarded a King's Commendation for Brave Conduct was replaced, except in the Merchant Navy, by an emblem of silver laurel leaves to be worn on the ribbon of the Defence Medal. When the Defence Medal was not granted, or the award was for services after the war, the emblem was to be worn directly on the coat, after any ribbons or alone. Approval was given for a small oval badge to be awarded to those civilians who were granted a King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. This badge was to be worn on the coat immediately under any medal ribbons, or in civil airline uniform, on the panel of the left breast pocket.

Regulations For This Award: View Regulations (PDF document)

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