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Hi all,

I don't know anything about British ribbon bars/ribbons, etc.... but I am keen to learn! :jumping: I decided to get together some international ribbon bars displays as well and British is one of my main aims.

So, I am using internet to ID awards on my first ribbon bars. But I just need confirmation and any extra information would be much appriciated!

Like I understand, pin system isn't popular on the British ribbon bars? Mainly modern ones only are with the pin, am I correct?

1. Two place ribbon with the pin

1/1. Campaign Service Medal

2/1. UNFICYP - UN Force in Cyprus


2. 3 place ribbon bar from WW1

1/2 British Empire Medal

2/2 British War medal 1914-1918

3/2 Army LS&GC 2nd Type & Indian Army LS&GC 2nd Type (is it correct?)


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Thanks Ed!

OBE means Order of the British Empire? :blush: I am sorry but I really don't know much about British abreviations.

So, no 2. would be:

1/2 OBE (Order of the British Empire, Military)

2/2 BWM British War Medal 1914-1918

3/2 Army LSGC (Long Service & Good Conduct Medals


Can someone please point out some of the web or material from where is possible to read more how British ribbon bars where made/attached to uniforms, etc.

Here is my next one....

3. 3 place WW2 ribbon bar

Next one has to be from WW2 period :lol:

1.3. 1939-1945 Star

2.3. Africa Star

3.3. Italy Star


4. 4 place WW2 ribbon bar

1.4. 1939-1945 Star

2.4. Africa Star

3.4. Italy Star (missing some device on it?)

4.4. France & Germany Star


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5. 4 place/2 row Navy ribbon bar

Is it correct to say that this bar is from Navy because the two rows?

1.5. 1939-1945 Star

2.5. Burma Star (????)

3.5. Defence Medal (?????? :unsure: )

4.5. War Medal with Oakleaf clasp

My main question is, what the clasp indicate? :rolleyes:


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The oakleaf clasp indicates a 'Mention in Dispatches' - i.e. the individual has performed some service or deed of merit, but not sufficient for the award of a separate medal.

'OBE' - means Officer of the Order of the British Empire (the 4th class award) - unlike most nations UK orders do not show the class when ribbons only are worn, so you have to guess where within the order in question the owner of the ribbons was!

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Right, OBE = Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [4th class, gilt badge] or MBE = Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [5th class, silver badge]. As the ribbon seems wider, those would be my guess rather than the BEM, the medal of the order, which has a narrower ribbon. It could even be a higher class, but I'd doubt that. And it is the military class and the post-1935 ribbon.

3 and 4 look to me like the top rows of two-row ribbon bar groups.

5 is interesting. The 2/2 mounting is odd indeed. Almost makes me think: Very small person (nurse?). What makes you say "Navy"? The Defence Medal was rather uncommon for naval types.

Megan has nicely explained the oakleaf device for M-i-D.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The first thing I thought when I saw that short rows bar was Navy, specially made to fit at the top the jacket above the pocket and at the side of the lapel. They are often seen like this in photographs, specially if the chap was pretty small, sometimes they are 3 wide but since he only had 4 awards this makes sense. I had a medal group with the post war Yangtse bar and the photo I got of the owner showed something similar to this. The most you usually on 1 line on navy uniform is 3, often 3 top with 2 rows of 2.

Defence medal awarded to members of HM forces who served in the UK or overseas in locations subject to air attack or closely threatened, so possibly this might have included Malta, Gibraltar etc. This included Royal Marines Police Reserve and the Admiralty Civil Police.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, very interesting. :jumping: Seeing that alternative (prototype?) Allied Victory Medal ribbon actually mounted up is unusual to say the least. As has been discussed elsewhere, many local bodies in the US adopted a close cousin for their unofficial medals, but this is the first time I have seen in in British wear. Thanks for sharing a close-up.

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Very nice and seldom seen,

The earliest approved design for what was to become the Victory Medal. This earlier design was proposed in 1918 and comprises of the national colours of the victorious Allies.

The design was approved, and manufactured in large quantity, before the decision to change to the familiar rainbow was made in 1919 or 1920. Large numbers were issued, but as ribbon only. At the time the ribbon was produced, no design for the medal itself had been made.

It seems to have been mostly worn during the Victory Parade in London, 1919, in the absence of medals, these ribbons were produced and mounted for distribution to those marching in the parade.

Regards Eddie

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Thanks Ed! It wasn't cheapest British bar what I bought but I like the pin system and this weird combination on it! :jumping::jumping:

And here is other interesting group what I picked up. Looks like British War Medal is messed up and added later on again or just replaced. Is it make sence in there following regulations??? Any toughts about this bar?


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The second bar is interesting, but clearly the BWM does NOT belong there.

1- Order of the British Empire/British Empire Medal; ___???___

2- King's/Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service; Defence Medal; General Service Medal; Elizabeth II Coronation

A policeman. What could be missing. Must think . . .

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these both used to be mine i figured noor would enjoy em more! the 2nd bar has certainly had the 2nd ribbon added! the stitching on the back is different from the other ribbons!haven't a clue as to WHY it would have been added though!!

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  • 7 months later...

Thank you Megan!!!!! Uhh, big mess upcheeky.gif

Here is one British bar now....

Did I got awards correctly and is it right way on the pictureohmy.gif

1. 1939-1945 Star

2. Atlantic Star

3. Defence Medal

4. War Medal

5. Royal Navy LS & GC

Edited by Noor
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  • 1 month later...

This time not British bar but some connection....

Can someone please tell me more about the US soldiers under the British crown? Was there officially soldiers before US entered to the war or the British War Medal was awarded more likely when it was extended to the period 1919-1920 (every kind mine-clearing operations, etc Naval stuff)??? Aprox. how large number of US citizens got this award?

Group with the British War Medal...

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The British War Medal was given to Americans who served in the British forces before April 1917. That was allowed for wear after the war.

Likewise, American volunteers with the French air force and volunteer ambulance services in France and Italy (Ernest hemingway was one of the latter) also qualified for awards made by those countries before America entered the war.

The Victory Medal in your outstanding group was the American version-- some volunteerss stayed in foreign seervice, but most were aloowed or requested transfer to the American military after the U.S. declared war on Germany.

The awards of Americans serving on the losing side were not granted such status after the war. :whistle:

I can only hope that somebody with the right reference sources will be able to identify who this officer was. TWO Silver Stars for WW1 is extraordinary.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not ribbon bar this time but I picked up one medal "For Faithful Service in the Special Constabulary" today and I would like to know more about the medal. It is named on the rim to "Alexander Morrison". As I said I do not know much about this award, so maybe can someone educate me a little.

Was almost 20 eur overpaid for thatunsure.gif .

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  • 3 months later...

Not ribbon bar this time but I picked up one medal "For Faithful Service in the Special Constabulary" today and I would like to know more about the medal. It is named on the rim to "Alexander Morrison".

Probably had First War service, but there are 208 Medal Index Cards in that name (but 45 did not survive the War). No Alexander Morrisons in the 1901 England census, but tons of them in Scotland.

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