Help, Advice & Information

Some help and advice for you based on our most frequently asked questions. If you require any further assistance of can't find an answer to your question, please email or call us.

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Commemorative Medals
Military Terminology
Wearing Military Medals
Order of Wear
Rosettes & Emblems
Opening a Brooch Bar
Maximum Number of WW2 Medals
Finding out what medals I or an ancestor was entitled too

Commemorative Medals:

Commemorative Medals such as the Operation Banner Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal or National Service Medal are produced where not other specific medal has been official produced.

These and other Commemorative Medals should be worn separate from official awards. In this country it is customary to wear Commemorative Medal on the left breast below official award. Commemorative Medals SHOULD NOT be mounted on the same bar as official awards. This excludes medals that have been authorised by the Foreign Office for wear alongside official medals such as the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal which should always be mounted at the end of any official group.

Military Terminology:

Mentioned In Despatches

A soldier who is mentioned in despatches (or dispatches) (MiD) is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which is described the soldier's gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy. During the first and second world war, the ‘MiD Oak Leaf was awarded to be added to the ribbon of the Victory Medal or War Medal. MID Oak-leaves are also used in modern campaigns.

Wearing Military Medals:

Wearing medals in civilian clothing - typically as spectator at a parade or an invitation to a function - may require you to wear your medals or those of a next of kin. You are free to wear any style or size of medal that you please however, the following guidelines are designed to give you the typically acceptable styles of wear. When wearing your own medals, they should be mounted in the correct order of wear (see below) and attached to your garment on your left breast. If you are wearing medals awarded to a next of kin, these would be worn on the right breast.

Type of Dress Medals
Morning Dress
Full Sized Medals should be worn
Lounge Suit
Full Sized Medals should be worn
Full Sized Medals should be worn
Evening Suit
Miniature Medals should be worn
Dinner Suit
Miniature Medals should be worn

Order of Wear:

Please use the guide below to determine the correct order of wear. There are many variations, please feel free to contact us for advice at any time.

order of wear for military medals

Foreign awards that have been authorised for wear (for example the Pingat Jasa Medal) should be mounted at the end of your group after long service awards.

The comprehensive order of wear as announced by the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, the order in which decorations and medals should be worn in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth can be found by clicking here.

Rosettes & Emblems:

medal emblems and bars

Rosettes are normally worn on ribbon bars when medals are not being worn to denote subsequent awards for long service and bravery. It does not apply to multiple awards for general service medal bars. If mentioned in dispatches (MID), an oak leaf emblem is added to the ribbon of the medal and a miniature version on the ribbon bar as is also the case for a commendation for bravery or bravery in the air. The emblem is added to the ribbon of the campaign medal for which the award was given. Both the South Atlantic and OSM Sierra Leone have a rosette on both the ribbon and ribbon bar, the former for service south of Ascension Island. The Gulf, Iraq & OSM Afghanistan have rosettes added to the ribbon bar to denote the award of clasps on the medal. Bars awarded on WW1 & WW2 medals are denoted on the ribbon bar with rosettes with the exception of the 8th & 1st Army Bars - these are denoted with numerals. Further details for each individual medal can be found on our website.

Opening a Brooch Bar:

Opening a Brooch Bar is a simple process but some people get stuck when using them for the first time. The instructions and video below will hopefully guide you through.

Twist the safety clip to the right. It will swivel on the rivet at the bottom of it. This will then allow the brooch pin to open. Use the brooch pin like a normal brooch and when you have pinned it to your garment you can push the stiff safety clip back into its vertical position. First few times it will be a bit stiff but should be fine after that. 


Maximum number of WWII Medals:

No one person could receive more than 5 stars and the two medals. Also no one person was awarded more than one clasp to any one campaign star.

This maximum entitlement can be expressed as

1939-45 Star
Atlantic Star (or Aircrew Europe or France and Germany)
Africa Star
Pacific Star (or Burma Star)
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal

Some examples are:

An RAF pilot who qualified first for the Atlantic Star and then the France & Germany star, would wear the Atlantic Star with France and Germany clasp. A soldier who won the Pacific Star, and then gained the Burma Star, would wear the Pacific Star with Burma clasp.

Finding out what medals I or an ancestor was entitled too:

You should write to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) medal office if you want to claim WWII medals. You will need to provide the following information (or as much as possible) about the individual claiming the medal:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • Service number
  • rank
  • period served (from and to), and
  • your current full address including postcode.

For medal queries to the Army, you must also state the Regiment and Corps that the individual served with.

To claim a medal from WWII onwards, write to:

Veterans UK
MOD Medal Office
G36, Innsworth House
Imjin Barracks

For more information, contact JPAC:

Serving personnel enquiries: 0141 224 3600
Freephone (UK only): 0800 085 3600
From overseas civilians: +44 141 224 3600
Military: 94560 3600