Atlantic Star Medal
Documents found at the Royal Navy Medal Office, may mean that many World War II Naval personnel, who were originally classed as not being eligible for the Atlantic Star Medal, may now be able to receive it.
The Atlantic Star was awarded for service in the 'Battle of the Atlantic', between 2nd September 1939 and 8th May 1945. But as with all campaign Medals, entitlement is subject to strict criteria.
Recipients of the medal must have first been eligible for the 1939 - 1945 Star, for which the main criteria for Naval personnel, was to have served 6 months afloat in any Operational Area.
The rules laid down in an 'Admiralty Fleet Order' in 1946, had been interpreted to mean that entitlement to the Atlantic Star Medal, required a sailor to serve for 6 months in that war zone after his first 6 months at sea, even though his initial 6 months afloat also may have included service in the Atlantic.
Therefore, in some cases, a sailor may have served more than 6 months in the Atlantic and was not regarded as eligible for the Atlantic Star campaign medal.
It was during a search for an Atlantic Star applicant, that the discovery of the post-war documents were found, which have resulted in the change of interpretation of the rules. Under the 'new' interpretation, Royal Navy Officer's or Ratings who served for 6 months in the Atlantic at any time during 12 months afloat in Operational Areas are entitled to the Atlantic Star Medal. An article in 'Navy News' (November 1998) revealed the facts. For criteria, specifically for HMS. Vengeance personnel, see below.
The Atlantic Star
To claim the Atlantic Star Medal, you should write to;
The M.O.D. Medal Office, (MODMO), AFPAA, Building 250, R.A.F. Innsworth, GLOUCESTER. GL3 1HW. Enclosing a photocopy of your Service Certificate and / or as much detail as possible of your Service. For other Medals, please see below details 'Claiming for Other Campaign Medals'.
HMS. Vengeance (Atlantic Star Medal) Criteria only:
Criteria for the Atlantic Star Medal, specifically for Officer's and Ratings aboard HMS. Vengeance is as follows; "Between the 8th November 1944 and 8th May 1945 (the last 6 months before the end of hostilities in Europe) the Atlantic Star Medal can be earned by entry into the specified areas, regardless of whether 6 months previous Service has been completed. According to records held, HMS. VENGEANCE operated between the Clyde (Scotland) and Gibraltar for part of that time, therefore qualifying personnel for the Atlantic Star Medal".
Claiming for Other Campaign Medals:
The vast majority of Service personnel receive campaign medals awarded to them while they are still in the Armed Forces, as they are required to be worn for ceremonial duty and other functions for which their uniform is required. If, however an individual leaves the Armed Forces before the medal can be issued, it is his or her responsibility to claim them from the Ministry of Defence Medal Office. As a result, there are still many veterans who have not received the medals to which they are entitled. By far the largest group of veterans were those who were in the Armed Forces during the Second World War.
As a general rule, most Second World War Service personnel were not issued with medals before they were de-mobilised at the end of the war and consequently they had to claim them after they had left the Services. This differed from the arrangements at the end of the First World War when the majority of medals were sent out automatically. This was not considered to be practical after the Second World War, as most people had returned to civilian life before the medals were instituted in 1948 . At the time they were encouraged to visit their local Post Office, pick up a buff card and enter onto it their number rank and name, and send it to the Minister for War to request their medals.
Many had much more pressing things to worry about, like where were they going to live as a result of their house being demolished by bombing, or where were they going to find a job. It was decided at the time that only those people who remained in the Armed Forces would receive their medals automatically.. Although the availability of medals for wartime service was widely advertised at the time, many people did not come forward. As a consequence , nearly 60 years later, the MOD Medal Office are receiving in the order of 250 applications for WW2 medals per week from either veterans, or their next of kin, They are still issued in the first instance free of charge. Medals can be issued to the legal next of kin of deceased ex-Servicemen/women; however proof of kinship will be required.
To claim medals that have not been issued, or to request the replacement of medals lost either by theft or destroyed by fire (see below for special instructions), please write to the Medal Office at the address below. The following information (or as much as possible) will be required:
Service Number, Regiment/Corps (Army/RM), Branch/Trade (RAF and RN), Full Name, Date of Birth, Rank and date of discharge, plus, of course, your current name and address.
All information about medals issued to First World War
veterans is held at the
National Archive at Kew.
Claims for medals for service in the Home Guard are also dealt with by the MOD Medal Office.
Contact the Ministry of Defence Medal Office at the following address:
Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA),
(Joint Personnel Administration Centre),
MOD Medal Office,
GL3 1 HW
Medal Application (For Non - Serving Personnel)
JPAC Enquiry Centre,
Fax: 0141 224 3586
Free Phone: 0800 085 3600
Other World War II Medal Criteria
1939 - 1945 Star:
Six months service afloat between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945 (UK and Home Waters) or 2nd September 1945 (elsewhere) in areas of Active Operations.
One year's service afloat between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945 of which six months (180 days) were spent in areas qualifying for the Star (roughly - Atlantic and specific areas around the UK). The last six months (8th November 1944 to 8th May 1945) can qualify by entry only - one day is enough.
Pacific Star: *
After qualification for the 1939 - 1945 Star by six months service afloat, relevant service afloat in the Pacific area between 8th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 (i.e. must have six months service afloat first). Also qualifies for service on shore in specific areas on specified dates within the qualifying period. Last six months (3rd March 1945 to 2nd September 1945) can qualify without the need for six months afloat first.
Burma Star: *
After qualification for the 1939 - 1945 Star by six months service afloat, relevant service in the Bay of Bengal between 11th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 (i.e. must have six months service afloat first). Also qualifies for service on shore in specific areas (in Burma, North East India, Malaya, Sumatra and China) on certain dates within the qualifying period. Last six months (3rd March 1945 to 2nd September 1945) can qualify without the need for six months afloat first.
* Please be aware, that the Pacific Star and the Burma Star are alternative awards. Personnel whose service qualified for both the Pacific and Burma Stars will be awarded only the campaign Star for which they first qualified. They will however, be awarded a Clasp to show that they rendered service which qualified for the second Star. (i.e. Pacific Star with Burma Clasp OR Burma Star with Pacific Clasp)
1) Three years service in the Armed Forces and/or Civil Defence Services 'on shore' in the UK between the 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945.
2) Twelve months service in the Armed Forces 'on shore' outside the UK between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. Periods of less than twelve months are included in the three years requirement above.
3) Six months service 'on shore' in the Armed Forces overseas in specified areas subjected to enemy attack or closely threatened, between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. Periods of less than six months are included in either of the above requirements.
Twenty eight days anywhere, afloat or ashore, between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945.
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