This cupro-nickel medal has the coinage head of King George VI with the usual legend on the obverse. The reverse shows the Royal Crown resting above a small oak tree and flanked by two heraldic lions.
The dates 1939 and 1945 appear in the top left and right respectively, whilst beneath the design are the words THE DEFENCE MEDAL. The ribbon is flame coloured with green edges and symbolises the air attacks and destruction on our green land. The nationwide black-out is represented by a narrow black stripe down the centre of each of the green edges.
Generally speaking , this medal was awarded for three years service in Great Britain until 8th May 1945 or six months overseas in territories subjected to, or threatened by enemy attacks. The time was extended to forces overseas until 15th August 1945, the end of the war in the Pacific. In the case of mine and bomb disposal units the time qualification was three months.
Owing to the terms of reference for campaign awards it was not unusual to find a man with several stars who had never heard a shot fired in anger. Conversely, a man with only the Defence Medal who earned it, for example, whilst serving in the fire or rescue services in London or any other city subject to constant air attack, wears a medal worth having. In common with all other decorations and medals only the man who wears the medal knows how it was earned.
Copyright © 2002 Peter N. Risbey.