World War 2 Medals

World War 2 Medals were awarded to those individuals who showed great bravery and courage in the presence of the enemy.  Medals were also presented for distinguished service.

Australia Service Medal (1939-45)

This award recognised duty by Australia’s Armed Forces, Mercantile Marine and Volunteer Defence Corps. 

To qualify for the award, the recipient had to have carried out duties for at least 18 months full time or 3 years part-time overseas between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. The qualifying period was reduced to 30 days full-time and 90 days part-time on 16th August 1996.

Canada Volunteer Service Medal (1939-45)

One of the World War 2 Medals, this was issued to persons who voluntarily served on Active Service, had completed 18 months total duty between 3rd September 1939 and 1st March 1947 and who were of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada.

Defence Medal (1939-45)

This was introduced to recognise military and some areas of civilian duty. It included personnel who worked as members of the Home Guard, Royal Observer Corps, National Fire Service and Fire Brigade, Civil Defence Messengers, The Police and Coast Guard.

To qualify for the award the receiver had to have served 1080 days if based in the UK, but if overseas in a non-operational capacity it was 360 days, but if in an area that was subject to air attack the recipient need only have served 180 days.

New Zealand War Service Medal (1939-45)

This was introduced in 1946, and was presented to members of the New Zealand Armed Forces, the National Military Reserve and the Home Guard. The recipient had to have served for 28 days full time aggregated duty or 6 months part time aggregated duty between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945 to qualify for the award. If an injury was sustained and this meant that duty was brought to an end or the injury resulted in death, the award was automatically awarded.

Star (1939-45)

The 1939-45 Star was awarded for duty between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. If the recipient was in the Army, he/she had to have completed 6 months in an operational command to be awarded the Star. If the recipient was airborne, they had to have completed 2 months in a unit that was fully operational. Provided that 2 months was completed in an operational unit and he/she had participated in operations against the enemy, the Star was presented.

For non-aircrew, 6 months had to be completed in an operational army command area.

War Medal (1939-45)

To qualify for the award, a recipient had to have served at least 28 days in the Army or Merchant Navy between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. The time had to have been served at sea if the recipient was in the Merchant Navy.

George Cross (1940-)

The George Cross was introduced in 1940 and is the highest honour a civilian can receive for acts of outstanding courage, but it can also be presented to military personnel for bravery when not in combat. The George Cross can also be awarded posthumously.