British WW1 Medals

Victory Medal

Hundreds of thousands of men who served with the armed services, some women and some civilians received at least one WW1 medal. There are two main kinds of WW1 medal awards: campaign medals and gallantry or meritorious service awards.

Campaign Medals

The 1914-15 Star

A Campaign or a War Medal was awarded to an individual if he or she took part in a military campaign outside of the United Kingdom in a Theatre of War or in a time of war.

Guide to British WW1 Campaign Medals

Gallantry or Meritorious Service Awards

Victoria Cross

Some individuals were awarded with a gallantry medal, an award for distinguished or meritorious service or were Mentioned in Despatches for showing special courage or devotion to duty in a particular action or circumstance.

Doubtless there were many acts of courage and gallantry in the First World War which went unseen and for which no formal gallantry award was given. Names may have been put forward as recommendations for gallantry medals, but in many cases the individual never received formal recognition for the act of bravery in the form of a medal. Those who did receive an award may have received a medal or Mention in Despatches.

Guide to British WW1 Gallantry and Meritorious Service Awards

Finding Records for WW1 Medals

Every individual who served in a theatre of war on active service between 1914 and 1920 was eligible for the award of a campaign medal. For information about the medal records and where you can view them go to our page at:

British Army WW1 Medal Records 1914-1920

Further Reading

Medals: The Researcher's Guide

Medals: The Researcher's Guide

by William Spencer

The British government has bestowed a wide range of awards. This awards system is a great opportunity for historical research, whether your starting point is an ancestor, a regiment, a campaign, or a medal. Unlike other works which focus on medals identification, this guide shows you how to fully exploit the associated records. Enriched with case studies and full-colour photography, it is your ideal companion to medals research.

Book - British Gallantry Awards

British Gallantry Awards

by Peter Duckers

Since ancient times soldiers have been honoured for gallantry in battle. Over the years and in different societies such honours have taken many forms but since the 1850s specific acts of bravery 'in the face of the enemy' by British and Imperial forces have been recognised by the award of a range of wearable decorations. These provide a visible indication both of the bravery of the recipient and of its recognition by the government and nation.

Book - Researching British Military Medals

Researching British Military Medals

by Steve Dymond

Medals are attractive and interesting to collect in their own right, but can also offer a remarkable amount of information about the military career, eventual fate, and even the physical appearance of the men who won them on the battlefields of the last 200 years. This book neatly shows you how to connect the man to the medal using available records.

Book - British Medals

British Campaign Medals of the First World War (Shire Library) (paperback)

by Peter Duckers

Handy paperback guide in 56 pages including information about the Theatres of War, other Allied medals and how to research medals.