British Military & Criminal History
1900 to 1999.
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This page explains the history and details about The General Service Medal 1918-62. Medals, such as the GSM, were introduced to reward service in situations which were felt worthy of commemoration but of not a sufficient scale to justify individual campaign medals.
The GSM was introduced in Army Order No. 4 dated 19 January 1923. This medal served as the Army and RAF equivalent of the NGS. The GSM was awarded for service in various parts of the world, except in India and East, West and Africa.
The medal is worn with a purple-coloured ribbon with one green stripe. After 11 August 1920, if the recipient was awarded a MID, then they were entitled to wear an oakleaf emblem on the medal's ribbon.
This medal has a total of 16 clasps which commemorate the various actions. The individual clasps are listed in the following table. Click on the name to read about the particular clasp.
This clasp was awarded for service with one of the following units in the specified area.
This clasp was initially awarded for the following service:
The 1924 Army Order No. 387 and Army Instruction (India) No. 132 of 1925 extended this clasps eligibility requirements to cover operations in Kurdistan. These additional qualify periods are
This conflict involved the first use of troop carrying aircraft in a military operation, when on 21 February 1923, two companies of the 1/11th Sikhs were transported by aircraft.
This clasp was presented to those who satisfied one of the following conditions:
This clasp was awarded to members of Noperforce (North Persia Force) and those on various lines of communications serving under Brigadier-General H.F. Bateman-Champain.
Southern Desert: Iraq
This clasps was awarded to the RAF for its services against the Akhwan in the Southern Desert, under the command Air-Commodore T.C.R. Higgins between 8 and 22 January 1928, or under the command of Wing-Commander E.R.C. Nanson between 22 January and 3 June 1928.
This clasp was instituted for operations against Sheik Admed of Barzan in the area Diana - Erbil - Aqra - Suri due north to the Turkish frontier, between the dates of 15 March and 21 June 1932. The vast majority of clasps were awarded to RAF personnel.
This clasp was awarded for service in Palestine, under the League of Nations mandate, between the dates 19 April 1936 and 3 September 1939.
S.E. Asia 1945-46
British personnel were involved in South-East Asia after the Japanese surrendered on 15 August 1945, in various activities such as guarding Japanese POWs and maintaining law and order. British troops landed in Java in September 1945 and freed 20,000 Dutch POWs. They had re-occupied Malaya, Burma, Singapore and the southern half of the former French Indo-China by 12 September 1945. By November 1946, British troops had handed over their responsibilities to the territories former colonial powers.
Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-49
The qualifying period for this clasp was originally an aggregate of 180 days' active engagement in the disposal of bombs and mines in the UK between 9 May 1945 and 31 December 1949. In May 1956, Queen Elizabeth II approved the extension of the eligibility to run to the 1 January 1955.
Those personnel who qualified under the original dates received this clasp.
Those personnel who qualified under the revised dates receive the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-56 clasp.
Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-56
See the description for the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-49 clasp.
After World War One had been completed, the League of Nations granted the British a mandate to govern Palestine. The League of Nations supported the Balfour Declaration of November 1917, to establish a 'National Home for the Jews' in Palestine. This suggestion caused the Arabs in Palestine to revolt in 1936. British personnel who served in this phase of the conflict received the "Palestine" bar to either their NGS or GSM.
Part of the resolution of the 1936-9 revolt was the imposition of a immigration quota for Jews wishing to enter Palestine. This led to the Jews that a guerrilla war against the British forces began in 1940. While service in this conflict prior to 1945 is counted as World War Two service, service between 27 September 1945 and 30 June 1948 is acknowledged by this clasp to the GSM.
In 1956 that the Cypriot movement for union with Greece (called "Enosis") started under the leadership of Archbishop Makarios and General George Grivas. The General led the guerrilla organisation EOKA against the British troops stationed on the island. The conflict was often a bloody affair, involving 40,000 British troops over 4 years.
From 1948, the Malayan People's Anti-British Army sought to force the British from Malaya and to introduce a communist government. It toke a total of 12 years to finally defeat the communist guerrilla forces. It was the novel tactics introduced by the British Director of Operations, Lieutenant-General Sir Harold Briggs followed by General Sir Gerald Templer, which was mainly responsible for defeating the insurgents. Also the British troops, a vast majority of whom were national servicemen, were prepared to take the insurgents on at their own game by spending long periods of time in the jungle.
The qualifying dates for service were between 16 June 1948 and 31 July 1960. For the Colony of Singapore, the date period was between 16 June 1948 to 31 January 1959.
This clasp was awarded for service in the Middle east in the period 31 October to 22 December 1956. This is the conflict often referred to as the Suez Crisis, or by its codename of Operation Musketeer.
British casualties in Operation Musketeer were 22 killed and 97 wounded.
The service entitlement for this clasp should not be confused with service during the Suez Canal Emergency 1951-54, for which a clasp was belated awarded some 50 years after the actual event.
Due to a disagreement about land and associated oil rights, the Iman of Oman rebelled against the Sultan of Muscat. After initial setbacks, in 1955 the Sultan called for assistance from UK forces. It was not until British special forces were deployed that the rebels were dislodged from their territory in the Jebel Akhbar mountains.
The qualifying period for this clasp is 30 days' service between 1 January 1957 and 30 June 1960, in the Aden Colony or protectorate and the Sultanates of Muscat and Oman, or any of the adjacent Gulf states.
This clasp was authorised by Army Order No. 44 dated 1963, for a minimum 1 days' service in at least one of the operational areas located in the State of Brunei, North Borneo or Sarawak between 8 December 1962 and 23 December 1962.