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Introduction

This page explains the history and details about The General Service Medal 1962. 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.

GSM 1962

The General Service Medal 1962 (GSM 1962) was introduced by Ministry of Defence Order No. 61 dated 6 October 1964. It was decided that the three services (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force) would have the one identical general service medal, with the appropriate clasp issued to the recipient.

If the recipient had already been awarded the medal, then the additional clasp would be added to those already on the medal. Like its predecessors, the NGS and GSM 1918-62, the GSM 1962 was not issued without a clasp. The clasps were worn on the GSM 1962 in the order that they were earned (reading from the bottom of the ribbon upwards), which is not necessarily the chronological order of the clasps institution.

The GSM 1962's ribbon is purple with green edges. These are the same colours as the GSM 1918-62, but with different proportions of these two colours being used for this medal.

The following tables lists all the clasps with their names and date periods. Click on the clasps name to find out more information.

During the Borneo conflict, Lance-Corporal Rambahadur Limbu of 2/10th PMO Gurkha Rifles, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct at Sarawak.

The following people have been awarded the George Cross for their bravery in the Northern Ireland conflict (in alphabetic order): Warrant Officer Class 1 Johnson, Captain Nairac, Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Styles and Sergeant Willetts.

The awards to Captain Nairac and Sergeant Willetts were made posthumously.

Borneo

When General Walter Walker arrived in Borneo in December 1962, to confront the Indonesian 'volunteers' infiltrating Malaysia, there were no British bases in Borneo, few tarmac-coated roads and only one deep sea port at Labuan.

General Walker eventually established a British and Commonwealth force, which came to dominate the border area and eventually defeated the persistent incursions into the area. This conflict claimed the lives of 114 Commonwealth personnel killed, with 180 wounded.

Radfan

The Radfan Mountains are located 60 miles north of Aden. The emirates and sheikhdoms in Aden had accepted British protection since the 1870 Turkish invasion of Yemen and its surrounding territories.

By 1964 the situation had turned for the worse. The new republican government in adjacent Yemen, backed by Egypt's President Nasser, was actively fermenting trouble in the Sultanate of Upper Yafa, which was one of the Western Aden Protectorate states that was refusing to join the Federation of Saudi Arabia.

It became clear that an campaign was being waged against the Federation of Saudi Arabia, mainly by the Yemen and Egyptian-backed Radfan tribesmen. Their main objective was to attempt to close the main road from Aden to Yemen's frontier town of Dhala.

However, the campaign mounted by British personnel, with Federation troops, quickly and effectively defeated the tribesmen.

South Arabia

This campaign is related to the Radfan Campaign, because both were attempts by Egyptian-inspired attempts to end the British presence in Aden and end the embryonic Federation of Saudi Arabia.

The terrorist campaign of 1964-67 was a rival affair between two groups attempting to gain control of the area, and ensure that the British did not retain a military presence after the planned independence of the Federation of Saudi Arabia; this was planned for no later that 1968.

This 3 year long campaign saw numerous terrorist attacks on both civilian and military targets. In both Rafan and Aden, the British Army suffered 90 personnel killed and 510 wounded.

The qualifying period was 30 days service in the Federation of South Arabia between 1 August 1964 and 30 November 1967.

Malay Peninsula

This campaign was an extension of the conflict in Borneo where British and Malaysian troops were operating against Indonesian insurgents. In 1964, the Indonesian President decided to attack the Malaysian mainland. Parachute landings were made in Johore while other troops managed to land across the Malacca Straits from Indonesian Sumatra.

It was for operations in the Malaysian jungle against these troops that this clasps was instituted, as opposed to the concurrent Borneo operations.

The qualifying period was 30 days' service in the Malaysian Peninsula-Singapore area between 17 August 1964 and 11 August 1966.

South Vietnam

This clasp was instituted by Royal Warrant dated 8 June 1968 for award to Australian personnel. Only 68 clasps were issued, and all 68 went to members of the Australian Army Training Team.

The various qualifying periods, between 24 December 1962 and 29 May 1964, were

  • 30 days' service in ships operating in inland waters or off the Vietnamese coast.
  • 1 day in the service of a land unit.
  • 1 operational sortie.
  • 30 days' service on an official visit.

For service after 29 May 1964, the personnel were awarded The Australian Vietnam Medal.

Northern Ireland

This clasp was instituted for award to personnel involved in law and order activities in Northern Ireland. This clasp is still being issued. There is currently no terminating date for qualifying service.

The general qualifying period is a minimum of 30 days' service between 14 August 1969 and some future date. The 30 days' service does not have to be composed of consecutive days. Should the qualifying period be cut short due to injury or death, then the completed days are counted as sufficient for the award of this clasp.

Dhofar

In 1965 the mountain tribesmen of Dhofar (now Oman) rose in revolt against the regime of Sultan Sa'ib bin Taimur. The revolt worsened in 1967 when the British left the adjacent State of Aden. The new communist government in Yemen provided an important base for the rebels.

By 1970 it was clear that the Sultan would lose the war unless some action was taken. On 23 July 1970, the Sultan's son staged a coup which provided the required change of direction. Some of the previous Sultan's excesses were removed, and the new leader expanded his armed forces and requested British assistance.

The British Special Air Forces (SAS) provided training for his local forces, the Royal Engineers provided military and civil engineering, and RAF officers provided the backbone of the new Sultan's air force. In addition to these contribution, many British officers were seconded to the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF). As well as the British contribution, Jordan and Iran also provided assistance.

During this period, the British forces suffered 24 killed and 55 wounded.

The qualifying period for service was between 1 October 1969 and 30 September 1976.

Lebanon

In 1982, in attempt to remove PLO bases which were attacking Israel, Israel invaded Lebanon and struck north towards Lebanon's capital Beirut. However, they quickly became embroiled in the local Lebanese politics.

In October 1982, an US-inspired multinational peacekeeping force was sent into Beirut. It was composed of troops from USA, France, Italy and UK. Though all the other contingents suffered casualties (241 US Marines in one attack and 58 French troops in another suicide attack), the British troops carried out their assignments with no loss of life.

However, as the force was increasingly becoming just a target for the various factions, it was withdrawn during February - March 1984.

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