British Military & Criminal History
1900 to 1999.
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This page deals with some of the various long service and good conduct medals that have been issued during the 2oth century; the period 1900 to 1999.
There have been several "Long Service & Good Conduct" (LSGC) that have been issued. They all share a common intension of recognising periods of continuous service with good conduct. What is defined as good conduct does vary a great deal, especially with the LS&GC medals awarded to soldiers during the Victorian Era (1837 to 1901). The amount of service has also varied with each type of LS&GC medal.
Royal Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
The Royal Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal was introduced on 24 August 1831. The silver medal has changed dimensions and ribbon colour twice during its period of issue.
There have also been two design types.
The first type, which was the initial 1831 design for the medal, had the medal's obverse side with an anchor surmounted by a crown and enclosed in an oak wreath. The medal's reverse side had the recipient's details.
The second type, which was the 1848 design for the medal, had the medal's obverse side with the sovereign's profile. The reverse side had a man-of-war surrounded by a rope and having the text "For Long Service and Good Conduct" round the side's circumference.
The medal was intended to recognise periods of 21 years excellent service, but this period was reduced to 10 years in 1874, and then increased to 15 years. Additional clasps, for periods of 15 years, were introduced during the reign of King George V (1910-1936). From March 1981 officers could become eligible for the medal if they had completed 12 years service before being commissioned.
Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
The Army Long Service & Good Conduct medal was instituted in 1830. The medal is made from silver and is 36 millimetres in diameter. The medal's ribbon was plain crimson until 1917 when white stripes were added to both edges.As can be imaged, a medal introduced in 1830 has undergone a number of changes. Until 1901 the medal's obverse contained an image of a trophy of arms with the royal arms in an oval shield in the centre while the reverse side contained the inscription "For Long Service and Good Conduct".
The King William IV issue had the royal coat of arms with the badge of Hanover on the obverse and a small suspension ring with a plain crimson ribbon. The small ring was replaced by a larger version in 1831.
When Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne in 1837, the Hanover emblem was dropped from the medal's obverse. In 1855 a swivelling scroll suspension was introduced, followed in 1874 by small lettering replacing the original large lettering on the reverse side.
In 1901, with the succession of King Edward VI to the throne, the effigy of the reigning sovereign was placed on the medal's obverse. The reverse side remained unchanged.
In 1920 the swivelling scroll suspension was replaced by a fixed suspender.
In 1930 the title of the medals was changed to the Long Service and Good Conduct (Military) Medal. It was also decided to add a fixed suspension bar bearing the text "Regular Army" or the name of a dominion country: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India or South Africa.
The medal was originally awarded to soldiers of good conduct who had completed 21 years service in the infantry or 24 years in the cavalry. In 1870, this qualifying period was reduced to 18 years for both the infantry and cavalry. During the Second World War, officers could also be awarded this medal if they had completed at least 12 of the 18 years in the ranks. In 1940 clasps for further periods of service were introduced.
The vast majority of LS&GC medals are issued named to the recipient, with the name on the rim around the medal.
Royal Air Force Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
The Royal Air Force Long Service & Good Conduct Medal was introduced on 1 July 1919. The medal was originally made from silver, although later issues have been made from a silver-plated base metal. In either case the medal was 36 millimetres in diameter, with a ribbon that is dark blue and maroon with white edges.
The medal's obverse side has the sovereign's profile, while the reverse side has the Royal Air Force eagle and crown insignia.
This medal was intended to recognise periods of excellent service by non-commissioned RAF personnel. Initially the period was 18 years, but this was reduced in 1977 to 15 years. From 1944, clasps were issued for successfully completed additional periods of either 18 or 15 years. Prior to 1945, conduct judged to be below the required standard could still count towards the required total if the airman had performed excellent conduct or gallantry before an enemy or some other crisis. Prior to 1944, up to 4 years of the required total could have been earned in either the Royal Navy or Army before the serviceman had transferred to the Royal Air Force.
In 1947, RAF Officers could be awarded this medal if they had completed at least 12 years before receiving their commission.