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British World War Two medals: The Defence Medal


The Defence Medal was issued by the United Kingdom in May 1945 and is the most common of the Second World War series of medals. It was awarded to a large number of civilians of the British Commonwealth who formed part of the recognised defence units such as the Home Guard and Civil Defence and the non-operational military who were subjected to air attack or closely threatened during three years of service running up to the 8th May 1945. The medal was issued unnamed and produced in cupro-nickel with exception to the Canadian issue version which was struck in silver.

Medal design

The obverse depicts the head of King George VI facing left enclosed by the legend ‘GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMP.’ The reverse depicts an oak sapling surmounted with the Royal Crown and flanked by a lion and lioness with the dates 1939 and 1945. The exergue beneath reads ‘THE DEFENCE MEDAL’.

Riband colours

The riband colours were devised by King George VI. The green is symbolic of Britain’s green and pleasant land, the orange represents the enemy bombing and fires that ensued and the narrower black bands symbolises the blackouts which took place during air attacks.

If you have any military medals you would like to have valued, please contact Robin Newcombe of Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent. 

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