Africa Star

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The Africa Star
WW2 Africa Star.jpg
Awarded to a South African, 314134 J.A. Jooste
Awarded by the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Type Military campaign medal
Eligibility All Ranks
Awarded for Entry into operational area
Campaign(s) North Africa 1940–1943
Clasps NORTH AFRICA 1942–43
8th ARMY
1st ARMY
Statistics
Established 8 July 1943
First awarded 1943
Order of wear
Next (higher) Air Crew Europe Star
Next (lower) Pacific Star
Ribbon - Africa Star.png
Ribbon bar
Ribbon - Africa Star & Rosette.png Ribbon - Africa Star & 8.png Ribbon - Africa Star & 1.png
North Africa 1942–43, 8th Army and 1st Army insignia

The Africa Star is a military campaign medal, instituted by the United Kingdom on 8 July 1943 for award to British and Commonwealth forces who served in North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943 during the Second World War.[1][2]

Three clasps were instituted to be worn on the medal ribbon: North Africa 1942–43, 8th Army and 1st Army.[1]

The Second World War Stars

On 8 July 1943, the 1939–43 Star (later named the 1939–1945 Star) and the Africa Star became the first two campaign stars instituted, and by May 1945 a total of eight stars and nine clasps had been established by the United Kingdom to reward campaign service during the Second World War.[3] One more campaign star, the Arctic Star, and one more clasp, the Bomber Command Clasp, were belatedly added on 26 February 2013, more than sixty-seven years after the end of the war.[1][2][4]

Including the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command clasp, no-one could be awarded more than six campaign stars, with five of the ten clasps awarded denoting service that would have qualified for a second star. Only one clasp could be worn on any one campaign star. The maximum of six possible stars are the following:[1][4][3]

All recipients of campaign stars also received the War Medal.[14]

Institution

Between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943 British forces fought in North Africa against the Germans and Italians, who had control of large areas of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and therefore threatened the Suez Canal and the approaching sea lanes. During the desert conflict the balance of power alternated between the two sides, until the remaining German forces surrendered at Tunis on 12 May 1943. Some historians consider the victory over the German forces in North Africa to have been the turning point in the war which led to the eventual defeat of Germany.[15]

The institution of the Africa Star was announced on 8 July 1943 and in August it was announced that the first uniform ribbon bars would be issued to qualifying personnel later in that year. The medals themselves were not intended to be available until after the cessation of hostilities. Some ribbon issues to overseas troops were delayed, but many had been received by the end of 1943.[2][16] By March 1944 1,500,000 personnel had received Africa Star ribbon bars, with further awards made by the end of the war.[17]

Three clasps were instituted: 'North Africa 1942–43', '8th Army' and '1st Army', of which only the first to be earned may be worn on the ribbon of the Africa Star.[10][18]

Award criteria

Medal

The Africa Star was awarded for a minimum of one day's service in an operational area of North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The operational area includes the whole of the area between the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar, together with Malta, Abyssinia, Kenya, the Sudan, both Somalilands and Eritrea. Areas not bordering on the Mediterranean only qualified for the Africa Star between 10 June 1940 and 27 November 1941 inclusive.[1][3]

  • Royal Navy and Merchant Navy personnel qualified for the award of the Africa Star through service in the Mediterranean between these two dates, or for service in the campaigns in Abyssinia, Somaliland and Eritrea between 10 June 1940 and 27 September 1941. Merchant Navy personnel also qualified with service in operations off the Moroccan coast between 8 November 1942 and 12 May 1943. For sea-going service there was no condition that the 1939-45 Star should already have been earned before the Africa Star could be awarded.[1][10]
  • Army personnel had to enter North Africa on the establishment of an operational unit, while service in Abyssinia, Sudan, Somaliland and Eritrea also qualified.[1]
  • Air Force personnel had to land in or have flown over any of the operational areas. The Africa Star was also awarded to crews of transport aircraft that flew over certain specified routes.[1][18]
  • Members of the Australian Imperial Force qualified for the award of the Africa Star for service in Syria between 8 June and 11 July 1941.[19]

Service in West Africa did not qualify for the award of the Africa Star.[1][10]

Clasps

Regulations issued in 1945 only allow one clasp, the first one qualified for, to be worn with the Africa Star. Despite this, both the 8th Army and 1st Army clasps were awarded to and worn by, inter alia, General Dwight Eisenhower and Field Marshal Harold Alexander.[3][20][21]

  • The North Africa 1942–43 Clasp was awarded for service with the 18th Army Group Headquarters between 15 February 1942 and 12 February 1943 inclusive, for Navy and Merchant Navy personnel in shore service, or for Air Force service in specified areas from 23 October 1942 to 12 May 1943 inclusive. In undress, a silver rosette worn on the ribbon bar denotes the award of this clasp.[3]
  • The 8th Army Clasp was awarded for service with the Eighth Army between 23 October 1942 and 12 May 1943 inclusive. An Arabic numeral "8" is worn on the ribbon bar in undress to denote the award of this clasp.[3]
  • The 1st Army Clasp was awarded for service with the First Army between 8 November 1942 and 12 May 1943 inclusive. An Arabic numeral "1" is worn on the ribbon bar in undress to denote the award of this clasp.[3]

Description

The set of nine campaign stars was designed by the Royal Mint engravers. The stars all have a ring suspender that passes through an eyelet formed above the uppermost point of the star. They are six–pointed stars, struck in yellow copper zinc alloy to fit into a 44 millimetres diameter circle, with a maximum width of 38 millimetres and 50 millimetres high from the bottom point of the star to the top of the eyelet.[18]

Obverse

The obverse has a central design of the Royal Cypher "GRI VI", surmounted by a crown. A circlet, the top of which is covered by the crown, surrounds the cypher and is inscribed "THE AFRICA STAR".[18]

Reverse

The reverse is plain.

Naming

The British Honours Committee decided that Second World War campaign medals awarded to British forces would be issued unnamed,[22] a policy applied by all but three British Commonwealth countries. The recipient's name was impressed on the reverse of the stars awarded to Indians, South Africans and, after a campaign led by veteran organisations, to Australians.[23] In the case of Indians, naming consisted of the recipient's force number, rank, initials, surname and service arm or corps, and in the case of South Africans of the force number, initials and surname, in block capitals.[1][18][24][25]

Clasps

North Africa 1942-43 Clasp 8th Army Clasp 1st Army Clasp

All three clasps were struck in yellow copper zinc alloy and have a frame with an inside edge that resembles the perforated edge of a postage stamp. They are inscribed "NORTH AFRICA 1942–43", "8th ARMY" and "1st ARMY" respectively and were designed to be sewn onto the medal's ribbon. Regulations only allow one clasp, the first earned, to be worn with the Star. When the ribbon is worn alone, a silver Arabic numeral "8", numeral "1" or rosette is worn on the ribbon bar to denote the award of the respective clasp.[1][3][18]

Ribbon

The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 5 millimetres wide pale buff band, a 1½ millimetres wide Navy blue band, a 5 millimetres wide pale buff band, a 9 millimetres wide Army red band, a 5 millimetres wide pale buff band, a 1½ millimetres wide Air Force blue band and a 5 millimetres wide pale buff band. The pale buff represents the sand of the Sahara Desert while the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, the Armies and the Air Forces are represented by the dark blue, red and light blue bands respectively.[18]

The ribbons for this medal and the Defence Medal as well as those of the other Second World War campaign stars, with the exception of the Arctic Star, were devised by King George VI.[3][26]

Order of wear

The order of wear of the Second World War campaign stars was determined by their respective campaign start dates and by the campaign's duration. This is the order worn, even when a recipient qualified for them in a different order. The Defence Medal and War Medal are worn after the stars.[27] The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal is worn after the Defence Medal and before the War Medal, with other Commonwealth war medals worn after the War Medal.[27]

The Africa Star is therefore worn as shown:[27]

Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star Pacific Star

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Stephen Stratford Medals site: British Military & Criminal History, 1900 to 1999. 1939–45 Star (Access date 1 April 2015)
  2. ^ a b c War Service (Decorations) – Statement in the House of Commons by Winston Churchill on 3 August 1943 (HC Deb 03 August 1943 vol 391 cc2091-3) (Access date 9 April 2015)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals in Time of War (May 1945). "Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal (Regulations)". London: HM Stationery Office. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  4. ^ a b c The National Archives – Ministry of Defence – Arctic Star and Bomber Command Clasp (Access date 1 April 2015)
  5. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The 1939–45 Star Eligibility Rules Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  6. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Atlantic Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 4 April 2015)
  7. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Air Crew Europe Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  8. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The France and Germany Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  9. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Arctic Star (Access date 12 April 2015)
  10. ^ a b c d e New Zealand Defence Force – The Africa Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  11. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Pacific Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 9 April 2015)
  12. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Burma Star Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  13. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force – The Italy Star Eligibility Rules Archived 27 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 12 April 2015)
  14. ^ Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. pp. 97-98. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  15. ^ GOV.UK - Defence and armed forces – guidance - Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility - Africa Star (Access date 9 April 2015)
  16. ^ Overseas Service (Recognition) - Statement in the House of Commons by Clement Attlee on 8 July 1943 (HC Deb 08 July 1943 vol 390 c2250)
  17. ^ "War decorations and medals – statement in the House of Commons by Winston Churchill on 22 March 1944". London: Hansard. 22 March 1944. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Extract from the Regulations: The Africa Star (Access date 8 October 2018)
  19. ^ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. S134 dated 10 April 1995
  20. ^ The Churchill Society, London - As visible in Alexander's photograph on the Churchill Society website
  21. ^ As visible in a photograph of Field Marshal Alexander
  22. ^ Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. p. 246. Published by Spink, London. 1988.
  23. ^ A distinction almost denied: the naming of Australia's Second World War medals, Trevor Turner. Orders & Medals Research Society Journal, September 2018, pp 148-157
  24. ^ Memoirs - My Days With The I.A.F (1940-48) - V S C Bonarjee, IAS Archived 25 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 14 April 2015)
  25. ^ Rear Side of the Medals Archived 14 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 14 April 2015)
  26. ^ Forces War Records - Medals - 1939-1945 Star (Access date 2 April 2015)
  27. ^ a b c "No. 40204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1954. p. 3538.
  28. ^ Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 97. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  29. ^ New Zealand Defence Force - The Defence Medal Eligibility Rules Archived 15 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 21 April 2015)
  30. ^ New Zealand Defence Force - The War Medal 1939-45 Eligibility Rules Archived 29 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (Access date 22 April 2015)
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