Medals and Badges

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Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (1855-1874 type)
1855-1874 Type

Instituted 1830 originally for soldiers of exemplary conduct for 21 years service in the infantry or 24 years in the cavalry, but in 1854 the qualifying period was reduced to 18 years.

Description: Silver 36mm diameter. Obverse: a trophy of arms with the royal arms in an oval shield in the centre. The first issue had the royal arms with the badge of Hanover and a small suspension ring. A large ring was substituted in 1831 and in 1837 on the accession of Queen Victoria the Hanoverian emblem was dropped from the arms. In 1855 a swivelling scroll suspension was substituted. The reigning sovereign’s effigy was placed on the obverse from 1901. Reverse: bore the inscription FOR LONG SERVICE AND GOOD CONDUCT (large lettering replaced in 1859 by smaller lettering). In 1930 the medal was replaced by the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military).

Clasps or Bars: None.

Naming: The medal was issued named and dated on the rim.

Ribbon: 32mm plain crimson until 1917 when white stripes were added to the edges.

Source: Medal Yearbook 2014, edited by John W Mussell, Token Publishing Limited.

Good Conduct Badges

Three Good Conduct Badges
Three Good Conduct Badges

For good conduct, which meant, that if the soldier had never been punished, he received further extra pay (Good Conduct Pay). The daily rate amounted to 1d. The recipient wore a badge in the shape of a ^, pointing upwards, on the lower sleeve of the left arm. From 1885, the first of these badges was awarded after two years of service, the second after six, and the third up to the sixth badge after 12, 18, 23, and 28 years of service. Every badge brought an extra penny a day. In case of punishment the soldier forfeited this extra pay or a part of it, but could recover it by good conduct. These extra payments and badges were only awarded to men from the rank of corporal downward.

During the Victorian period there were several sets of rules governing the award of Good Conduct badges as shown below:

The 1836 and 1854 rules awarded badges at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service.
The 1860 rules awarded badges at 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, 28, 33, and 38 years of service.
The 1870 rules awarded badges at 2, 6, 12, 18, 23, and 28 years of service.
The 1876 rules awarded badges at 2, 5, 12, 16, 18, 21, and 26 years of service.
The 1885 rules awarded badges at 2, 6, 12, 18, 23, and 28 years of service.

Source: J M Grierson (1899).

South Africa Medal 1834-1853

Cameron South Africa MedalSanctioned in November 1854 and awarded for services during three campaigns in South Africa in 1834-35, 1846-47 and 1850-53. These campaigns were known as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Kaffir Wars or the 6th, 7th and 8th Frontier Wars.

It was awarded to approximately 9,500 survivors in both the Army and Navy, but was not issued to next of kin.  Almost all the recipients were British troops, although 650 were issued to Naval personnel on five ships.  Only a few local troops and officers in native levies received the award.

Description: Silver 36mm diameter with a swivelling ornamental suspension. Obverse: the Leonard Charles Wyon bust of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse: depicts a lion drinking by a protea bush with the legend SOUTH AFRICA and 1853 in the exergue.

No Clasps or Bars:  Only reference to the rolls (WO100-17) will give an indication of which campaign(s) the recipient served in.

Naming: Impressed in Roman capitals. No ship is shown on medals to Naval recipients.

Ribbon: Orange, with two wide and two narrow dark blue stripes.


 Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-1858

Indian Mutiny MedalInstituted 18 August 1858 for award to British and Indian troops deployed against the Mutineers. The last of the Honourable East India Company’s medals issued on behalf of the British Government. Approximately 270,000* medals were issued.

Description: Silver 36mm diameter with a swivelling cusped suspension. Obverse: the diademed head of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse: depicts a standing Britannia, with shield, presenting a wreath. Behind her is a standing the British lion, above is the word INDIA and in exergue the dates 1857 -1858.

Clasps or Bars: Five fish tailed bars with rosette separators were issued:  Delhi, Defence of Lucknow, Relief of Lucknow, Lucknow and Central India; maximum of four awarded on one medal.

Naming: Impressed in Roman capitals. Official replacements can be found on a thicker flan with the naming in taller letters and showing the recipient’s service number (service numbers are not impressed on the original issue).

Ribbon: White, with two red stripes.

*Some sources give 290,000. This number may include an issue in 1868 to those civilians who had borne arms or taken part in the fighting.


Crimean War Medals

British Crimea MedalBritish
Sanctioned on 15 December 1854, this medal was awarded to 275,000 men of the British Army and Navy. Some civilians also received the medal. The medal is found both with and without clasps.

Description: Sterling silver 36mm diameter. The suspension is an ornate floriated swivelling suspender unique to the Crimea Medal; the clasps are also unique, being in the form of an oak leaf with an acorn at each extremity. Obverse: the diademed head of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA REGINA and 1854. Reverse: a Roman legionary (carrying a gladius and circular shield) being crowned with a laurel wreath by a winged figure of Victory; to the left is the legend CRIMEA which is written vertically.

Clasps or Bars: Clasps were authorised for the Battles of Alma, Balaklava and Inkermann and for the fall of Sebastopol. The four clasps were worn in date order, with the clasp for Alma being closest to the medal. A clasp was also awarded to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for actions in the Sea of Azoff.

Naming: The medal was issued unnamed. However, medals could be returned to the Mint for naming (in a style known as ‘officially impressed’), but many were crudely stamped with names by recipients who were presented with their medals in the Crimea (‘Depot impressed’), or were privately engraved by jewellers in England.

Ribbon: Pale blue with yellow edges.

Turkish Crimea MedalTurkish
Issued by Abdülmecid I Sultan of Turkey to the armies of his allies for services in the Crimean War. While this medal is almost always found with the British Crimea Medal, a small number of British officers who served with the Turkish forces along the Danube received the Turkish Crimea Medal only.

Description: Silver 36mm diameter. Suspended by means of a ring, but frequently replaced by a straight suspension. Obverse: depicts the Sultan’s cipher and the Mohammedan date 1271. Reverse: depicts cannon with varying arrangements of the allies’ flags depending on the issue.* There were three types of medal – the English, French and Sardinian, differentiated by the position of the flag on the reverse and the inscription on the reverse exergue Crimea 1855 (English), La Crimee 1855 (French) and La Crimea 1855 (Sardinian). It does not follow that British recipients received the appropriate issue since many of the British issue were lost in a shipwreck. The most common type found issued to the British was the Sardinian.

No Clasps or Bars

Naming: The medal was issued unnamed.

Ribbon: Dark crimson with green edges. The original ribbon issued with this medal measured only .50” wide but was replaced by one of 1.25” when awarded to British personnel.

* Many people mistakenly believe the reverse with the flags and cannon are the obverse of this medal and indeed many of the recipients at the time wore them that way. The side with the Sultan’s cypher or tughra is actually the obverse.