Obverse and reverse of the 1914 Star
|Awarded for||Campaign service|
|Presented by||the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India|
|Eligibility||British, Indian and Canadian forces|
|Campaign(s)||France and Belgium 1914|
|Clasps||5th AUG.-22nd NOV. 1914|
Ribbon bar without and with rosette
|Order of wear|
|Next (higher)||India General Service Medal (1909)|
|Next (lower)||1914-15 Star|
British War Medal
Territorial Force War Medal
The 1914 Star was authorised under Special Army Order no. 350 in November 1917 and by an Admiralty Fleet Order in January 1918, for award to officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight of 22-23 November 1914. The former date is the day after Britain's declaration of war against the Central Powers, and the closing date marks the end of the First Battle of Ypres.
Altogether 378,000 1914 Stars were awarded.
A clasp was instituted in 1919, as published in Army Order no. 361 of 16 October 1919. The clasp, together with two small silver roses, was awarded to those who had served under fire or who had operated within range of enemy mobile artillery in France or Belgium during the period between 5 August and 22 November 1914. An order for 350,000 clasps to be manufactured was placed by the War Office. Approximately 145,000 to 150,000 clasps were issued, although the exact number is unknown since the clasp had to be claimed personally by the recipients, of whom a large number had either died before 1919 or neglected to apply. Those Army units and formations that were eligible were listed in the appendix to Army Order no. 361 of 16 October 1919.
Admiralty Fleet Order 4036 dated 17 December 1919 concludes with a similar list of formations in paragraph 6, albeit those that are not eligible and therefore do not qualify for the clasp. Paragraph 4 was explicit that 'clasps earned by deceased Officers and men will be issued to their Legatees or Next of Kin entitled to receive them'.
The 1914 Star was principally an Army award, although some Royal Navy personnel who served ashore at Antwerp during the qualifying period received the medal. A few women who served in France and Belgium as nurses or auxiliaries during the qualifying period were also awarded the medal.
The majority of recipients were officers and men of the pre-war British army, specifically the British Expeditionary Force, also known as the Old Contemptibles, who landed in France soon after the outbreak of the War and who took part in the Retreat from Mons, hence the medal's nickname "Mons Star".
Approximately 1,000 were awarded to members of the Royal Flying Corps, of whom 300 received the clasp. One hundred and sixty medals were awarded to members of the 2nd Canadian Stationary Hospital who served with the British Expeditionary Force, beginning on 6 November 1914. In addition a few Canadians who were attached to British units also received the medal.
The 1914 Star was never awarded singly. Recipients also received the British War Medal and Victory Medal, but did not qualify for the very similar 1914-15 Star since no person could receive both Stars. These three medals, with either Star included, were sometimes irreverently referred to as "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred", after three comic strip characters, a dog, a penguin and a rabbit, which were popular in the immediate post-war era.
The medal is a four-pointed star of bright bronze, ensigned with a crown, with a height of 50 millimetres (2.0 in) (62 millimetres (2.4 in) with the ring suspension included) and a width of 44 millimetres (1.7 in). The medal and suspension assembly was struck in one piece.
The obverse has two crossed gladii (swords) with their blades upwards, the points and hilts of which form what might appear to be four additional points to the star. The swords are overlaid by a wreath of oak leaves, with the Royal Cypher of George V at the base of the wreath and a central S-shaped scroll inscribed "AUG 1914 NOV".
The clasp, inscribed "5th AUG.-22nd NOV. 1914", was struck in bronze and is 31 millimetres (1.2 in) wide and 5 millimetres (0.20 in) high, while the ribbon bar rosettes are in silver. The clasp was sewn onto the ribbon.
The ribbon is 32 millimetres (1.3 in) wide and has the red, white and blue colours of the flag of the United Kingdom in shaded and watered bands. The same ribbon was used for the 1914-15 Star.
The order of wear of the First World War campaign stars and medals is as follows:
Figures given by the War Office show that the following decorations have been engraved and issued to officers, nurses, rank and file in the time stated: -- 360,000 1914 Stars... 145,000 Clasps to StarsCS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Transcription of Army Order no. 361 of 16 October 1919
Transcription of Admiralty Fleet Order 4036
The book includes: - Campaign Medals. Full history of each medal, including Army Orders, Army Council Instructions & award criteria.