18 February 2012

The Africa Star

Awarded for one or more day's service in North Africa between 10th June 1940 and 12th May 1943 inclusive.

Bronze, 43mm diameter six-pointed star. The Royal cypher GRI with the roman numerals VI below. The cypher is surmounted by a crown and within a circlet which reads, THE AFRICA STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

32mm wide, one central red stripe on pale buff and with two narrow stripes, one of dark blue, one of light blue. This ribbon, in common with all WW2 Star ribbons, was designed by His Majesty the King, King George VI.

A ring attached to the uppermost point of the star.

Issued unnamed although some stars may have been privately engraved.

Three: 8TH ARMY, 1ST ARMY and NORTH AFRICA 1942-43. Note that only one clasp was awarded to any one individual. Personnel qualifying for more than one clasp were awarded the first one to which they were entitled.  A silver rose emblem worn on a ribbon denoted the NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 clasp; a figure 8 denoting 8TH ARMY and a figure 1 denoting 1ST ARMY.

Qualification by service is listed below. Note that visits and inspections to or in the areas listed below did not qualify personnel for the award of this star unless these amounted to thirty days or more.

Any service at sea in the Mediterranean between the qualifying dates and/or service in support of the campaigns in Eritrea, Abyssinia and Somaliland between 10th June 1940 and 27th November 1941. Naval service ashore in the same area as Army operations also qualified.

Those Merchant Seamen who took part in operations off the coast of Morocco between 8th November 1942 and 12th May 1943.

Those serving in North Africa on the establishment of an operational unit. Service in West Africa was not included, but service in Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea, Sudan and Malta was.

Those RAF personnel who landed in or flew over Abyssinia, Somaliland, Eritrea, Sudan or Malta (excluding West Africa) or territory occupied by the enemy.


The photograph is courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb and shows the group awarded to Captain Harold John March of the Royal Army Service Corps. Captain March's medal group comprises the British Empire Medal, 1939-45 Star; Africa Star (with 8TH ARMY clasp), Defence and War Medals (with M.I.D. oak leaf), Coronation medal 1937. The group, sold at auction in December 2011 for £250 (hammer price).

British Battles & Medals for chapter and verse on this medal.

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