9 March 2012

The Burma Star

Awarded for service in the Burma campaign between 11th December 1941 and 2nd September 1945 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 BURMA STAR. All the Second World War Stars were designed by The Royal Mint.

32mm wide, dark blue with a wide red stripe (denoting the Commonwealth) down the centre and two orange stripes (denoting the sun) on either side. 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.

One: PACIFIC. Personnel qualifying for both the Burma Star and the Pacific Star were awarded the Star to which they first became entitled and a clasp denoting the second. When only ribbons were worn, a silver rose emblem signified the award of the clasp.

Qualification by service is listed below. Official visits did not qualify for this star unless these amounted to thirty days or more.

Service at sea in the Bay of Bengal "... enclosed by a line running from the southernmost part of Ceylon for a disatnce of 300 miles south, thence to a point 300 miles west of the southernmost point of Sumatra, and continuing east to the western side of the Sundra Strait. The Malaca straits are included." (British Battles and Medals).

The 1939-1945 Star must have been earned by six months' service in operations before elegibility for the Burma Star could begin. (BBM)

Persons entering operationl service during the last six months of the war qualified for the star if they did not subsequently serve in another operational area. In this case the prior time qualification of six months did not apply. Naval personnel serving ashore qualified under the same rules as army personnel.

Qualifying service in any part of Burma, the provinces of Bengal and Assam between 1st May 1942 and 2nd September 1945, China and Malaya between 16th February 1942 and 2nd September 1945.

Awarded to RAF personnel who had completed at least one operational sortie. Non-aircrew qualified under army rules.

Photo courtesy of medal auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.  The group, awarded to Sergeant Thomas Henry Harris of the Royal Artillery comprises a G.VI.R. Military Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star; and Defence and War Medals. It was sold at auction in September 2011 for £1450 (hammer price).Text assistance from British Battles & Medals.

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