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General Service Medal?


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I am researching various soldiers from a Roll of Honour and an associated book printed in 1924.

It describes the soldiers as receiving the following medals:

"He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British Victory Medal and the General Service Medal."

Would I be correct is saying that the GSM is incorrect and that the statement should state " ... and the British War Medal"? The BWM is not staed anywhere in the book.


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...However the correct name for the now "BWM" was the General Service Medal!!As it was originally envisaged as a "General Service Medal" with appropriate Clasps for various theatres & Actions,Naval,Army and presumably Air Force,this was shelved in practice due to the vast cost involved in producing and processing the many Clasps that would have been required to cover the various theatres ,Actions & Battles of the Great War in any entirety :poppy:

Contemporary publications & iirc,The National Roll,as well Gordon's British Battles & Medals always used to refer to the "General Service Medal" in the context,to mean the Great War,British War Medal,not indicating the 1918~62 GSM as we know it today.

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Just a thought, but with hard times after the war many soldiers sold their BWM because of the value of the silver it was made from so it's not unheard of to see a star & VM with the BWM. So it is possible the soldier in question only wore the ribbons (and medals) of the star & VM thus the BWM not been mentioned.

The General Service Medal was awarded for minor operations where a campaign medal was not awarded. The Naval GSM was awarded from 1915, backdated to operations from 1909 & the Army & RAF GSM from 1918 the two were later combined in 1962 so it was a single medal awarded to all forces.

Here are wiki links for the 1915 NGSM, the 1918 GSM and the 1962 GSM

So given the print date of 1924 it isn't beoynd possibility that the soldier in question in continued toserve post war having also been awarded the 1918 GSM with one or more of the 4 bar award prior to 1924 in additon to a WW1 trio & having sold the BWM.

Someone else may be able to site examples because it's not something I've looked into but the GSM is also silver & I've not hear of them been sold and the ribbon not worn.


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The silver value of a Medal in around 1920/30 would have been around 5/~;roughly the same intrinsic value as a "Crown" Coin in size & weight,Medals were more normally "pawned" rather than sold,probably for a couple of shillings against the value,The wholesale {*supposed} scrapping of BWM took place in the 1970s when Silver skyrocketed,but even then many dealers hung onto them for the future.An ex Soldier wearing his Medals for Armistice Day Parade :poppy: would not have dared risk the wrath of his Comrades [or the BL Parade master} by wearing just the Star & Victory;sans BWM.The "General Service Medal" WAS the generic term for the War Medal at the time.[A read of the National Roll entries gives "He was awarded the 1914 Star,General Service & Victory Medals" ,or "General Service & Victory Medals" etc;on virtually all occassions

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The book in question states the GSM in circa 70 instances and never mentions the BWM so I would be inclined to consider that GSM was the medal 'name' at that time (1924).

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