There’s a great
seeing the new
medals go out.
Eye for detail
Revealed: The careful behind-the-scenes
work behind the issue of every medal
It is said behind every medal is the
story of how it was earned.
But just as fascinating is the detail
behind how each British medal comes
to be issued by the MOD Medal Office
in the first place.
And it is thanks to the meticulous
work of a small team of civil servants,
working at Imjin Barracks, that ensures
everything is just right for every
single medal worn by every British
“When I had to get the precise ‘air
force’ grey for the new Iraq and
Syria medal ribbon,” reveals James
Davies, the man responsible for
medal specifications, “I contacted
the workshops at the RAF base in
St Athan – just to try and match
the correct ‘pantone’ colour, for the
ribbon fabric makers, of a Typhoon’s
It is only recently that such precise
descriptions have been laid down.
The ‘Operation Shader’ medal is the
first campaign medal to be created
since 2003, awarded to personnel who
contributed to the campaign to defeat
Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
SPRING 2019 the imjin
As well as its own distinct ‘air force
grey’ ribbon, the Shader medal is one
of the first to have been introduced
with its own detailed specification. point on they will always look and feel
“It’s my job to ensure the correct
weight, the correct material and finish,”
continues James Davies, who works
as part of the Medal Office’s business
development team. “There’s a great satisfaction in seeing
the new medals go out,” adds Davies,
“especially when you’ve been involved
from the early days.
“Prior to 2018, the Ministry of Defence
never had any technical specifications
for medals. So, for instance, the World
War Two medals that we’ve been
issuing for the last seventy years have
actually changed material, changed
size, changed colour over time.
“But now we’ve placed the technical
specification for each of the medals,
and we’ve been able to say from this
“If a new medal is going to be
introduced we will give design options
to the dress committees. We get to
add our thoughts and say ‘that is
possible’ or ‘that isn’t possible’.
“The emotional value that gets
attached to the medals is huge.
Because what we are effectively doing
is supporting the moral component of
the Armed Forces contingent.”
MOD Defence Business Services
Defence Business Services (DBS) provide corporate support services
to businesses and individuals across Defence.
At Imjin Barracks, the DBS ‘Military Personnel’ pillar provides services
through the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and the
MOD Medal Office, supporting military personnel and their families,
veterans, and entitled civilian personnel.
Further information on DBS services can be found on the GOV.UK
website, or intranet for service personnel.