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Further changes to MOD medals and clasps following Sir John Holmes's Independent Review

The Government has now confirmed acceptance of Sir John Holmes's latest recommendations, introducing new clasps for Cyprus 1963-64 and the Berlin Airlift, and introducing revised qualification criteria for the South Atlantic Medal (1982) and the General Service Medal with clasp 'CYPRUS' for operations 1955-59. Full details below.

BAFF congratulates all who are to benefit from the announced changes.

As to a National Defence Medal (NDM), the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals was not persuaded that a strong enough case can be made at this time, but has advised that this issue "might usefully be reconsidered in the future". We suppose this might occur in the event of a prolonged period without much opportunity for operational service. There have been mixed reactions to Ministers' decision that the eligibility requirements for the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, which is currently awarded only to other ranks and not to officers, should be harmonised for the future.

Responsibility for the implementation of the new awards rests with the Ministry of Defence Medal Office (MODMO). A phased approach has been adopted to allow time for the design and manufacture of the new awards.

The agreed changes are shown below. For full details from the Ministry of Defence, including the implementation timetable, please click here.

New Clasps

Cyprus 1963-64

Those servicemen who served in Cyprus during the period 21 December 1963 to 26 March
1964 will be awarded the General Service Medal (1962) with clasp “CYPRUS 1963-64”.

Berlin Airlift

The General Service Medal 1918-62 with clasp ‘BERLIN AIRLIFT’ will be awarded for at least
one day’s service to all aircrew, RAF and civilians who took part in the Berlin Airlift operation
from 25 June 1948 to 6 October 1949 inclusive.

Existing Medals/Clasps that are to be awarded under revised qualifying criteria

South Atlantic

The qualifying period for the award of the South Atlantic Medal without the Rosette will be
extended from 12 July to 21 October 1982, when the airfield at Mount Pleasant was
completed. This should benefit, for example, members of 1 QO HLDRS who deployed to the
Falkland Islands in 1982.

UPDATE SEP 2014: For those who were with 1 QO HLDRS and attached personnel (A Coy 1 QLR/137 (Java Bty RA and others) in the Falklands before 21 October 1982, there is useful information at the Queen's Own Highlanders Association website at This also applies to the next-of-kin of such personnel, if deceased.

Cyprus 1955-59

Those who participated in the suppression of acts of terrorism in Cyprus between 1 April 1955
and 24 December 1959 will qualify for the General Service Medal 1918–62 with clasp
‘CYPRUS’ if they served for 90 days or more. The qualifying period has been reduced from
120 days, bringing it into line with the qualifying period for service during the Kenya anti-
terrorism campaign.

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