British War Medal — Award of Naval Clasps.

Everyone who knows anything about militaria will recognise the WW1 War Medal, but not many know that campaign clasps were planned. The Army and Navy were asked to submit how many and what clasps they would like, the Navy being fairly efficient submitted there plans quickly and they were approved by King George V. So private companies to get ahead of what they assumed would be a rush to order these started to produce them for the miniatures they were also producing, a short while later the Army sent their plans to be approved. The Army having more ambitious plans than the Navy, they had over 200 clasps and this was instantly rejected and the whole idea was instantly scrapped! So no Army clasps ever made production even in miniature.

Its such a shame looking now with hindsight. Imagine all those beautiful full size BWMs with 'Somme', 'Paschendale' & 'Ypres' clasps! How the collecting of these would be so vastly different to what it is now.

However, once you know about these tiny Naval clasps that can be found if you really look hard enough. They are hard to forget, although I don't claim to be collecting them as such, they are something that I always keep an eye out for and try and buy them when I can. I have spoke with one collector who almost has 1 of each clasp. That really is some amazing feat of collecting, although he did reveal that he brought most of the collection from someone else who had done the bulk of the leg work. I even had a couple of duplicates that he needed, so a deal was struck. He was kind enough to give me permission to share the photo on here. Now check how stunning those medals are.

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of Naval Clasps to the British War Medal under the following conditions, viz. :—

The particular services for which clasps will be awarded are as follows :—

                                                                                                                 (A) General Actions at Sea.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

"Heligoland, 28 Aug. 14."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of those ships actually engaged.

"Falkland Islands, 8 Dec. 14."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of all ships of Vice Admiral Sir F. C. D. Sturdee's squadron, which left Port Stanley on December 8th 1914, with the intention of engaging the enemy, also to Officers and men of H.M.S. "Canopus."

"Dogger Bank, 24 Jan. 15."—To be awarded to all ships which took part in the action resulting in the sinking of the "Blücher," 24th January, 1915.

"Jutland, 31 May 16.”—To be awarded to the Officers and men of those ships and vessels named in the list attached to Admiral Sir John Jellicoe's Despatch.

                                                                                                                      (B) Single Ship Actions.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

" 'Cap Trafalgar,' 14 Sept. 14." — To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M.S. "Carmania," present in the action.

" 'Emden,' 9 Nov. 14." - To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M.A.S. "Sydney," present in the action.

" 'Königsberg,' July 15."—To be awarded to the Officers and men who served on board the "Severn" and "Mersey," and in the aeroplanes, in the Rufigi River on July 6th and 11th 1915, in the operations resulting in the destruction of the "Königsberg."

" 'Leopard,' 16 March 17."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of "Achilles" and "Dundee," present in the action.

"21 April 17."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M. Ships "Swift" and "Broke," present in the action.

                                                                                                          (C) Fighting at Sea in Particular Areas.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

"North Sea 1914," &c., up to 1918.

"Narrow Seas 1914," &c., up to 1918.

"Home Seas 1914," &c., up to 1918.

"Arctic 1914," &c., up to 1918.

"Baltic 1914," &c., up to 1918.

"Mediterranean 1914," &c., up to 1918.

Qualifying Service for "Area" or "Service" Clasps."

  1. One clasp to be given for each calendar year, 1914-1918.

  2. Qualifying service to be one month for 1914, and three months for the other years. Service in bona fide seagoing ships only to count. Service in Dépôt ships and other vessels which occasionally go to sea from port to port not to be regarded as qualifying service.

  3. Service within the calendar year need not be continuous.

  4. Only one "Area" or "Service" clasp to be given for any one year. If an Officer or man qualifies in more than one area in any one year, he shall receive the clasp for the area in which he has served the longest.

  5. In the case of any Officer or man who has been killed or mortally wounded in action, the clasp for that year will be granted irrespective of the length of service.

                                                                                           (D) Special Services not confined to Particular Areas.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

"Minesweeping."—To be awarded as follows :—

  1. To each rank and rating who formed one of the official crew of a vessel employed regularly as a minesweeper between 4th August 1914 and 11th November 1918, provided that the applicant's vessel formed one of a Minesweeping Unit which swept up enemy's moored mines when the applicant was present in that vessel.

  2. To each rank and rating who formed one of the crew of a vessel temporarily employed on minesweeping for clearing or ensuring a passage in the Dardanelles.

Note.— Auxiliary Patrol and other vessels fitted for minesweeping who occasionally passed their sweeps in conjunction with their patrol duties not to be entitled to the Minesweeping clasp.

"Minelaying."—To be awarded to Officers and men who made ten minelaying trips within the undermentioned areas, including Officers and men serving in Submarine E.24 when that vessel was lost :—

1. Within the British Notified Area, i.e., the area comprising all the waters except the Netherlands and Danish territorial waters lying to the southward and eastward of a line commencing 3 miles from the Coast of Jutland on the parallel of Lat. 57° 08' N., and passing through the following positions :—

  1. (1) Lat. 57° 08' N., Long. 6° 00' E.

  2. (2) Lat. 56° 00' N., Long. 5° 10' E.

  3. (3) Lat. 54° 45' N., Long. 4° 17' E.

  4. (4) Lat. 53° 29' N„ Long. 4° 04' E.

  5. (5) Lat. 53° 00' N., Long. 4° 10' E.

thence along the parallel of Lat. 53° 00' N. to a position 3 miles from the Netherlands coast, thence to the northward and eastward following the limit of Netherlands territorial waters.

2. Within 20 miles of the Belgian coast between Zeebrugge and Nieuport ; also within a radius of 20 miles from (A) Zeebrugge Mole, (B) Nieuport Harbour.

3. Between lines drawn east true from the Skaw and Syr Point, Lasso Island, to the Swedish coast. (Admiralty chart No. 2114.)

4. Within 20 miles of the eastern shore of the Adriatic.

5. The area enclosed between the meridians of 28° 30' E. and 25° 45' E., and the parallels of 36° 50' N. and 40° 30' N.

"'Q'Ships."—To be awarded to all Officers and men who served during the war in "Q" or "Decoy" ships, employed on anti-submarine duties, and were in action in its widest sense with enemy submarines.

"Submarines."—To be awarded to Officers and men who served in submarines for not less than twelve months during the war.

"Baltic S/Ms."—To be awarded to Officers and men who served in submarines in the Baltic within the limits for the Baltic shown under head (c).

To be held in lieu of and not in addition to "Submarines" clasp.

"Heligoland Bight S/Ms."—To be awarded to Officers and men who operated in submarines in the Heligoland Bight within the British Notified Area. (See Area 1, under "Minelaying." )

To be held in lieu of and not in addition to "Submarines" clasp.

"Marmora S/Ms."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of all submarines who penetrated through into the Sea of Marmora and operated there between midnight, 18th and 19th February 1915 and 8th January 1916. The award to include Officers and men of Submarine "B.ll," which torpedoed the 'Messudieh' on 31st December 1914, and Submarine "E.15," which made the pioneer attempt and grounded on Kephez Point in the Dardanelles on 15th April 1915.

To be held in lieu of and not in addition to "Submarines" clasp.

Note.— Officers and men of Minelaying Submarines to be also eligible for "Minelaying" clasp in addition to any submarine clasps, under the conditions laid down above.

                                                                                                    (E) Actions with Enemy's Land Forces.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

"Belgian Coast."—To be awarded to the Officers and men serving in ships which operated between 4th August 1914 and midnight 19th-20th October 1918 (the date of the enemy's evacuation) in an area within twenty miles of the Belgian coast between Zeebrugge and Nieuport; also within a radius of 20 miles from (1) Zeebrugge Mole, (2) Nieuport Harbour.

N.B.—The "Belgian Coast clasp not to be awarded for the operations at Zeebrugge, 23rd April 1918, and Ostend, 23rd April and 10th May 1918. (See below.)

"Dardanelles."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M. Ships which took part in the operation in the Dardanelles from midnight, February 18-19th 1915 to midnight, March 18-19th 1915. Those eligible shall be the Officers and men serving in the ships mentioned in the despatches of Vice-Admirals Carden and De Robeck, dated March 17th 1915 and March 26th 1915. (See "London Gazette," 31322, 7th Supplement, April 29th 1919.)

"Gallipoli Landing."—To be awarded to all naval ranks and ratings who left transports with a view to landing ; to the Officers and crews of those small ships, vessels, and boats which worked inshore or actually assisted in the disembarkation of troops; and to all ranks and ratings of the Royal Navy and Mercantile Marine on board the "River Clyde" ; between midnight, April 24-25th and midnight, April 26-27th 1915. Off-shore covering vessels, transports, &c., not to be included.

Note.—Transports for this purpose are held to mean all floating craft that carried troops.

"Gallipoli."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of all ships employed off the Gallipoli Peninsula within the area mentioned below from midnight, March 18-19th 1915, to the date of the final evacuation, January 8th 1916.

Area.—To the eastward of a line drawn from Yukyeri Point (Lat. 39° 50' 40' N., Long. 26° 9' 45' E. approx.) through a point in Lat. 39° 53' N., Long. 26° O' E., thence direct to Cape Gremea (Lat. 40° 35' N., Long. 26° 6' E. approx.).

"Tsingtau."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of all ships employed off Tsingtau during the operations resulting in its capture, north of Lat. 35° 30' N. and between the meridians of 120° and 121° E.

"Suez Canal."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of those ships and vessels which took part in the engagement on February 2nd to 4th 1915, resulting in the repulse of the Turkish attack, that is, to ranks and ratings serving in ships which operated between a position 2 miles north of Kantara and the northern end of the Bitter Lakes.

"Zeebrugge. Ostend."—To be awarded to the Officers and men present in the ships and vessels named in Article 45 of Sir Roger Keyes' amended despatch of May 9th 1918. published in "London Gazette," No. 31189, of 19th February 1919.

"Ostend, 10 May 1918."—To be awarded to the Officers and men present in the ships named in the Appendix to Sir Roger Keyes' despatch dated 15th June 1918.

                                                                                            (F) Operations in connection with those on Land.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

"Mesopotamia."—To be awarded to all Naval Officers and men who served in the Persian Gulf within the Straits of Ormuz, from November 1st 1914, the date of Turkey's entry into the War, until noon, October 31st 1918.

"Red Sea."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M. Ships who were actually stationed in the Red Sea or the Suez Canal, north of and including Aden, and south of the Mediterranean, excluding the harbour of Port Said, between November 1st 1914 and noon on October 31st 1918. Ships proceeding through the Suez Canal or Red Sea on passage not to be included in the award.

"German East Africa."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M. Ships employed off the coast and outlying islands of East Africa between Mombasa and Delagoa Bay, both inclusive, throughout the war ; also to those Naval ranks and ratings serving on the African Lakes.

"German S.W. Africa."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of H.M. Ships employed on the coast of German S.W. Africa between Luderitz Bay and Swakopmund between 15th September 1914 and July 9th 1915.

"Pacific Islands."—To be awarded to all Naval Officers and men who took part in the following operations :—

New Britain - - - - - - - Sept. ll-21st 1914.

New Ireland - - - - - - - Sept. 6-Oct.-8th 1914.

Kaiser Wilhelm Land - - Sept. 24th 1914.

Admiralty Islands - - - Nov. 21st 1914.

Naura - - - - - - - - - Nov. 6th 1914.

German Samoa - - - - - -Aug. 29th 1914.

"Cameroons."—To be awarded to the Officers and men of all H.M. Ships, vessels, and boats, including the Nigerian Marine personnel, who were present in the Cameroons waters and rivers between 29th August 1914 and 31st January 1916 inclusive.

                                                                   (G) Services in Serbia and Russia, and Post Armistice Operations.

Under this head the following clasps will be awarded :—

"North Russia, 1918/19."—To be awarded to all naval ranks and ratings who served afloat or ashore in North Russia, within the area specified below, between midnight, ll-12th November 1918 and 12th October 1919.

Southern Limit.—Along the parallel of 60° N. between the meridians of 30° E. and 50° E.

Eastern Limit.—The meridian of 50° E.

Western Limit.—The meridian of 30° E.

"Eastern Baltic, 1918-19."—To be awarded to all naval ranks and ratings who served within the Gulf of Finland and in the Baltic east of 20° E. between midnight, ll-12th November 1918, and midnight, 31st December 1919-lst January 1920.

"Mine Clearance, 1918-19."—To be awarded to those Officers and men who actually signed a Mine Clearance Contract, and were accepted and employed under the terms A.F.O. 972/19. Limiting dates and areas as follows :—

  1. In Home Waters, including North Sea European littoral, between November 11th 1918, and Midnight, September 30th—October 1st 1919.

  2. Within the Mediterranean, between November 11th 1918, and Midnight, November 30th—December 1st 1919.

  3. Within the Baltic, between November 11th 1918, and Midnight, November 30th—December 1st 1919.

  4. In other foreign areas where British vessels have carried out mine clearance, between November 11th 1918, and Midnight, July 31st—August 1st 1919.

"Serbia."—To all those in the Naval contingent, and in the attached hospital, serving under the orders of Rear Admiral Sir E. C. T. Troubridge during the defence of Belgrade, and the subsequent retreat through Serbia across the Albanian frontier to the sea, between December 14th 1914, and January 1st 1916, and who are eligible for no other clasp for the same service.

"Siberia, 1918-19."

  1. To the naval personnel of the British Naval Mission in Siberia under Commander J. Wolfe Murray, up till September 13th 1919, and who are eligible for no other clasp for the same service.

  2. To the personnel of the naval detachment who were employed on the Kama River, Siberia, up till June 28th 1919, and who are eligible for no other clasp for the same service.

"Russia."

  1. To naval ranks and ratings who were employed with the armoured cars serving with the Russian forces throughout the war, and who are eligible for no other clasp for the same service.

  2. To members of the Naval Mission who were serving in South Russia 1919—1920, and who are eligible for no other clasp for the same service. The determining dates in this case will be announced later.

"Black Sea 1918-20."—To be awarded to Officers and men serving on board H M. Ships and vessels which operated in the Black Sea or in the Bosphorus within the line joining Stefano Point and Farnar Burnu (at the Sea of Marmora exit from the Bosphorus) subsequent to November 11th 1918. The terminal date for services qualifying for the award has been fixed as 4th September 1920.

This clasp is not to be held in addition to the clasp for "Russia" by members of the Naval Mission mentioned in paragraph (b), "Russia," above.

"Caspian."—To be awarded to all Naval Officers and men who were employed in the Caspian Sea, or on the shores thereof, between July 1918 and August 27th 1919.

2. The clasps earned by Officers and men deceased will be issued to their legatees or next of kin entitled to receive them.

3. The only post-armistice operations for which clasps to the British War Medal will be awarded are those specifically referred to in Section (G), and it is to be understood that in the case of all other clasps, the period of qualifying service definitely ends on the 11th November 1918. In particular the final date of qualification for the "Area" or "Service" clasps referred to in Section (C) is the 11th November 1918.

A further announcement as to the issue of the clasps will be made in due course, and no applications should be made pending such notification.

 

Remember, these are on the miniatures only, were only made for the Navy. Anything on a full size medal is either fake or fantasy depending on your views. Not one clasp was ever even awarded on paper, so you will never see mention of these on any sailors records. Although, you would be able work out what they would have been entitled to using the information above should you like to know, or acquire the miniatures they could have purchased. Some sailors did wear BWM's with clasps, I recently purchases a Trio with WW2 Defence medal on a mounted bar; the BWM had 6 clasps, including 'Gallipoli'.

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