Claiming for WW2 Medals

by Stanley Merridew

Have you ever wondered what happened to medals awarded to members of your family for serving in the Armed Forces during World War 2?  They could have been sold or now be in the possession of another relative.  There is also the possibility they were never claimed.

As a general rule, most Second World War Service personnel were not issued with medals before they were de-mobilised at the end of the war and consequently they had to claim them after they had left the Services. This differed from the arrangements at the end of the First World War when the majority of medals were sent out automatically. This was not considered to be practical after the Second World War, as most people had returned to civilian life before the medals were instituted in 1948. At the time they were encouraged to visit their local Post Office, pick up a buff card and enter onto it their number rank and name, and send it to the Minister for War to request their medals.

Many had much more pressing things to worry about, like where were they going to live as a result of their house being demolished by bombing, or where were they going to find a job. Many forgot to claim or wanted to forget what they endured.  It was decided at the time that only those people who remained in the Armed Forces would receive their medals automatically. Although the availability of medals for wartime service was widely advertised at the time, many people did not come forward. As a consequence, more than 70 years later, the MOD Medal Office are receiving in the order of 200 applications for WW2 medals per week. They are still issued in the first instance free of charge. Medals can be issued to the legal next of kin of deceased ex-Servicemen/women; however proof of kinship will be required.

If you visit you will find instructions on how to claim.  They are generally issued to surviving next of kin.  However if you are not the next of kin they will accept written authority from the next of kin.  You can download the appropriate form from the website.   Alternatively you can apply by post to:

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA)
MOD Medal Office, Innsworth House
Imjin Barracks, Gloucester GL3 1 HW

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