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 Wearing of Medals 

The HMAS Sydney & VLSVA (Vic) is pleased to advise members of the following information relating to the wearing of decorations.


General Wearing of Medals

War medals are not freely available for wear by all. Medals are only to be worn by those to whom the medal has been conferred. The only exception to this ruling occurs on Remembrance Day and Anzac Day. On these two occasions, descendants may wear the medals of deceased recipients but only on the right breast.

Medals are worn according to the Campaign period (left of centre, across to the left shoulder) with the first conferred being closest to the left of centre. In instances such as the granting of both the Australian Service Medal 1945-1975, and the current ASM, the latter would fall second as the first recognises prior service.

Miniature medals should only be worn after 6pm at formal dress functions.

Wearing of Commemorative Medals (by private individuals) 

The following is an extract from ‘Sabretoche’, The Journal of the Military Historical Society of Australia, Vol X1X, April 1978, No 2. (page 129).

From the number of inquires, there is obviously misunderstanding or lack of knowledge presently causing confusion, about what AWARDS, private individuals may wear. In a nutshell, an individual, (in other than uniform) may wear any award, Foreign, private (ie Club or Association), etc, that he or she has been awarded.  There is no law on what may be worn, except of course for falsely wearing awards or medals. Although there is a suggested order of procedure of wearing awards, a private citizen is not even bound by these rules of precedence and could wear his VC at the end of his Service medals, without breaking the law. The Uniform automatically relate to the wearing of any awards to these regulations covering the wearing of a uniform.

Commemorative Medals: Tobruk Service Medal - Dunkirk Veterans Medal - Somme Commemorative medal - Belgium Medal - B.C.O.F. Medal - Bomber Command Medal - Hazardous Service medal [Atomic Veterans Association] - HMAS “Voyager” Survivors Medal - HMAS “Voyager” Rescuers Medal - 40th Anniversary, end of Korean War Medal - Front Line Infantry Service Medal - Gallipoli Star Anniversary Medal – National Serviceman Medal - Z Forces medal for Commando, Jaywick, Rimau - Philippines Service Medal - Malta Siege Medal - Arctic Convoy Medal - Russian Army 40th Anniversary Medal - Netherlands Commemorative Cross - Foreign Service Commemorative Medal.

Wearing of Unit Citations: According to chapter 8, paragraph 840 and 841 of the Navy DI, unit citations (both Australian and Foreign) are to be positioned centrally on the left breast with citations dressed per first row of ribbons with medal ribbons centrally positioned 5mm directly above unit citations (Australia having precedence over Foreign). Citations are to be positioned with top edge of citation 20mm centrally below bottom line of medals.

Navy (USN) Unit Citations are, unlike Army or Air Force, in so much that the citation emblem is a ribbon and worn whilst in uniform on the left side, Army/RAAF emblems are worn on the right when in uniform.

Below is a copy of the Army Dress Manual in regards to the wearing of Citations: REFERENCE ARMY STANDING ORDERS FOR DRESS(ASOD).

Chapter 28 Para 420
Commendations and Citations will be worn on the RIGHT side above the pocket (or in the same place if there is no pocket).

Chapter 32-8 Para 3152
A person in the immediate family of a deceased recipient of a Decoration or Medal may wear the insignia awarded to that member, on occasions specially designated for military commemoration. The medals or ribbons of the medals are to be worn on the RIGHT breast and only when the person is in civilian clothes, they are NOT permitted to be worn on uniform under any circumstances. This would also include Citations.

Chapter 32 Para 3206
Medal ribbons may be arranged on receipt of new awards and before investiture or receipt of the medal. In this case the Riband of the new medal is to be worn in the appropriate order of procedure (Note that this means AFTER you have received official notice that you are entitled to the medal).

Chapter 32 Para 3208
Medals MAY be Court Mounted at the expense and option of the member, UNLESS Court Mounting is ordered for the performance of a members duties (i.e. RSM can order you to do so if deemed necessary). This applies to all services. When wearing Medals, you may place a piece of the ribbon corresponding to the new medal in the spot where the medal shall hang.

Acknowledgement:  The information contained on this web-page was supplied by the VLSVA WA and has been reproduced without alteration. 

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This page updated: 03-Jan-2013

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