New medal acknowledges front-line efforts by Navy worldwide

Topic: Fighting arms Storyline: The Fighting Arms

Sailors and Royal Marines who have served in the Gulf will be eligible for a new decoration – one of several operations recognised by the Wider Service Medal.

Operation Kipion – the long-standing security mission carried out by Royal Navy and RFA ships from Suez to the Seychelles and involves hundreds of Senior Service personnel 24/7/365 – is one of several operations singled out for eligibility under the new medal, announced by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.

Approved by The King, the WSM as it will be abbreviated, recognises military personnel and civilians on operations who make a significant contribution to the UK’s missions in rigorous circumstances but where the physical risk to life – traditionally required for the award of an operational medal – is lower.  

To be eligible for the medal you must have completed 180 days’ aggregated service on one of the named operations (further service of 180 days will earn a bar up to a maximum of three) since December 11 2018 (selected because it was the day HM Queen Elizabeth II approved the new decoration in principle).

As well as Kipion, the first tranche of eligible ops includes: HMS Tamar and Spey’s Asia-Indo-Pacific deployment (Woodwall), strategic missile deterrence patrols (Relentless, in addition to the existing ‘bomber pins’), as well as the Tri-Service missions to safeguard eastern Europe (Cabrit) and train Ukrainian personnel (Orbital). Other operations are being considered.

The first WSMs will be presented early this summer to a representative sample of recipients, with the medal enter mass production in the autumn, when it will be issued more widely.

All personnel who qualify for the Wider Service Medal will be notified in the usual manner.