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Sevice Medals

Medals are a visual reminder, honouring sacrifice and service.

Where can I find my family’s medals?

The two main internet sites to look at are the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the National Archives of Australia (NAA).

For WWI information on the NAA site go to the conflict involved and the service and then do a name search. The service number is more direct than given names especially if the name is common. You can also visit "Discovering ANZACS" for the Boer War and WWI by using the place of birth or residence at enlistment to help your search (if you don't know the number [of what]).

The 'World War Service' records will provide medal entitlements. Any medal that has NE written on it means that the person was not entitled to it. Other awards, Mentions in Despatches, Silver War Badges (if invalided out) and Memorial Plaques (if died as a result of war) will be noted on this webpage.

Later records do not have service medal entitlements on them. If you are unsure of entitlements or unclaimed medals go to 'Honours and Awards', follow the prompts and find the appropriate forms. To make a claim for unissued medals you should be the spouse or oldest surviving child or grandchild.

Lost medals that have been issued cannot be reclaimed unless you are the original recipient, although some exceptions have been made following natural disasters such as the Victorian fires or the Queensland floods.

Medal mounting misconception

Some people seem to think that medals being made of metal are indestructible, but this is far from the truth. Metal reacts to the environment, humidity, pollution and gases — and even sweat can etch in fingerprints.

Tarnishing is evidence of the metal attempting to revert to its original state. Metals attack each other by rubbing and hitting each other when worn, or by electrolysis (or reduction) where the ions travel up from the chain from the base to noble metals, the noble metals in effect cannibalize those lower down the chain.

The aim of proper mounting is to conserve the medals in their current state, so they can be worn and displayed with pride.

Mounting techniques 

Our mounting techniques will differ from many others offering this service and in principle we follow that of the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Defence.

Most metals are given a protective coating after manufacture however usage over time and cleaning can remove this. The naming of medals also breaks this protective coating and provides a concentrated entry point for corrosion. Continual cleaning will remove the sharpness of detail in the medal and in the case of the WWI Victory medal even remove the gold plating.


Medals often have their ribbons changed several times in their life and we normally fit new ribbons. If you have medals with original silk ribbon and are in good condition, we like to maintain them. We recommend they are not actually worn as they are quite fragile. Before reusing, we dry-clean the original ribbon.

Mounting styles

There are two mounting styles:

  • Swing Mounting (or Service Mounting) and 

  • Court Mounting.

If you care about your medals, Court Mounting is the only option as the medals are stitched securely to an archival backing so they can't move about damaging each other and rubbing off the protective coatings. 

Other medal mounters secure their ribbons down with double-sided tape, something the Australian War Memorial (AWM) warns against. This prevents the ribbons from draping properly and showing their fullness. Others stick the medals down with silicone and other adhesives which can be extremely difficult to remove from crevices becoming nigh on impossible. 

The AWM warns against the use of silicone polish as it makes the application of protective coatings in the future almost impossible to remove without lengthy and considerable effort.

We found that a Conspicuous Gallantry Medal issued to an RAAF member during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (and second to a Victoria Cross and much rarer) was mounted with sticky tape and silicone adhesive! Only three were ever issued in the British Commonwealth, the other two were Royal Navy members. This medal has been discontinued and will therefore remain unique. 

Navy medals have different ribbons.

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