United Kingdom

The UK includes England (Capital: London), Northern Ireland (Capital: Belfast), Scotland (Capital: Edinburgh), and Wales (Capital: Cardiff). Commonly referred to as Britain, it is the 78th largest country in the world, comprising 242,500 square kilometers with a population of just over 66 million inhabitants. As the world’s first industrialized country and foremost power in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, it was at one point, the largest empire in history, controlling nearly ¼ of the world’s land mass. The UK has been heavily involved is relatively all global conflicts, most recently the First and Second World Wars. Although these conflicts diminished the UK’s role slightly, it remains an economic and military power with strong political and cultural influences worldwide.

The British Honours System has adapted and evolved over time, reflecting economic, political, social, and cultural forces which have shaped the United Kingdom’s history. Modern awards of the United Kingdom may be appointed upon individuals of any social rank, regardless of gender, religion, class, or political orientation. The Order of the Garter, first instituted in 1348, set the precedent for all other British orders, exhibiting a mix of medieval (such as membership regulations) and modern characteristics which have become integrated into the United Kingdom’s complex honours system. By the 19th century, awards of the United Kingdom gradually begun to be presented for individual acts of valour rather than as tokens of hereditary knighthood, and a rigid set of standards began to emerge.

The sovereign is the “fount of honour” providing exclusive rights to confer titles of nobility and orders of chivalry. The current sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II. In MedalBook, the UK is organized by Orders, Medals and Decorations, Badges, and Insignia, by order of precedence.


Mayo, John Horsley. Medals and Decorations of the British Army and Navy: With Numerous Coloured Plates and Illustrations. (Vol. 2). Westminster: Archibald Constable and Co, 1897. http://scans.library.utoronto.ca/pdf/1/39/medalsdecoration02mayouoft/medalsdecoration02mayouoft_bw.pdf
Steward, William Augustus. War Medals and their History. London: S. Paul & Co, 1867. https://archive.org/stream/warmedalstheirhi00stewrich#page/250/mode/2up
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AngloBoerWar.com. “Medals and Awards.” https://www.angloboerwar.com/medals-and-awards
ARRSEPedia. “Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal.” https://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Queen%27s_Volunteer_Reserves_Medal
Baldwin. “British Commemorative Medals: A Good Group of Coronation Medals.” http://www.baldwin.co.uk/media/cms/auction-archive/auction-74/BALDWINS%20AUCTION%2074%20-%20Part%2005%20-%20BRITISH%20COMMEMORATIVE%20MEDALS.pdf
British Army Medals. Last updated August 27, 2017. http://britisharmymedals.blogspot.ca/
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Cerberus. “Medal for the Victorian Naval Forces.” http://www.cerberus.com.au/medals.html
Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. “Research Coins: The Coin Shop.” https://cngcoins.com/Default.aspx
DCM Medals: Dealers in Orders, Decorations and Campaign Medals. “A Medal for the ‘Black Death’-Hong Kong, 1894: The Hong Kong Plague 1894 and its Medal.” Last updated March 17, 2017. http://www.dcmmedals.co.uk/article/a-medal-for-the-black-death-hong-kong-1894/
Derbyshire, Tom. “Hong Kong Plague Medal 1894 on Offer at Catherine Southon Auction.” Antiques Trade Gazette: The Art Market Weekly. Last updated January 31, 2017. https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2017/hong-kong-plague-medal-1894-on-offer-at-catherine-southon-auction/
HowlingPixel. “Edward Medal.” Last updated on October 2, 2017. https://howlingpixel.com/wiki/Edward_Medal
Matthews, LD “Observations on the Victoria Volunteer Long and Efficient Service Medal.” Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Vol 16, 2005. http://www.numismatics.org.au/pdfjournal/Vol16/Vol%2016%20Article%202.pdf
Ministry of Defence. “Medals: Campaigns, Descriptions and Eligibility.” Last updated on October 20, 2017. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/medals-campaigns-descriptions-and-eligibility
North East Medals. “Committee on the Grant of Honours Decorations and Medals in time of War: Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal.” http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/hmso/campaign_stars_defence.htm
North East Medals. “The Guide to British War Medals: The Naming of British War Medals.”http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/british_index.htm
Online Medals. “Medal Encyclopedia.” http://www.onlinemedals.co.uk/
Orders, Decorations and Medals: Britain. Last updated January 1, 2010. https://web.archive.org/web/20140617083152/http://www.jeanpaulleblanc.com/Britain.htm
Petition Crown. “British Coronation Medallions.” http://www.petitioncrown.com/Coronation_Medallions.html
Royal Museums Greenwich. “Collections.” http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!cbrowse
Rusty Knight’s Place. “British Medals.” Last updated February 21, 2011. http://rustysmedals.rustyknight98.com/British.htm
Science Museum. “Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine-Hong Kong Plague Medal, England, 1984.” http://broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/objects/display?id=3956
“Summary of the Conditions of Award of the Campaign Stars, the Defence Medals and the War Medal.” Commonwealth of Australia. Published in December 1948. http://www.defence.gov.au/Medals/_Master/docs/Imperial/WWII/WWII-Summary-of-Conditions.pdf
The Royal Ark: Royal and Ruling Houses of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. https://www.royalark.net/
The Soldier’s Burden. http://www.kaiserscross.com/
World Awards Catalog: United Kingdom. http://www.zasluga.net/Europe/UK/UK.htm

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