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22/09/2020 01:34am

Operational Service Medal

Conflict
 
Operational Service Since 2000.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The Operational Service Medal is a British campaign medal presented to those who participated in operations for which no other separate medal is intended. The medal was instituted in 1999 to replace the General Service Medal 1962.
 
The medal has been awarded for various campaigns since that time and whilst the medal is the same in all instances of issue, the ribbons and bars awarded with it differ to distinguish it between the different campaigns that it represents.
 
To date there have been three different issues.
 
To be awarded this medal for service in Sierra Leone, the recipient must have served or assisted in any one of the five operations undertaken by British forces during the Sierra Leone Civil War, or, served within the ‘Joint Operational Area’ which included Senegal, Gibraltar and offshore ships undertaking support activities.
 
It was also awarded for either, 14, 21, 30 or 45 days continuous or accumulated service between certain specified dates on either 'Operation Palliser', 'Basilica' or 'Silkman'. Additionally, it was also awarded to those deployed on 'Operation Maidenly' or 'Barras' on specified dates ranging from 1999 to 2002.
 
For service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the medal was awarded for 25 days continuous service in the Ituri Province between June 14 and September 10 2003, in support of United Nations and subsequent European Union Force missions undertaken in the Congo since 2002.
 
For service in Afghanistan, the recipient must have participated in, or, supported operations either in Afghanistan itself, or, in a recognised support area, for example Pakistan or Oman since British forces began operations in Afghanistan in September 2001.
 
When the medal was issued for service outside of Afghanistan, the medal is issued without a clasp. The medal is also awarded to UK civilians employed on Ministry of Defence contracts in support of the British Forces in Afghanistan - in regards to this, the qualifying criteria is the same as HM Forces.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in silver. The obverse of this medal bears the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the inscription; ‘ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FID. DEF.’ (meaning Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith).
 
The Reverse bears the Union Flag, surrounded by the inscription; ‘FOR OPERATIONAL SERVICE’ and the four major points of the compass, with four Coronets; Royal (top left), Naval (top right), Mural-Army (bottom left), and Astral-Royal Air Force (bottom right).
 
The ribbon suspender is of an ornate swiveling style attached to a fastening that surmounts the medal.
 
The recipient's details can be found on the medal's rim in laser engraved capital letters.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon for service in Sierra Leone is 32mm wide and consists of a broad central red stripe, flanked each side by a stripe of navy blue and one of light blue, to represent the three services, with an outer stripe of green to reflect the landscape of Sierra Leone.
 
 
The ribbon for service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is 32mm wide and consists of a broad central red stripe, flanked each side by a stripe of navy blue and one of light blue, to represent the three services, with an outer stripe of ochre, to represent the Congolese landscape
 
 
The ribbon for service in Afghanistan is 32mm wide and consists of a broad central red stripe, flanked each side by a stripe of navy blue and one of light blue, to represent the three services, with an outer stripe of light brown, to represent the Afghan landscape.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
In regards to the Sierra Leone campaign, no bar or clasp was awarded, but those who actually served within mainland Sierra Leone were issued with a ‘rosette’ to be worn on the medal ribbon.
 
In regards to the Democratic Republic of the Congo campaign, every medal that was issued also included a clasp with the inscription; ‘DROC’.
 
In regards to the Afghanistan campaign, there have been three types of 'Afghanistan' clasp issued to date.
 
The first initial issue from 2002-2004, the clasp had a smooth background behind the word; ‘AFGHANISTAN’. Those issued from 'Operation Herrick' onwards (2005 to present), the clasp has a 'dappled' effect behind the writing, similar to the 'Northern Ireland' clasp on the 1962–2007 General Service Medal.
 
A third type of background can be found on 1000 medals awarded during 2009. These were manufactured by Gladman and Norman Limited under a one-off contract to help with increased medal demand.
 
To qualify for the clasp, personnel must have either served 5, 21, or 30 days continuous service between various dates, depending on the operation, for example between 11 September 2001 and 1 August  2002, or for a period later specified, on 'Operation Herrick', 'Veritas', 'Fingal' and 'Landman'.
 
In all three issues of the Operational Service Medal, a Rosette is worn on the ribbon (when worn without the medals) to denote that either a clasp or a medal ribbon rosette has been issued as described in the criteria above.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value */**
 
Operational Service Medal to Corps
£325.00
Operational Service Medal to Regiments
£395.00
Operational Service Medal to R.M.
£450.00
Operational Service Medal to R.A.F.
£400.00
For valuations for medals attached to an attributable group please ‘contact us’.
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
** The individual medal value will vary considerably based on the recipient’s details.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- British Forces During The Sierra Leone Civil War.
- British Forces During The Second Congo War.
- British Forces In Afghanistan.
 
British Forces During The Sierra Leone Civil War - The United Kingdom began a military intervention in Sierra Leone in May 2000 under the codename 'Operation Palliser'. Although small numbers of British personnel had been deployed previously, Palliser was the first large-scale intervention by British forces in the Sierra Leone Civil War.
 
In early May 2000, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) - one of the main parties to the civil war - advanced on the country's capital, Freetown, prompting the British government to dispatch an 'operational reconnaissance and liaison team' (ORLT) to prepare to evacuate foreign citizens. On 6 May, the RUF blocked the road connecting Freetown to the country's main airport, Lungi.
 
The next day, British soldiers began to secure the airport and other areas essential to an evacuation. The majority of those who wished to leave were evacuated within the first two days of the operation, but many chose to stay following the arrival of British forces.
 
After the effective completion of the evacuation, the mandate of the British forces began to expand. They assisted with the evacuation of besieged peacekeepers - including several British ceasefire observers - and began to assist the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the Sierra Leone Army (SLA). Despite the mission expansion, it was not until 17 May that British soldiers came into direct contact with the RUF. The rebels attacked a British position near Lungi airport, but were forced to retreat after a series of firefights. On the same day, the RUF's leader, Foday Sankoh, was captured by Sierra Leonean forces, leaving the RUF in disarray.
 
After deciding that the RUF would not disarm voluntarily, the British began training the SLA for a confrontation. During the training mission, a patrol returning from a visit to Jordanian peacekeepers was taken captive by a militia group known as the West Side Boys. Negotiations achieved the release of five of the eleven soldiers, and three weeks into the crisis, British special forces launched a mission codenamed 'Operation Barras', freeing the remaining six. The success of 'Operation Barras' restored confidence in the British mission; one academic suggested that its failure would have forced the British government to withdraw all its forces from Sierra Leone.
 
The overall British operation was mostly completed by September 2000. The RUF began to disarm after political pressure, and later economic sanctions, were exerted on Liberia - which had supported the RUF in exchange for conflict diamonds smuggled out of Sierra Leone.
 
The Sierra Leonean government eventually signed a ceasefire with the RUF that obliged the latter to enter the Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) process. By September 2001, when the British training teams were replaced by an international force, the DDR process was almost complete.
 
British forces continued to be involved in Sierra Leone by providing the largest contribution of personnel to the international training team and advising on a restructuring of Sierra Leone's armed forces. A small force was deployed to the area in 2003 to ensure stability while several indictments and arrests were made by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The success of British operations in Sierra Leone vindicated several concepts, including the retention of high-readiness forces.
 
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was keen to see Western interventions in other conflicts, and - along with France - supported the creation of several European Union Battlegroups for the purpose. As it happened, political opposition and later British commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq prevented further British operations in Africa.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
British Forces During The Second Congo War - The Second Congo War (also known as the Great War of Africa) began in August 1998, little more than a year after the First Congo War and involving some of the same issues, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power. However, hostilities have continued since then in the ongoing Lord's Resistance Army insurgency, and the Kivu and Ituri conflicts.
 
The deadliest war in modern African history, it has directly involved nine African nations, as well as about 20 armed groups. By 2008, the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighbouring countries.
 
Despite a formal end to the war in July 2003 and an agreement by the former belligerents to create a government of national unity, 1,000 people died daily in 2004 from easily preventable cases of malnutrition and disease. The war and the conflicts afterwards, including the Kivu conflict and Ituri conflict, were driven by, among other things, the trade in conflict minerals.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
British Forces In Afghanistan - 'Operation Herrick' is the codename under which all British operations in the War in Afghanistan have been conducted since 2002. It consists of the British contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and support to the American-led 'Operation Enduring Freedom' (OEF). Since 2003, 'Operation Herrick' has increased in size and breadth to match ISAF's growing geographical intervention in Afghanistan.
 
'Operation Herrick' superseded two previous efforts in Afghanistan. The first of these was 'Operation Veritas', which consisted of support to the War in Afghanistan in October 2001. The last major action of this was a sweep in east Afghanistan by 1,700 Royal Marines during 'Operation Jacana', which ended in mid-2002.
 
The second was 'Operation Fingal', which involved leadership and a 2,000 strong contribution for a newly formed ISAF in Kabul after December 2001. Command was subsequently transferred to Turkey several months later and the British contingent was scaled back to 300. Since then, all operations in Afghanistan have been conducted under 'Operation Herrick'.
 
In December 2012 Prime Minister David Cameron announced that 3,800 troops - almost half of the force serving in Helmand Province - would be withdrawn during 2013 with numbers to fall to approximately 5,200.
 
Combat operations are projected to end in 2014. Between 2001 and 23 December 2013 a total of 447 British military personnel have died on operations in Afghanistan.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.