Armed Forces to receive new Wider Service Medal

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A new medal to broaden the recognition of service personnel carrying out operational roles has been announced.

The Wider Service Medal will be awarded to personnel delivering crucial operational impact, where the physical risk to life is lower than traditionally required for an operational medal.

Royal Navy personnel deployed on the UK’s continuous at sea nuclear deterrent, soldiers deployed as part of the UK’s reassurance to the people of Estonia and RAF pilots and ground crew deployed to Estonia and Romania on Nato air policing patrol will all be eligible for the award.

The first medals will be presented in early summer and will be awarded retrospectively to personnel who’ve been deployed on ongoing operations since December 2018.

The medal is being introduced to recognise the changing nature of operational activity, whereby personnel are increasingly deployed or used to deliver operational impact but not necessarily in roles that expose them to physical risk, the MOD said.

This activity does not fall within the traditional operational medal criteria that still relies on ‘risk and rigour’.

The medal will be given to those who have accrued 180 days of aggregated service on eligible operations.

This means a standard deployment of six months, with two weeks rest and recuperation, would not qualify for the medal.

Subsequent service of 180 days will result in the award of a bar to the medal – up to a maximum of three bars. 

Royal Navy personnel who have deployed as part of the continuous at sea nuclear deterrent will be eligible for the medal
Royal Navy personnel who have deployed as part of the continuous at sea nuclear deterrent will be eligible for the medal (Picture: MOD)

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our modern Armed Forces are among the best in the world and do incredible work across the globe. 

“The Wider Service Medal recognises the wide range of roles our personnel play in ensuring success on operations.  

“It also recognises the ever-changing nature of warfare, underlining the importance of operations which deter adversaries in a pre-war world.”   

The design of the medal features a Tudor Crown, symbolising the Sovereign, directional arrows depicting reach across the world and a Laurel Wreath that symbolises service and achievement.

Surrounding the Tudor Crown on the front of the medal are the words, “for wider service”.

The ribbon has a central stripe of purple, with four narrow stripes on either side featuring the colours, white, light blue, dark blue and green.

The ribbon is designed to reflect the joint cross-Government nature of operations (purple), on land (green), on the sea (dark blue) and in the air (light blue).