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Virtual Museum of Canada

The Air Force Medal

The Air Force Medal Origin and History

The Air Force Medal The Air Force Medal (AFM) was established by King George V on his birthday, 3 June 1918. The Air Force Medal is awarded to non-commissioned officers and men for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying, through not in active operations against the enemy.

A bar is awarded for any additional act (or acts) of valour outside of active operations, which would have warranted the AFM. A straight slip-on silver bar was awarded for a further act that would have warranted the medal. The year of the award is engraved on the back of the bar.

The medal displays an oval, silver medal, 1.375 inches wide and 1.625 inches long.

The obverse of the medal displays an effigy of King George V, King George VI or Queen Elizabeth II, depending on the year it was issued. The King George V Medal shows a bareheaded coinage effigy, facing left, and the legend: Georgeivs VI D: G: BR: OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:. The Queen Elizabeth II Medal shows a bareheaded effigy, facing right, with the legend: Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina Fid: DEF:.

On the reverse of the medal, within a wreath of laurel, Hermes (facing right) is shown, mounted on a hawk in flight and bestowing a wreath. The date 1918 appears behind Hermes on the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Medals.

A bomb is attached to the clasp and ribbon by two wings. The ribbon is 1.25 inches wide, and consists of alternate red and white striped (0.0625 [1/16]" wide) leaning 45 degrees to the left. A red stripe is to appear in the bottom left and upper right corners when viewed on the wearer's chest; until 1919, the stripes were horizontal.

The medal is engraved with the service number, rank, initials, surname and service of the recipient. The engraving was very crude due to the convex nature of the edge of the medals. During WWI the medal was impressed.

Summary of Canadians Awarded the Air Force Medal.
  RCAF Serving in RAF RAAF and RNZAF Serving in RCAF
Medal Bar Medal Bar
WWI 0 0 1 0 0
WWII 32 0 3 0 0
Korea 2 0 0 0 0
Post War 2 0 0 0 0