The medal was authorised in 1919 to commemorate the victory of the Allies over the Central Powers. It was resolved that each of the Allies should issue a ‘Victory Medal’ to their own nationals so to prevent a mass exchange of commemorative awards between the nations. It was further resolved that all the issues would have as a common feature the figure of Victory upon the obverse. The issue of the Victory Medal was optional and in the event the following countries issued medals: Great Britain, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Thailand, Union of South Africa and United States of America.
Eligibility for the British Victory Medal was as follows:
The medal was granted to the undermentioned who were mobilized and gave service at sea between midnight 4th-5th August 1914 and midnight 11th-12th November 1918 or who were on the establishment of a unit within a theatre of operation (see below).
a) officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Indian Marine, Royal Naval Reserve , Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Royal Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve and all Dominion and Colonial Naval Forces.
b) Mercantile Marine officers and men serving in HM commissioned ships and auxiliaries under Special Naval Engagements.
c) Officers and enrolled members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
d) Members of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service and the Royal Naval Nursing Service Reserves.
e) Canteen staffs serving in the ship of war at sea.
The medal was granted to the undermentioned who actually served on the establishment of a unit within a theatre of war within the specified dates.
a) Officers and men of the British, Dominion, Colonial and Indian Forces.
b) Members of women’s formations who were enrolled under a direct contract of service for service with His Majesty’s Imperial forces.
c) All who served on the staffs of military hospitals, and all members of the recognised organisations who handled the sick and wounded.
ROYAL AIR FORCE
The medal was granted to the undermentioned officers and men.
a) Those who served in a unit within a theatre of war within specified dates.
b) Those who served with an operational unit in a British Isles or overseas and who were actively engaged in the air against the enemy.
c) Those who flew new planes from Britain to France.
d) Those who formed part of the complement of an aircraft-carrying ship.
Theatre of Operations:
Western European Theatre
a) France and Belgium, between midnight August 4th-5th 1914, and midnight November 11th-12th 1918.
b) Italy, between midnight April 17th-18th 1917, and midnight November 4th-5th 1918.
a) Greek Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and European Turkey, between midnight October 4th-5th 1915, and November 11th-12th 1918.
b) Gallipoli and Islands of Aegean Sea, between midnight April 24th-25th 1915, and midnight January 9th-10th 1916.
All operations in Russia from midnight August 4th-5th 1914.
a) In Egypt, between midnight November 4th-5th 1914, and midnight March 18th-19th 1916. (Excluding operations for which the Sultan’s Sudan Medal was awarded.)
b) Conducted by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, between midnight March 18th-19th 1916, and midnight October 31st – November 1st 1918. (Excluding operations for which the Sultan’s Sudan Medal was awarded.)
All operations except local military operations against native tribes or rebels for which the Africa General Service Medal was awarded.
a) In British, German and Portuguese East Africa, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, between midnight August 19th-20th 1914, and midnight November 25th-26th 1918.
b) In German South-West Africa and on the adjacent borders of the Union of South Africa, between midnight August 19th-20th 1914, and midnight July 9th-10th 1915.
c) In the Cameroons and on the Eastern and Northern Frontiers of Nigeria, between midnight August 23rd-24th 1914, and midnight February 18th-19th 1916.
d) In Nigeria, between midnight January 4th-5th 1917, and midnight May 15th-16th 1917.
e) In Togoland, between midnight August 6th-7th 1914, and midnight August 26th-27th 1914.
a) In Hedjaz, between midnight November 4th-5th 1914, and midnight January 13th-14th 1919.
b) In Mesopotamia, from midnight November 5th-6th 1914.
c) In Persia and the Persian Gulf, from midnight November 5th-6th 1914.
d) In Trans-Caspia, from midnight July 18th-19th 1918.
e) At Shaik Said (South-West Arabia), on November 10th and 11th 1914; and at Perim on June 14th and 15th 1915.
f) Conducted by the Aden Field Force, between midnight July 2nd-3rd 1915, and midnight January 13th-14th 1919.
g) In the frontier regions of India, carried out by forces which actually took the field between August 5th 1914, and October 31st 1918.
h) At Tsing-Tau, between midnight September 22nd-23rd 1914, and midnight November 7th-8th 1914.
All operations against the German Pacific Dependencies.
a) New Britain, from midnight September 10th-11th 1914, to midnight September 21st-22nd 1914.
b) New Ireland, from midnight September 15th-16th 1914, to midnight October 18th-19th 1914.
c) Kaiser Wilhelmland, on September 24th 1914.
d) Admiralty Islands on November 21st 1914.
e) Nauru, on November 6th 1914.
f) German Samoa, on August 29th 1914.
Approximately 5,725,000 British Victory Medals were issued. All recipients of the British Victory Medal received the War Medal; all recipients of the 1914 and 1914-15 Stars received the War and Victory Medals. Recipients of the War Medal were not automatically entitled to the Victory Medal.
Those who were mentioned in dispatches between 4th August 1914, and 10th August 1920, were allowed to wear an oak leaf on the ribbon. The leaf worn on the ribbon with the medal is slightly larger than that worn on the riband bar when the medal is not worn. In the rare cases when the recipients of a ‘Mention in Dispatches’ did not receive a Victory Medal, or the British War Medal, the emblem is worn on the jacket. Only one emblem could be worn no matter how many times a person was mentioned in dispatches.