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WW2 Awards - Badges - Medals and understanding them


Hi chaps - I'm still on with searching out my fathers WW2 naval trail, I seem to be piecing it together albeit slowly.
Now I am on the case so to speak I am going through all the nooks and crannies throughout dads belongings which over the years have been decimated and scattered all over 2 houses - cant believe what you discover in old Co-Co & OXO tins!

Two things I have found:

I have uncovered a grubby torn off piece of paper which says on it 'Awarded 2 chevrons' also says 'KMVQ 435.3' - what do these signify? - Chevrons I presume are stripes? - would this have been a physical award which I have to look for or just some type of merit award which is just a written one?

Then a tatty 2ins thin strip of paper which has a heading of: Good conduct badges and Medal, underneath reads: 1st - Granted
With this am I searching for a badge or a medal?

Again please remember that this is pertaining to the WW2 period as I know that some of the 'post war' equivalents mean something different.

Many thanks (again)


Book Reviewer
Granted 1st good conduct stripe - would have been given after four years good conduct as a Rating.

It might be easier if you keep all of your queries in the same thread


Granted 1st good conduct stripe - would have been given after four years good conduct as a Rating.

It might be easier if you keep all of your queries in the same thread

janner I thought of combining them but as its dealing with something different I didn't want any possible explanations to merge all into one and confuse me even more - I'm easily confused!

Do you class a stripe as a badge in this case?


Book Reviewer
I think its better together, then its easy to refer back.

Have a look at this

Fairly well down it refers to Good conduct badges, they would vary in colour depending on the Uniform being worn, if you think of an Army Lance Corporal's stripe that's what it looks like, one for every four years of undetected crime up to a maximum of three. There was a small payment for each one, but more importantly had a reduction value if one was being sentenced to cells. From memory one badge was 7 days off of the sentence, a Leadng Hands hookwas worth 14 days and a Petty Officers crossed hooks was worth 28 days if I'm wrong someone will no doubt correct me.


War Hero
Super Moderator
Bit confused why one piece of paper would have awarded 2 chevrons and the second as awarded first. As far as I'm aware the RN have never referred to Good Conduct Badges as "chevrons", they've always been known as badges, badgemen as stripeys occasionally, and written as GCB's


Book Reviewer
Wrecks, I'm having similar thoughts and wonder if the OP has go confused, a lot of the paperwork he refers to indicates that his relative was a Rating, that's why I suggested that he puts all queries into one thread. The chevrons comment doesn't help, usually an army thing, but maybe the Booties use the term.


Book Reviewer
I can't remember, I know he was HO so it would be doubtful, but I can't be arsed to keep looking for the other threads to check back on things, I'm now wondering if he was a rating and as such Navigators Yeoman.


War Hero
Sea Service Chevrons. In May 1918 the Secretary of the Admiralty announced the conditions for the award to members of the Royal Navy and the other marine services of chevrons for service at sea and overseas.
They will be awarded to denote services overseas, or at sea undertaken since August 4, 1914, and are to be worn in uniform.
Service overseas and at sea is defined as service at sea in sea-going ships of war, auxiliaries, in defensively armed merchant ships as guns’ crews, and those employed in minesweeping. Officers and men of the late R.N. Air Service who, although serving in the United Kingdom, were liable for service in the air for offensive or defensive purposes, may count such service as qualifying service. Service in kite balloons when embarked in ships will also count.
The date for the award of the first chevron will be August 5, 1914, in the case of those serving at sea or abroad on that date. In other cases the date on which the individual began or begins qualifying service as defined - for example, an individual who began qualifying service on December 31, 1915, is entitled to his first chevron on that date.
Additional chevrons are to be awarded as follows:-
(a) From January 1, 1915, to December 31, 1917, inclusive, on a calendar year basis, that is, one chevron and not more than one for each of the years 1915, 1916, and 1917. The individual must have an aggregate of three months' qualifying service in the calendar year to entitle him to the award for that year.
1914 Silver Chevron The chevrons will be ¼ in. in width, the arms 1¼ in. long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm. Chevrons for officers will be of silver or gold braid. The first chevron, if earned on or before December 31, 1914, will be silver; if earned on or after January 1, 1915, it will be gold, and all additional chevrons after the first will be gold. The silver chevron will be worn below the gold one. For ratings they will be of worsted embroidery of two colours - red and blue. The first chevron, if carried on or before December 31, 1914, will be red; if earned on or after January 1, 1915 it will be blue; and all additional chevrons after the first will be blue.
In the case of officers they are to be worn on the blue undress coat only.
The chevrons are a distinction to be worn on uniform to denote service at sea or overseas since the outbreak of war, and are not to be regarded as being in the nature of a reward. There will, therefore, be no posthumous award to fallen officers or men. The chevrons may be worn in plain clothes by officers and men who have left the Service, but who would, had they remained in the Service, have been entitled to wear them on uniform. In such cases, application for authority to wear the chevrons must be made.
War Badges Abolished in the Navy. 24 Nov 1922, since most medals for war service have now been issued, service chevrons, wound stripes, and silver war badges were no longer to be worn in uniform.

Courtesy of Godfrey Dykes. Service Chevrons.pdf


Chevrons for War Service.

16. Following are the arrangements relating to the continuance of the service qualification for Chevrons for war service. In the Navy, Army, Air Force and Merchant Navy, anywhere, full time service after the 8th May, 1945, the date of the end of active hostilities in Europe and up to the end of active hostilities in the Pacific will continue to be a qualification for Chevrons. In Civil Defence services Chevrons will no longer be earned after the 8th May, 1945, except in the Pacific area. There, such service in territories subjected to aerial bombardment or closely threatened will continue to qualify for Chevrons. Part-time military service in the Pacific, but not elsewhere, will continue to be reckoned towards the award of Chevrons until the end of active hostilities in the Pacific area. In some instances, part-time service in the Forces or Civil Defence service will cease to qualify before the 8th May, 1945. This has been the case in, for instance, the United Kingdom Home Guard.

Courtesy of British Guide to Campaign Medals.
The official published statement on the WW2 Stars and the Defence medal & other awards, including Chevrons. (Scroll to bottom of the page on the link below).

The above WW2 Medal list link might help you in your search regarding your fathers RN awards.

Edited to add: A good conduct badge = Chevron/Stripe, it would be sewn on, a Medal, is just that, a medal.
Last edited:


War Hero
Super Moderator
Every days a school day SP, thanks for that, I'm now going to have to trawl through all my books to see if I can find some examples :(


Thank you ‘all’ and once again sorry for seemingly making it a bit awkward in starting a different thread.

I think it best if I briefly write down ‘all’ the info I have regarding my father’s Naval trail, this may address some of the questions asked. This info is from personal letters he wrote to his parents at the time (which have been kept in a bundle) and snippets of paperwork and artefacts I have recently found, along with his 2nd wife’s memories on my own.

Volunteered in RN end of 1940 - letter to parents from Skegness I presume as a normal seaman?

At some stage he was in the Patrol Service and received the A/S & M/S silver badge award

I have a formal photo showing upper body but not showing the cuffs or side of the arms, but identified as a Petty officer due to his cap badge and jacket he is wearing – date?

I have a photo of him, June 1943 in Charleston USA as an officer posing with 2 seamen in their ‘square rig’ uniform, the photo is poor quality and they are in the middle distance so it is difficult to distinguish any ‘markings’. I can make out on the right arm on one seaman what looks like a 3 bladed propeller with a ‘dot’ in between two blades. My father is in a light coloured uniform which you can just make out has epaulettes, but not what’s on them, the bottom of his arms are obscured.

He had said to me his primary role was in Navigation

His 2nd wife ‘thinks’ she recollects seeing a letter referring to him as ‘Flags’ but this seems now to be questionable?

He was invalided out of the RN April 1947 (initially thought 1946) – according to a ‘found’ Chatham form

I remember many years ago ‘mum’ gradually disposing of quite a lot of his ‘bulky’ gear, duffel coat, Black tin helmet, Pith helmet, great coat, full uniform which had gold braid on the sleeves (can’t remember how many bands but more than one)

I have:
Red junior rating cap insignia
Petty officer cap insignia
Officers cap insignia

1939 – 1945 star
Atlantic star
Arctic star
War medal 1935-1945
France and Germany clasp

I have uncovered a grubby torn off piece of paper which has the heading of ‘Nature of Decoration - Awarded 2 chevrons' it also says under same heading 'KMVQ 435.3'
This now looks as if it is for length of service?

I also have a second tatty 2ins thin strip of paper which has the heading of: Good conduct badges and Medal
This reads: 1st - Granted

It’s certainly tricky trying to understand and piece together his RN time in WW2, I may have got as far as I can, looks like there will be some things that are just are confusing.

I will no doubt possibly uncover other bits as time goes on?


War Hero
Super Moderator
If he served from 1940 - 1946 he would have had one Good Conduct Badge, if he was awarded that he wouldn't have become an officer until after the award, as officers don't get GCB's.

The photo showing the ratings arm badge is that of a stoker, 1st class as shown on janners link at post #4



If he served from 1940 - 1946 he would have had one Good Conduct Badge, if he was awarded that he wouldn't have become an officer until after the award, as officers don't get GCB's.

The photo showing the ratings arm badge is that of a stoker, 1st class as shown on janners link at post #4

View attachment 14475

What was the criteria for a GCB? and he must have received this early on then.

Leading Stoker - that looks like it from what I can make out.

How do I see the battleships-cruisers link with HMS Tiger - as when I click on the link it takes me to just a title page?


War Hero
Super Moderator
For the link, on the title page select United Kingdom from the nations listed, then select Battleships from the ship selection, scroll down until you get to HMS Tiger, click on that and the photgraph is halfway down the page.

Criteria for a GCB was 4 years good conduct from the age of 18 or whenever you joined if you were over 18 on joining, (17 1/2 nowadays)with no major charges brought against you, same for the subsequent badges, commonly known as badges for undetected crime. You could have minor infractions against you but it wouldn't neccesarily stop you getting the badge. If you subsequently were a naughty boy you could lose the badges, you could also be stood over for one until your behaviour improved, I was stood over for 3 months for my first one but the runs ashore that caused it were well worth it :)


So a puzzling thing then - if he joined 1940 and the GCB is for 4 years, how is there a photo of him in officer uniform in June 1943? - was this for a shorter period back then do you think, that would explain it?


Book Reviewer
As far as I know its always been 4 years for GCB's. Best await his records then post them so it can be explained.


What form did the GCB take, was it an actual badge?

Got to the HMS Tiger photo re: the Chevrons, I've never come across or seen anything like those, so are we saying that each Chevron = 1 year service at that time?

What the heck is a 'KMVQ 435.3'?
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