The 1914 Star

The 1914 Star, often referred to as the ‘Mons Star’ or ‘Pip’, was authorised by King George V in November 1917 and was awarded to officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who served in France or Belgium between 5 August 1914, the day after the outbreak of World War One, and midnight of 22 November 1914, the end of the First Battle of Ypres. The medal was also awarded to medical staff within the BEF, including a small number nurses and auxiliaries, and members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Navy Reserve and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who served ashore with the Royal Naval Division during the period. The majority of recipients were regular soldiers of the pre-war British Army, including the famous ‘Old Contemptibles’, who took part in the early stages of the First World War and helped stem the German advance following the Retreat from Mons.

The 1914 Star is cast from bright bronze metal and features a four pointed star ensigned with a crown, oak wreath and crossed gladius. Scrolls bearing the legends ‘1914’, ‘Aug’ and ‘Nov’ are placed centrally over the crossed blades with the cypher of King George V at the base of the oak wreath. The reverse of the medal is plain and was engraved with the recipient’s service number, rank, name and unit. A clasp carrying the inscription ‘5th AUG. – 22nd NOV. 1914’ was instituted in 1919 for individuals who had served under fire or who had operated within range of German artillery during that period. Those eligible for the clasp were also entitled to wear a small silver rose on the red, white and blue tri-colour ribbon when it was worn without the medal. Approximately 378,000 1914 Stars were eventually issued, with around 145,000 qualifying recipients also choosing to claim the clasp and rose. The 1914 Star was never issued alone and the recipient had to have also qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal – which together were colloquially referred to as ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’.