Frequently Asked Questions

This year marks the 102nd anniversary of Australian and New Zealand forces landing at the Gallipoli peninsula on 25 April 1915. Since then Anzac Day has been a day of remembrance on which we commemorate all those who have sacrificed so much in conflicts since that fateful day – especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their nation.

Because of the significance of Anzac day, it is encouraging to see the growing participation of Australians, both young and old, many of whom have served themselves or wish to honour the service of their kin. Proudly wearing your own service medals or those of your ancestors is one of the most appropriate ways in which to commemorate and celebrate the Anzac Spirit.

Since military medals are usually regarded as family heirlooms, many of us may be vaguely aware of medals stashed away in cupboards and drawers for safekeeping, knowing little about their significance or how to wear and display them appropriately. Here are some frequently asked questions about wearing your ancestor’s medals on Anzac Day:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are medals awarded for?

Medals are awarded to combatants and non-combatants in recognition of specific deeds (such as those for gallantry or bravery) and service in a specific place (such as campaign medals) or for a certain length of time (such as long service awards).

What is the piece of fabric attached the medal?

A medal consists of two parts, namely the medal itself and a ribbon from which it is suspended. The medal ribbon is usually multi-coloured, with the colours themselves often having symbolic meaning. Each medal has a distinctive and unique ribbon.

How do I know which medal goes in what order?

Medals are to be worn in a specific order, called the order of wear. The most senior medals are worn first.

How can I attach medals to each other to wear or display?

When more than one medal is worn, they should ideally be mounted together. Mounting medals not only keeps them together and in the correct order, but also presents the medals neatly with due recognition to their significance. You can choose to have medals swing mounted or court mounted.

Can I wear my relative’s medals?

Yes, you may. When wearing your family member or ancestor’s medals in commemoration of their service, they should be worn on the right breast on appropriate occasions, such as Anzac Day.

How do I know what medals my relative was entitled to?

You can lodge an application with the Honours and Awards office of the Department of Defence. The application can be completed online. Alternatively, if you know their service number of full names, you can research your relative’s military service through the digitised records of the National Archives of Australia’s website.

I don’t know what happened to my medals, can I get replacements?

Original medals are generally only replaced once by the Department of Defence. However, you can order replica medals through the Military Shop to replace lost or stolen medals.

At the Military Shop we offer a specialised medal mounting service. We are also able to provide information and advice regarding your medals, their ribbons and ordering replica medals. If you would like to get your medals ready for wear or display on Anzac day, visit our website for information on placing orders online, or visit our Canberra store where our knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you in person.

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