Korean War Medals Home Page

Medals Index - A Catalgoue of Decorations and Campaign Medals
Issued By United Nations To United Nations Forces
For The Korean War 1950 - 1954

Home Page  United Nations Unofficial Medals About Us Contact Us

Korean War Medals issued by United Nations

UNITED NATIONS SERVICE MEDAL FOR KOREA

The general Assembly of the United Nations had called upon its member nations to provide troops for the purpose of repelling the North Korean invasion of the Republic of Korea. Detachments of the armed forces of several nations were serving, in response to this call, in combat in Korea. So on 12 December 1950, on the proposal of the Philippine Delegation, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 483(V), the United Nations Korea Medal was authorised.

Three styles of United Nations Service medals were issued for Korea, these were-

UNITED NATIONS MEDAL for service in Korea - Standard issue.

Obverse: Circular with the emblem of the United Nations, a 22mm diameter raised polar projection map of the world, encircled by two olive branches - the traditional symbol of peace.
Reverse: Perfectly plain except for the inscription" FOR SERVICE IN DEFENCE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS " in one of ten languages dependent on the coinage of the medal.1 (See Below)
Coinage: The medal was struck in 10 languages as requested by the participating member nations.
AMHARIC - For issue to the Ethiopian troops, with the inscription on the rear (on four lines) and the bar " " (Korea in Amharic.) 5,650 issued.
DUTCH - For issue to the troops of the Netherlands,with the inscription on the rear (on six lines) and the bar "KOREE", (Korea in Dutch.) 5,795 issued.
ENGLISH - This version was issued to troops of Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. The inscription on the rear (on 5 lines) and the bar "KOREA". 2,761,732 issued.
FRENCH - This was awarded to personnel of Belgium, Canada (French-Canadians), France and Luxembourg with the inscription on the rear (on four lines) and the bar "COREE", (Korea in French.) 16,851 issued.
GREEK - For issue to Greek troops with the inscription on the rear (on six lines) and the bar "KOPEA", (Korea in Greek.) 9,000 issued.
ITALIAN - For the Italian non-combatant units with the inscription on the rear(on five lines) and the bar "COREA", (Korea in Italian.) 131 issued.
KOREAN - For the Armed Forces of the Republic of Korea with the inscription on the rear (on three lines) and the bar " ", (Korea in Korean.) 1,222,000 issued.
SPANISH - For the Colombian troops with the inscription on the rear(on six lines) and the bar "COREA", (Korea in Spanish.) 1,300 issued.
THAI - For issue to the troops of Thailand (Siam), with the inscription on the rear (on three lines) and the bar "", (Korea in Thai.) 10,648 issued.
TURKISH - For issue to the Turkish troops with, the inscription on the rear (on four lines) and the bar "KORE", (Korea in Turkish.) 33,696 issued.
Size 35mm diameter, and 2mm thick.
Ribbon 34mm wide, with seventeen alternate 2mm stripes, 9 of United Nations blue and 8 white. The ribbon is un-watered.

Other ribbon variants are-

The ribbon issued with American manufactured medals is made of silk and is edged.

Dutch and some Danish coinage medals were mounted with ribbon only 28mm wide.

Turks are known to have privately replaced the ribbon on their UN Korea medals with a plain red ribbon.
Suspension Struck in one piece with a claw and straight non-swivelling suspension bar. Above this is a narrow bar over which the ribbon passes, the inscribed bar of the medal, and an upper bar.
Composition Bronze alloy.
Designer Unsigned, but designed within the United Nations.
Manufacturer Originally manufactured by Administration Des Monnaies in Paris, and later by Medallic Arts in New York City, and Stabilimenti Artistide Fiorentini in Italy.
Naming Normally issued unnamed, but medals issued to Australian, Canadian (English and French coinages), New Zealand and South African personnel were issued named.
No. of Clasps One - " KOREA " an integral part of the suspension. It was anticipated that this medal would be issued with different bars for later UN actions.

Other Emblems Bronze oak leaf – A single bronze oak leaf emblem is worn on the ribbon by those personnel who are not entitled to The British Korea Medal but are either mentioned in despatches or awarded a Kings or Queens Commendation.
Brooch The standard American pinback broach.
No. Issued Approximately 4,068,000 of all types. (See coinage details above.)
Instituted In accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 483(V), the United Nations Korea Medal was authorised. It was issued by the Secretary General on 25 September 1951, in recognition of the valour and sacrifice of the men and women who have served on behalf of the United Nations in repelling the aggression in Korea.
Qualification Awarded to all members of land, sea or air forces of quasi-military units, or members of the armed forces of Korea, despatched to Korea or adjacent areas for service on behalf of the United Nations by states participating in the UN action in Korea. There was no restriction as to rank, sex or nationality, but all awards were subject to approval by the national governments concerned. Posthumous awards were authorised. No privileges were bestowed by this medal. The period of service for eligibility of the medal is given as thirty but one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27June 1950 and 27 July 19532. (See Below)
Variants Although the standard UN Korea medals was produced in 10 different coinages, the following variants exist to these medals:-

ENGLISH - The size of the letters of the inscription on the rear of the standard 35mm diameter United Nations Korea medal was 2mm on the first type and 1.5mm on the rarer second type.

SPANISH - An unofficial privately produced version was made in the 1970's. The reverse is a literal translation from English to Spanish and the clasp reads "KOREA".

1 "DEFENCE" is in the British spelling, as used by the U.N. The wording is taken from the resolution of the General Assembly establishing the medal.
2 Extended to 1 January 1954 in the case of the Netherlands and 27 July 1955 in the case of Sweden and Thailand.

UNITED NATIONS MEDAL for service in Korea - Belgium issue.

Obverse Circular with a 1mm wide raised rim with the emblem of the United Nations, a 23.5mm diameter, flats polar projection map of the world, encircled by two olive branches (the traditional symbol of peace) and with the name of the engraver "J.DEMART.51” on the bottom right.
Reverse A 1mm raised rim and perfectly plain except for the inscription in French" POUR LADEFENSE / DES PRINCIPES DE / LA CHARTE DES / NATIONS UNIES “ in 2mm high letters on four lines.
Size 37mm diameter, and 2.5mm thick.
Ribbon 37mm wide, with seventeen alternate stripes, 9 of United Nations blue and 8 white.
Suspension The ribbon is threaded through a 15mm diameter ring, which passes through a spherical loop fixed to the top of the medal. The ring will move forwards and backwards but not sideways.
Composition Bronze.
Designer J.D. Demart.
Manufacturer Manufactured by Fibru and De Greef in Brussels.
Naming Issued unnamed
No. of Clasps 1 - Bronze, slide on type 38mm long and 5mm deep with the inscription in relief of 3mm "COREE-COREA" - All volunteers of the Battalion Belge who qualified for the medal are entitled to this clasp.
Other Emblems None.
No. Issued Not known.
Instituted This was originally an unofficial private purchase medal but later became the official issue to Belgium personnel.
Qualification For Belgium personnel one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953.

THE UNITED NATIONS SERVICE MEDAL, French issue

Obverse

Circular, with the emblem of the United Nations, a raised polar projection map of the world, encircled by two olive branches, (the traditional symbol of peace).

Reverse

A 0.5mm raised rim and perfectly plain except for the inscription in French ‘POUR LA DEFENSE / DES PRINCIPES DE / LA CHARTE DES / NATIONS UNIES’ in 2mm high letters on four lines.

Size 35mm diameter, and 2mm thick.
Ribbon

34mm wide, with seventeen alternate 2mm stripes of United Nations blue (9) and white (8).

Suspension

Struck in one piece with a claw and straight non-swivelling suspension bar. Above this is a narrow bar over which the ribbon passes, the inscribed bar of the medal, and an upper bar.

Composition Bronze alloy.
Designer Unsigned, but designed within the United Nations.
Manufacturer Manufactured by Fibru and De Greef in Brussels.
Naming Issued unnamed
No. of Clasps

One, an integral part of the suspension. ‘COREE’ - (KOREA) in French, All volunteers of the Battalion Belge who qualified for the medal are entitled to this clasp.

Other Emblems None.
No. Issued Not known.
Instituted

By the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 483(V) on 12 December 1950 in recognition of the valour and sacrifice of the men and women who have served on behalf of the United Nations in repelling the aggression in Korea.

Qualification

For Belgium personnel one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953.

For French personnel one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953.

For French Canadian personnel service under United Nations command in Korea
or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950
and 24th July 1954. All officers and other ranks of the French Canadian Forces
the eligibility of those units were published in General Orders by the United
Nations Commander-in-Chief, and served one day or more. Members of specially
approved civilian categories who were certified by the United Nations
Commander-in-Chief as having directly supported military operations in Korea,
providing they wore the approved uniform of their organisation and served one or
more days. This included:-

(1) Cable and Wireless Detachments.
(2) Canadian Red Cross.
(3) Salvation Army, YMCA and WVS.

French coinage UN Medal only issued when requested by Francophone
recipients.

THE UNITED NATIONS SERVICE MEDAL, 1st Spanish issue

Obverse

Circular, with the emblem of the United Nations, a raised polar projection map of the world, encircled by two olive branches, (the traditional symbol of peace).

Reverse TO BE ADDED
Size 35mm diameter, and 2mm thick.
Ribbon

34mm wide, with seventeen alternate 2mm stripes of United Nations blue (9) and white (8).

Suspension

Struck in one piece with a claw and straight non-swivelling suspension bar. Above this is a narrow bar over which the ribbon passes, the inscribed bar of the medal, and an upper bar.

Composition Bronze alloy.
Designer Unsigned, but designed within the United Nations.
Manufacturer Manufactured by Fibru and De Greef in Brussels.
Naming Issued unnamed
No. of Clasps

One, an integral part of the suspension. ‘COREE’ - (KOREA) in French, All volunteers of the Battalion Belge who qualified for the medal are entitled to this clasp.

Other Emblems None.
No. Issued Not known.
Instituted

By the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 483(V) on 12 December1950 in recognition of the valour and sacrifice of the men and women who have served on behalf of the United Nations in repelling the aggression in Korea.

Qualification

For Belgium personnel one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953.

THE UNITED NATIONS SERVICE MEDAL, 2nd Spanish issue

Obverse

Circular, with the emblem of the United Nations, a raised polar projection map of the world, encircled by two olive branches, (the traditional symbol of peace).

Reverse TO BE ADDED
Size 35mm diameter, and 2mm thick.
Ribbon

34mm wide, with seventeen alternate 2mm stripes of United Nations blue (9) and white (8).

Suspension

Struck in one piece with a claw and straight non-swivelling suspension bar. Above this is a narrow bar over which the ribbon passes, the inscribed bar of the medal, and an upper bar.

Composition Bronze alloy.
Designer Unsigned, but designed within the United Nations.
Manufacturer Manufactured by Fibru and De Greef in Brussels.
Naming Issued unnamed
No. of Clasps

One, an integral part of the suspension. ‘COREE’ - (KOREA) in French, All volunteers of the Battalion Belge who qualified for the medal are entitled to this clasp.

Other Emblems None.
No. Issued Not known.
Instituted

By the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 483(V) on 12 December1950 in recognition of the valour and sacrifice of the men and women who have served on behalf of the United Nations in repelling the aggression in Korea.

Qualification

For Belgium personnel one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953.

UNITED NATIONS MEDAL for service in Korea - Tagalog issue.

Obverse Plain and rimless except for a21mm diameter convexed polar projection map of the world encircled by two olive branches, the whole being slightly above centre of the medal.
Reverse Plain except for the inscription in Tagalog" SA PAGLILINGKOD / UPANG IPAGTANGGOL / ANG MGA SIMULAIN / NG SALIGANG / KASULATAN NG / MGA BANSANG / NAGKAKAISA " in 2mm high letters on seven lines.
Size 40mm diameter, and 2mm thick.
Ribbon 36mm wide edged silk, with seventeen alternate stripes, 9 of United Nations blue and 8 white. The outer stripes being 3mm wide and the rest 2mm.
Suspension The medal was surmounted directly by a large wide based bar, with a slot for the ribbon across the top.
Composition Toned lacquered bronze alloy.
Designer Not known.
Manufacturer El Oro of Quezon.
Naming Issued unnamed.
No. of Clasps 1 - " KOREA " - An integral part of the suspension. The clasp being 35.5mm wide and 5mm deep. The letters are 4mm high.
Other Emblems None.
No. Issued Not known, trial striking only.
Instituted Although the Philippine Government requested and received medals of the English language coinage, a trial striking was made of this unofficial medal in Tagalog.
Qualification For Filipino personnel one day's service under United Nations command in Korea or the adjacent areas, which included Japan and Okinawa, between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953.