Quick Guide to Mounting and Wearing Medals
The wearing of Medals and awards is difficult to cover as it is complicated. The main questions that we are frequently asked about are covered below, however, these are not the definitive answers:
Medals are worn by hanging on the left breast from a single bar (up to a maximum of 5, or 3 for the Navy) or on a rectangular frame if Court Mounted.
Court Mounted is where the medals are also backed by the ribbons and the medals can be overlapping which allows more medals on the bar and can help keep the medals still, the eldest medal should be the one fully showing when they are overlapped. Mounted using either way the medal mounting bar or frame is covered by the medal ribbons, Court Mounting usually costs at least 50% more that of side by side (swing) mounting.
British Subjects are not allowed to wear (or accept) the medals of other countries, unless the head of state is a sovereign of that country. An application can be made to allow the wearing of foreign medals by British subjects, this can be granted as restricted (instructed where the medal is to be worn) or unrestricted but in the Order of Precedence.
The UK DirectGov website displays the 'Order of Wear' for British medals along with other helpful medal and awards information.
The Order of Precedence is typically: 'British awards by date', so first come Orders, next Decorations, then followed by medals. The eldest medal nearest the centre of the chest. The obverse (front) of the medal should be showing, this is usually the head of the sovereign or coat of arms.
The medals need to be lined straight across the bottom of the stars and bottom of the rims. Typically ribbons are 33mm (1.25 in.) or for the Navy 45mm (1.75 in.) long, but this can be adjusted to ensure the medals are level across the bottom.
Mention in Despatches (MID) should be worn on the associated campaign medal, such as on the 1934-45 War Medal, or WW1 Victory Medal. If the medals are to be worn with no associated campaign medal then the MID (often an oak leaf) is worn on the coat after medal ribbons, or in the place where a single medal would have been.
The British sovereign allows the following awards to be worn upon the right breast:
Order of St.John of Jerusalem (Life saving medal).
Royal National Lifeboat Institution Medal (RNLI).
Royal Humane Society.
Stanhope Gold Medal.
An excellent resource on British Medals and the wearing of family members medals is available on the Royal British Legion website
For a more in depth discussion and advice please try
Spinks Medals, who publish the book "Guide to the Wearing of Orders, Decorations and Medals", E&OE.
Sorry, but please do not contact us with detailed or other mounting questions, unfortunately we do not currently have the resources required to answer any further questions other than those provided above.