In 1943 the first campaign medals were introduced. Alongside the 1939-45 Star was a specific medal for service in Africa. The medal was available to all those who had served between 10th June 1940 and 12th May 1943 and the new medal took the same form as the 1939-45 Star being a six pointed star with the ribbon attached through a top ring:
The ribbon was coloured sand to represent the desert of Northern Africa with a broad red stripe representing the army, a thin dark blue stripe representing the navy and a thin light blue stripe representing the air forces:
The medal itself is struck in a yellow copper-zinc alloy with a circle bearing the specific campaign surrounding the royal cypher and topped by a crown:
The following eligability criteria applied to this medal:
The Africa Star was awarded for a minimum of one day’s service in an operational area of North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The operational area includes the whole of the area between the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar, together with Malta, Abyssinia, Kenya, the Sudan, both Somalilands and Eritrea. Areas not bordering on the Mediterranean only qualified for the Africa Star between 10 June 1940 and 27 November 1941 inclusive.
Royal Navy and Merchant Navy personnel qualified for the award of the Africa Star through service in the Mediterranean between these two dates, or for service in the campaigns in Abyssinia, Somaliland and Eritrea between 10 June 1940 and 27 September 1941. Merchant Navy personnel also qualified with service in operations off the Moroccan coast between 8 November 1942 and 12 May 1943. For sea-going service there was no condition that the 1939-45 Star should already have been earned before the Africa Star could be awarded.
Army personnel had to enter North Africa on the establishment of an operational unit, while service in Abyssinia, Sudan, Somaliland and Eritrea also qualified.
Air Force personnel had to land in or have flown over any of the operational areas. The Africa Star was also awarded to crews of transport aircraft that flew over certain specified routes.
Members of the Australian Imperial Force qualified for the award of the Africa Star for service in Syria between 8 June and 11 July 1941.
Service in West Africa did not qualify for the award of the Africa Star.
Three different bars were also available for this medal indicating service in the 1st Army, 8th Army and a North Africa 1942-43 clasp. The medals were issued unamed in the UK, although Indian, South African and Australian medals are all marked with the recipient’s name and details on the rear.