The British War Medal struck in silver was awarded in recognition of the immense sacrifice during the First World War and through to the battles in Russia until 1920. Twenty eight days service or loss of life during action was the pre-requisite.
This medal was instituted to recored the successful conclusion of the First World War, but it was later extended to cover the period 1919-1920 and service in mine-clearing at sea as well as participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and Caspian. Some 6,500,000 medals were awarded in silver, but about 110,000 in bronze were issued mainly to Chinese, Indian and Maltese personnel in labour battalions. It was originally intended to award campain clasps, but 79 were recommended by the Army and 68 by the Navy, so the scheme was abandoned as impractical. The Naval clasps were actually authorised (7 July 1920) and miniatures are known with them, though the actual clasps were never issued.
Approximately 338,000 British War Medals were issued to Australians.