This is for anyone who wants to do their own research and already has access to their ancestor’s WW1 Australian service records, usually available as a download from the National Archives of Australia website.
If you go to the last page of your ancestor’s service records (or occasionally you’ll find it on the second last page), you’ll find three individual medal stamps – one for the 14-15 Star, another for the British War Medal, and the last one for the Victory Medal.
In the majority of cases, you’ll see issue numbers listed for the British War Medal and Victory Medal; these two medals were awarded for service from 5 August 1914 to 11 November 1918 and are known collectively as the ‘WW1 Duo’.
The 14-15 Star is the most commonly confused medal entitlement. To qualify for the award, the service person had to be engaged in active service, as opposed to being enlisted, between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915.
If there is an issue number on the 14-15 Star stamp, your ancestor was eligible and you would order a ‘WW1 Trio’ for that ancestor’s WW1 service.
If the initials ‘NE’ are shown on the 14-15 Star stamp, this stands for ‘Not Eligible’ which means, even if they enlisted prior to 31 December 1915, your ancestor didn’t begin active service until after that date and you would order a ‘WW1 Duo’.
There are many people who feel a greater number of medals equals more pride but, at Foxhole, we prefer to honour your ancestor’s service story; a WW1 Duo simply shows that their sacrifice for us commenced after 31 December 1915.
*If you don’t have access to your ancestor’s WW1 service records, you’ll be able to download a copy from the National Archives of Australia website: www.naa.gov.au.