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Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

William IV and Victoria issues: a trophy with the Hanoverian Coat of Arms (William IV) or Royal Coat of Arms (Victoria) on a shield as the centre piece.  On all other issues the bust or head of the reigning monarch surrounded by an inscription, e.g.: “GEORGIVS VI DEI GRA: BRITT. OMN: REX FID: DEF:+”.  There are seven types of ‘face’ bearing the sovereigns head or bust: EVIIR, GVR (2), GVIR (2), EIIR (2).

All issues of this medal, of which there are twelve in all, bear on the ‘reverse’ the inscription “FOR LONG SERVICE AND GOOD CONDUCT”.  The two issues of William IV and the first two issues of Victoria’s reign up to 1874 all had the inscription in large letters. Between 1874 and 1930, when the medal became the ‘Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military)’, the inscription was in small letters.  Since 1930 the inscription has been in large, thin letters.

All issues are approximately 36 mm in diameter and are of silver.

Until 1916 the ribbon was of plain crimson but then a white stripe approx. 3 mm wide was incorporated at each edge to distinguish it from the Victoria Cross.  Early ribbons were approx. 38 mm wide, but by late Victorian times the ribbon had been reduced in width to approx. 33mm and later to 32 mm.

The first William IV issue of 1830-31 has a small ring and steel clip suspender through which the ribbon is threaded.   The second William IV issue of 1831-37 has a steel clip and either a large ring or a rectangular suspender and this is repeated in the first Victorian issue up to 1855.  From 1855 to 1930 the medal was issued with a swivelling ornamental scroll suspender.  In 1930 the suspension was changed to a fixed ornamental bar bearing, in the case of regular soldiers of the British Army, the words “REGULAR ARMY”.  The same pattern of suspension and medal was adopted for Long Service and Good Conduct medals to the permanent forces of the Empire, and later the Commonwealth whose troops received medals bearing a bar inscribed “INDIA”, “CANADA” etc.  Most of these issues have now been superseded by medals issued by the existing independent governments.

The issues of William IV and some of the early Victorian medals are impressed on the edge in the same heavy block capitals as are found on the Waterloo Medal and give the man’s name, regiment, and the date.  Victorian issues between 1855 and 1874 are impressed in the rather finer style block capitals as found on the Military General Service and Crimea Medals.  After 1874 Victorian issues gave the man’s number, rank, initials, surname, and regiment and are usually found engraved in a variety of styles and capital letters.  However the very late Victorian medals together with the Edward VII medals are impressed in small capitals in the style of the later Queen’s South Africa Medal.  All subsequent issues of the Army L S & GC medal are named in small impressed capitals in the style then currently in use for campaign medals.  some Army LS & GC medals awarded to British Army Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers seconded for service with the Indian Defence Force as Permanent Staff Instructors may be found with engraved naming in running script.

Originally none issued, but in the reign of George V authority was given for the issue of a bar to the medal of anyone who completed a second period of 18 years in the ranks.  It should be noted that the bar suspenders on the medals issued after 1930 do not represent any extra service beyond the normal qualifying period of 18 years, but are simply an indication of which army or defence force the recipient served in.

The first issue of the medal was authorised by Army Circular 685 of 1830 and it was the first medal issued officially in recognition of long service.  The original requirement was that a recipient must have served 21 years in the ranks with a very high standard of conduct at all times.  During the reign of Victoria the required service for qualification was reduced to 18 years, and in World War II a further change was authorised to permit officers who had been promoted to commissions from the ranks to qualify for the medal after completing 18 years service provided that they had served a minimum of 12 years in the ranks.  Whilst many men completed 18 or 21 years service in the ranks relatively few, on completing the qualifying period, could show that they had a exemplary record - which is what is required for the award of this medal.  It is a highly prized award among old soldiers - who used to refer to it as the ‘rooty gong’, from the barrack room distortion of the Urdu word ‘roti’ meaning bread.  The possession of a ‘rooty gong’ would ensure you a job on returning to civilian life!

The King’s Own
The men of The King’s Own were no different from those of any other regiment or corps where the L S & G C medal was concerned.  A few got it, most did not!  But in ‘the old days’ they probably held it in higher esteem than any other medal excepting the Victoria Cross.

Long Service and Good Conduct Medals in the museum's collection

Queen Victoria Issue Long Service and Good Conduct

King Edward VII Issue Long Service and Good Conduct


© 2007 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum