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Volunteer Reserves Service Medal

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Volunteer Reserves Service Medal

Awarded for ten years' tolerance of being fucked from pillar to post on meagre wages, this was the first (and so far only) attempt at homogenising long service awards for all branches of the Armed Forces. Introduced in 1999, this medal replaced a gamut of decorations and medals for the reserve branches of the RAF, Army and Royal Navy, namely:

  • Territorial Army
  • Royal Naval Reserve
  • Royal Marines Reserve
  • Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
  • Royal Auxiliary Air Force

Its introduction both pleased and angered many. Formerly because it simplified the system and cut some service time for medallic eligibility for those in the TA and RNR (12 & 15 years respectively); and latterly because officers (who used to receive decorations) had to slum it with the rest of the proles and get a medal with no use of post-nominal letters.

This medal removed some of the colour and variety from a long established system and moves are afoot to do precisely the same for its regular counterparts. A 'one size fits all' approach - whilst economic and logical - goes against the grain of accepted service ethics with inter-service rivalry, and it remains to be seen if this plague of 'Jointery' will fall at the second fence - medal-wise anyway.

Medal

Silver ovular disc bearing the sovereign's effigy on the obverse and the inscription For Service in the Volunteer Reserves on the reverse.

Ribbon

Green with central bands of dark blue, red and light blue flanked with yellow. A total throw together that's supposed to represent all parties.

Clasps

Five year increments subsequent to the medal proper.

VRSM Regulations

The regulations for the award of the VRSM are contained in Annex C to Chapter 3 to TA Regulations 1978.

Introduction

1. The Volunteer Reserves Service Medal (VRSM) and Clasps are awarded to personnel of all ranks in recognition of long and efficient service of proved capacity in the Volunteer Reserve Forces. The award of the VRSM and its Clasps is governed generally by the Royal Warrant dated 29 March 1999. It carries no rights to the use of post-nominal letters.

2. The medal is oval in form, in silver, and bears on the obverse the Crowned Effigy of the Sovereign and on the reverse the words “For service in the Volunteer Reserves” above a bunch of oak leaves. The name of the recipient is inscribed on the rim of the Medal. The Medal is to be worn on the left breast suspended on a ribbon 1¼ inches in width of dark green with narrow central stripes of dark blue, scarlet and light blue, the central stripes being separated from the green by narrow gold stripes. In the order in which Orders, Decorations and Medals should be worn, it is worn immediately after the Air Efficiency Award.

3. Clasps may be awarded and are in silver and engraved on the reverse with the date of the award of the Clasp and attached to the ribbon by which the Medal is suspended. Rose emblems denoting the award of each Clasp are attached to the ribbon when the ribbon only is worn. A maximum of 3 roses may be worn. To denote service beyond the award of 3 Clasps (3 silver roses), the following shall be worn:

a. Four Clasps - One gold rose

b. Five Clasps - One gold rose and one silver rose

c. Six Clasps - One gold rose and two silver roses

d. Seven Clasps - Two gold roses

4. The award of the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal and its Clasps is announced in the London Gazette.

Eligibility

5. To be eligible for the award of the VRSM an individual must fulfil the following conditions:

a. On or after 1 Apr 99 he must be serving as a volunteer in one of the following Reserve Forces:

(1) Royal Naval Reserve (RNR);

(2) Royal Marines Reserve (RMR);

(3) Territorial Army (TA).

(4) Royal Air Force Reserve (RAFR);

(5) Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF);

and he must still be serving at the time that the qualifying service is completed.

b. He must have completed ten years continuous qualifying service reckoned in accordance with paras 7, 8 and 9, but subject to the provisions of para 10, and of which part but not all may have been served before 1 Apr 99.

c. He must have earned training bounty as required by his obligatory training commitment as defined in individual service regulations in 9 out of the 10 qualifying years and his service is thus deemed efficient.

d. Alternatively, when serving as a Reservist as defined at paras 7d, 7e and 8a, an individual will be deemed to be efficient unless his annual report, or a special report, shows otherwise.

6. To be eligible for the award of a Clasp to the Medal, in addition to meeting the criteria detailed in paras 5a and 5d, an individual must fulfil the following conditions:

a. He must have completed a further 5 years continuous qualifying service (as reckoned in paras 7-10) since the award of the VRSM or previous Clasp to that Medal.

b. He must have earned training bounty as required by his obligatory training commitment as defined in individual service regulations for a further 5 years and his service is thus deemed efficient.

Qualifying Service

7. The following will reckon as single qualifying service:

a. Service after the age of 18 in the Reserve Forces listed at para 5a, subject to the provisions of paras 8 and 9, and except where such service is solely for duty with the Cadet Forces, in which case such service will reckon towards the Cadet Forces Medal.

b. Service in any of the authorized auxiliary forces of the Commonwealth that has not been counted towards the award of any other long service award.

c. Service in the Ulster Defence Regiment (Part Time) (UDR (PT)) which was reckonable towards but was insufficient for the award of the UDR Medal or Clasps, or service in the Royal Irish (Home Service) (Part Time) (R IRISH (HS) (PT)) but was insufficient for the award of the Northern Ireland Home Service Medal or Clasps.

d. Service on permanent service following Call-Out, a Short Service Volunteer Commission (SSVC), Short Term Regular Commission (STRC), Short Service Engagement (SSE), Short Term Regular Engagement (STRE), Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) or any combination of these forms of service up to a maximum of 5 years aggregated service.

e. Service as a Reservist under the provisions of Sections 25 or 27 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96) covering additional duties, commitments and additional voluntary training and duties.

8. The following will count as two-thirds qualifying service:

Service in the Non-Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS) of the Reserve Forces listed at para 5a.

9. The following will count as half qualifying service:

a. Service below the age of 18 years in the Reserve Forces listed at para 5a, or authorized auxiliary forces of the Commonwealth that has not been counted towards the award of any other long service award.

b. Service after the age of 17 years on RNR List 7 at a University Royal Naval Unit (URNU), or as a cadet or commissioned officer serving solely in Group B of the Officers’ Training Corps (OTC), or the Subalterns’ Special Pool or the University Air Squadron (UAS).

c. Service in an SSVC, STRC, SSE, STRE, FTRS or any combination of these forms of service for any period in excess of 5 years aggregated service.

d. Up to 5 years full-time service in the Regular Forces, other than that covered by para 9c, which has not been counted towards the award of any other long service award. Full-time service to a maximum of 5 years subsequent to the award of another long service award may be counted.

Continuity of Service

10. The following, though not counted as qualifying service for the VRSM or Clasps, will not be considered a break in the continuity of service required by paras 5b and 6a:

a. Periods not exceeding 3 years between service in one of the forces listed at para 5a and another such Service.

b. Periods not exceeding 3 years between service in authorized auxiliary forces of the Commonwealth and the forces listed in para 5a. The period may be extended when the initial non-existence of an auxiliary force prevents the individual joining such a force. However, an extension shall in no cases be for more than 6 months after facilities for joining such a force become available.

c. Service in the regular reserves of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army or Royal Air Force immediately following discharge or transfer from one of the forces listed at para 5a if such service is by virtue of a previous liability for reserve service.

d. Service in the regular reserves of an Armed Service of the Commonwealth if it immediately follows discharge or transfer from one of the forces listed at para 5a or an authorized auxiliary force of the Commonwealth, and is by virtue of a previous liability for reserve service.

e. Any year to a maximum of 3 consecutive years in which an individual fails to complete his full obligatory training commitment as laid down in paras 5c and 6b.

f. A period not exceeding 3 years between leaving the Regular Forces and formally applying to join the Reserve Forces listed at para 5a.

g. Any service which has been counted towards another award for long service in either the Regular Forces, the Reserve Forces or the Cadet Forces.

h. Any service which is given solely to the Cadet Forces. Such service may reckon instead towards the award of the Cadet Forces Medal.

i. Any formally authorized break in service or leave of absence of up to 3 years taken for personal or business reasons.

Recommendation for Award

11. Claims for the award of the VRSM or Clasp are to be submitted on the form JPA S005. Claims must be personally endorsed with a recommendation for the award by the commanding officer of units and not a subordinate commander. Individual claims by unit commanding officers, officers in command of regional units, or unattached senior officers are to be personally endorsed with a recommendation for the award by their immediate superior officer.

Verification of Award

12. TA units are to obtain verification prints of the record of service and forward them, together with the completed JPA S005, to the MODMO. Verification prints are to be obtained from:

a. For Officers. MS Reserves APC

b. For Soldiers. MS Reserves APC (Sldr ROS)

at Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, GLASGOW G2 8EX.

Approval of Award

13. The award of the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal and its Clasps shall be approved after verification by MODMO, SPVA, Bldg 250, RAF Innsworth, Gloucester, GL3 1HW.

Non-Eligibility and Forfeiture of Medal

14. Any individual claiming the award of the VRSM must be above reproach in respect of his conduct and performance throughout his service. Behaviour that brings the Services into disrepute, or that results in a conviction for serious criminal or civil offences, or military offences leading to an entry on a Certificate of Service or Regimental Conduct Sheet, may result in an individual being deemed ineligible to receive the VRSM, or for a period of qualifying service being deemed to be non-qualifying. The Certificate of Service or Regimental Conduct Sheet, along with a detailed statement of the offences committed, should accompany all recommendations for the award, when an offence has been committed and recorded on the document during the qualifying period. All such cases are to be examined by the Service Medal Board or other appropriate authority for a ruling.

15. Similarly, when the conduct of a holder of the VRSM is as described above, or he is subsequently convicted by a Civil Court or Court-Martial leading to imprisonment for 6 months or more or administrative or disciplinary discharge from the Services, the case is to be reported to the Service Medal Board or other appropriate authority for a decision as to whether or not he should be ordered to forfeit the Medal and any Clasps awarded.

Restoration of Medals

16. Procedures for the restoration of forfeited awards are laid down in QR (Army), para 5.401.

Transitional Arrangements

17. VRSM Regulations precede regulations for the TD & TEM because they were superseded with effect from 1 Apr 99. However, because outstanding claims for the TD or Clasps for the TEM will continue under the transitional arrangements, TD & TEM regulations are republished as Part 1 and Part 2 respectively of Annex D/3.

18. Transitional arrangements are summarized at Appx 1 to this Annex and a qualifying ready reckoner is shown at Appx 2 to this Annex.

19. All reckonable service prior to 1 Apr 99 that met the qualifying conditions for the TD or TEM is to count as qualifying service for the VRSM. (The qualifying rules for these efficiency awards required claimants to have served for 12 reckonable years of service and to have attended Camp in 10 of the 12 years and out of camp training in each of these years. Regional unit personnel were required to attend 6 out of camp training days each year while national unit personnel were required to attend 4 out of camp training days.) Claims for such service to count as qualifying service for the VRSM may therefore contain up to 2 years in which Camp was not attended provided that the claimant attended the requisite out of camp training.

20. Under the transitional arrangements, service given after 1 Apr 99 which is allowed to count towards a Clasp for the TD or TEM is to count as qualifying service towards the VRSM when the Clasp is surrendered. (The qualifying rules for a Clasp required claimants to serve for a further 6 years and to have attended Camp in 5 of those years and out of camp training as defined above in each of those years.) Claims for such service to count as qualifying service for the VRSM may therefore contain one year in which Camp was not attended provided the claimant attended the requisite out of camp training in each of those years.

VRSM-Qualifications

21. Former Regular Service.

a. Former regular service (including National Service with the Regular Forces) up to a maximum of 5 years counts towards the VRSM as half qualifying service, provided it has not been counted towards any other form of efficiency or long service award. (see also Serial 8 of Appx 2 to Annex D/3).

b. The portion of National Service that required compulsory service with the TA or other Volunteer Reserve Force unit or Reserve is not eligible to count as qualifying service for the VRSM. However, where an individual elected to transfer to voluntary service in the TA or other Volunteer Reserve Force unit, this service may count towards the VRSM provided that it has not been counted towards any other efficiency or long service award.

22. Bounty.

a. Claims for service as a Volunteer Reservist which do not fall within the provisions outlined at paras 1-3 of the instructions, require the claimant to have earned bounty in each of the qualifying years. (This requirement does not apply to service given as a member of the NRPS.)

b. The definition of bounty at paras 5b and 6c of the VRSM Regulations describes bounty as being: “as required by his obligatory training commitment.” This definition means the full training bounty for Groups A, B and C (Sponsored Reserves) as applicable.

c. Receipt of the lower training commitment bounty authorized by para 2.036 or the medical lower training commitment bounty authorized by para 2.046, means that the year for which that bounty was awarded does not count as a qualifying year for the VRSM.

d. When during the years claimed for the award, an individual has had service in another Volunteer Reserve Force, the APC is to check with the appropriate authority to confirm whether or not the claimant had received full bounty for the claimed qualifying years:

(1) Royal Naval Reserve:

The Directorate of Naval Reserves—SOPS (R)

Room 007

Victory Building

HM Naval Base

Portsmouth

Hampshire PO1 3LS

(2) Royal Marines Reserve:

The Director Royal Marines Reserve—SO1 HQRM

West Battery

Whale Island

Portsmouth

Hampshire PO2 8DX

(3) Royal Air Force Reserve:

CRF (RAF)

Royal Auxiliary Air Force:

RAF Innsworth

Gloucester

Gloucestershire GL3 1EZ

e. Obligatory training requirements for Group C personnel will be defined in their Employee Agreements. The obligatory training requirements for each member of the Sponsored Reserve may vary. Furthermore, the requirements for an individual member may be higher in his first year or two years of service than for later service. Particular care must be taken when checking whether or not he has fulfilled his obligations. (See also para 7.077 for the definition of the Sponsored Reserves bounty earning obligations.)

23. Breaks in Service. Individual breaks in service of up to 3 years at a time will not be aggregated. This means that an individual may serve in the TA or other Volunteer Reserve Force, leave for up to 3 years and then return for a second period of service. He may subsequently take a further service break, return to the TA or another Volunteer Reserve Force and so on. As long as none of the breaks in service exceeds 3 years, his periods of service may be aggregated for the purpose of qualifying for the VRSM. (This regulation does not apply to qualifying service for the TD, TEM or Clasps described in paras 1-3 of these instructions and Annex D/3.)

24. Belated Claims. Claimants who are non-serving members of the TA may initiate belated claims for the VRSM by writing to either MODMO or the APC. The initial response is to acknowledge the letter, ask the claimant to return a signed copy of the enclosed declaration that he or she had not committed any serious civil, criminal or military offences that had led to an entry on his or her Regimental Conduct Sheet, or imprisonment. On receipt of the signed declaration, MODMO or APC, as appropriate, is to initiate an investigation into the individual’s record of service and prepare an F/Hons/1009 for action. On completion of the investigation all details are to be passed to MODMO who is the sole authority for approving or rejecting claims. MODMO is to inform the claimant whether or not he or she is eligible to receive the award.