KOREAN WAR MEDALS
About 3,500 volunteers served in the Belgian Battalion during the Korean War. The
Belgian Battalion saw service in Korea between 18 December 1950 and 27 July 1953 and was
made up of a first contingent of troops which served in 1951 and a second contingent which
more or less relieved the first and did duty during the remainder of the conflict. Of the
3,500 men involved, 106 were killed and over 350 wounded.
For more historical information on the Belgian forces
in the Korean Conflict, just click on the logo ...
The following medals were instituted or used for the Korean War :
Specific swords with the Chivalry Orders
Crossed swords with a little planchet mentioning "Korea" or
"Coree" were instituted for attachment on chivalry orders' ribbons. See : Belgian Orders with swords
- The World War 2 Croix de Guerre (War Cross)
The statutes of this decoration were amended in order to enable it
to be awarded for the Korean conflict as an individual or collective bravery award. For a
Citation by the Ministery of National Defence a bronze palm was attached to the ribbon. At
first this palm bore the royal monogramme consisting of 2 letters "L", the last
one mirrored on the first one, with "III" in between them (Leopold III). On 26
November 1952 this was changed into a single letter "L".
- The Commemorative Medal for Operations
abroad, with bar "Coree-Korea"
- This bronze medal was instituted on 26 September 1951 and
it was decreed that a bronze bar with the name of the foreign theatre of operations for
which it was awarded should be worn on its ribbon. Recipients are Belgians or foreigners
serving in Belgian units serving in foreign theatres of operations.
- For the Korean War, the bar issued was bilingual :
"COREE - KOREA" (sometimes also "KOREA - COREE").
- Three bars were also instituted for three battles for
which the participating units were cited in the Army's Order of the Day :
- "IMJIN" for the Imjin River, April 1951 (to participating members of the 1st
"HAKTANG-NI" for the battle at that place in October 1951 (2nd contingent) and
- "CHATKOL", the battle of Chatkol took place in March-April 1953 (2nd
Those wounded during the Korean War wear a red enamelled cross, 5 mm, for each wound
received and each individual citation is recognized by a small
bronze lion on a round 5mm plaque.
- The Medal of the War Volunteer
- Instituted 7 April 1952 for volunteers that served "for the duration of the
war". Those that volunteered for duty in Korea had a bronze bar "COREE -
KOREA" put on the ribbon. Under specific conditions, this medal could be awarded
retroactive to both the 1st and/or the 2nd World War and this was indicated with dated
bronze bars "1914-1918" and "1940-1945".
- The Medal of the Combatant War Volunteer
Instituted a day after the previous medal, this merely consists of
a bar "PUGNATOR" which is placed on the previous medal's ribbon. In case of an
award to a Korean War volunteer for actual combat, a silver "COREE - KOREA" bar
is worn over the equally silver Pugnator bar. Under specific conditions, this medal could
be awarded retroactively to both 1st and/or the 2nd World War veterans and this was
indicated with dated bars "1914-1918" and "1940-1945".
- The United Nations' Korean Medal
The United Nations awarded this bronze medal to all who
served at least one day in Korea (including the post-armistice period). For Belgians the
medal seems to exist only in a French version, having a French reverse text and bar
- The Republic of Korea War Medal
Members of the United Nations forces in the Korean
Conflict normally also received the South Korean War Medal and members of the Belgian
Battalion were thus also eligible for it. The original ribbon would have the Korean emblem
woven into it but later replacement ribbons no longer do. In some cases, a glazed emblem
was then put on the ribbon.
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Copyright Hendrik Meersschaert 1998,2002 ©