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  • CPO1 Vaino Olavi Partanen, CV, CD (1928 - 1969)
    Biography Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Vaino Olavi Partanen was a member of the Canadian Forces and a recipient of the Cross of Valour for his actions during an engine room explosion aboard the HMCS...

The Korea Medal (French: Médaille de Corée), sometimes referred to as the Queen's Korea Medal to distinguish it from the United Nations Service Medal, was a campaign medal created in 1951 to recognize troops from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom who had given either one day's service (one sortie) in Korea or 28 days offshore during the Korean War. The medal was physically identical in all countries where it was awarded, save for Canada, where it contained unique elements. As an internationally distributed award, the Korea Medal holds a different place in each country's order of precedence for honours.


The Korean War was the first event in which United Nations (UN) armed forces took on a combat role in suppressing aggression, involving the participation of 20 UN member states, as well as the Republic of Korea and Italy, in a multinational effort to stop the North Korean takeover of the Republic of Korea. The Korea Medal was created in 1951 to recognize specifically members of the militia from King George VI's various states at the time that participated in the Korean conflict; namely, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. South Africa produced its own version of the Korea Medal.


Designed by Edward Carter Preston, the Korea Medal is in the form of a 38 millimetres (1.5 in) diameter cupro-nickel disc with, on the obverse, the words ELIZABETH II DEI GRA. BRITT. OMN. REGINA F.D. (Latin abbreviation for: Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God Queen of All the Britons, Defender of the Faith) surrounding an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, symbolizing her roles as both fount of honour and Commander-in-Chief of her various forces. At the time of the medal's creation, King George VI was monarch and his effigy was to have appeared on the Korea Medal. However, he died on 6 February 1952 and so the image of his daughter was placed on the obverse of the medal, uncrowned, as per custom for sovereigns prior to their coronation. On the reverse is a depiction of Hercules wrestling the Hydra—a symbolic representation of communism—with the word KOREA below. The Canadian version was identical, except it was made of .800 fine silver and bore on the obverse the words ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA CANADA (Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God Queen of Canada). The recipient's name and regimental number was engraved on the medal's rim.

This medal is worn on the left chest, suspended from a bar on a 31.8 millimetres (1.25 in) wide ribbon with five vertical stripes in alternating yellow and blue, the latter representing the United Nations. No medal bars were awarded. A single bronze oak leaf emblem was issued to signify a Mentioned in Despatches, which was worn pinned to the same ribbon from which the medal was hung.