This article on the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal will explain what the medal was and how it can help you to research a soldier who served in the First World War. This article is one of a series of guides I’ve written to help you research a soldier who served in the First World War:
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the First World War
- Guides to First World War British Medals
I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
The Territorial Force Efficiency Medal
The Territorial Force was the forerunner of the Territorial Army, now the Army Reserve and a man who joined it served on a part-time basis. Territorials trained after work at their local drill hall and attended an annual summer camp. The Territorial Force Efficiency Medal was instituted in 1908 and awarded to soldiers who served in the ranks of the Territorial Force for twelve years, with war service counting as double. Bars were to be awarded for each additional twelve years of service but the medal was replaced by Territorial Efficiency Medal in 1921 on the formation of the Territorial Army. The equivalent award for officers was the Territorial Decoration. Due to war service counting as double, many soldiers qualified for the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal and it is often found amongst First World War medal groups. I’ve created separate guides for the 1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.
If you’re researching a soldier who qualified for the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal in 1921-1923, there’s a reasonable chance that the Ministry of Defence may still hold their service record. In theory, the Ministry of Defence should still hold the service records of those who served in the ranks past January 1921 but this isn’t always the case with territorials who continued to serve into the 1920s. I’d recommend searching the UK, Military Discharge Indexes, 1920-1971 on Ancestry which should list all the soldiers who were born prior to 1901 whose service records are held by the Ministry of Defence. Unfortunately, it doesn’t contain all the soldiers it should, names are given by initials and I’ve often found errors in the date of birth. A soldier’s army number which replaced the First World War era regimental number is recorded in the database.
Records of the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal
The award of the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal appeared in Army Orders with the name, rank, regimental number, and corps of a soldier recorded. There are three files at the National Archives which contain photocopied extracts of the Army Orders listing the award of the medal:
The Territorial Force Efficiency Medal cards are also available on the subscription website The Genealogist. The extract below was taken from a “Quarterly List of Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Territorial Force who have been Awarded “The Territorial Force Efficiency Medal” . This quarterly issue was twenty-two pages in length and was issued with Army Orders dated 1 July 1911. The soldiers who appear in the issue were divided up by unit and further split between Eastern Command, London District, Northern Command, Scottish Command, Southern Command, and Western Command.
Description of the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal
Obverse: An effigy of either Edward VII or George V facing left. In the example shown the Latin legend reads: GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN : REX ET IND : IMP: George V, King of all the British Isles and Emperor of India. For Edward VII the Latin legend reads: EDWARDVS VII REX IMPERATOR : Edward VII King Emperor
Reverse: The words Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.
Size: Height 38 mm, width 31 mm.
Ribbon: Plain dark green with a central yellow stripe. However, the ribbon for the Honourable Artillery Company is half blue and half scarlet with yellow edges.
Naming: Impressed naming on the rim.
Number Issued: Just under 50,000 medals were issued.