The Air Crew Europe Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in World War II. Specifically, the medal was awarded to Commonwealth aircrew who participated in operational flights over Europe, from UK bases.
Two months operational flying was required between 3 September 1939 and 5 June 1944 in order to qualify. The 1939-1945 Star must have been earned before commencing qualifying service for the Air Crew Europe Star. From 6 June 1944 (D-Day) operational flying over Europe qualified aircrew for the France and Germany Star.
British uniform regulations stipulated that neither the Atlantic Star nor the France and Germany Star would be awarded to a recipient of the Air Crew Europe Star. Subsequent entitlement to the Atlantic Star or the France and Germany Star was denoted by the award of the appropriate clasp to the Air Crew Europe Star.
An original Air Crew Europe Star with reference numbers for the pointers listed below.
The useful pointers are:-
1.The pips on the vertical band on the crown centre (4 and a half on an original)
2.Sharp features from the die (but that varies with die wear)
3.No break between the top of the V and the I in the numeral.
4.The back is flat smooth on the originals but often a bit bumpy or pitted on copies
5.The lettering around the circle has squared-off letters on the original, but they are often rounded on copies
6.The star points are blunter on some copies
7.Some copies have a raised centre which is not as flat on the original
8.Some copies have copper suspension rings fitted, not brass ones (dip them in salt and vinegar and they come out pink)
9.The GRI design is not as sharp on some copies, the back of the G sometimes blends in with the circle more than it does on the original.
10.On the original the point of the V in the VI points to the left hand tip of the top of the W in Crew. In some copies the V points to the centre of the W.
11.The central horizontal line is also useful....the A in Air and the last letter of Europe fall just below the line but balanced equally on either side - there is good symmetry on the original. In the copy, the 'Europe' doesn't go round far enough and the full 'AIR CREW EUROPE' words are slightly lop-sided on the medal, it seems like they are rotated slightly clockwise around the circle. The W in Crew is a useful marker; on the original, the right hand lower point of the W lines up with the central line of the lower star arm, on the copy it is shifted left.
12. Remember though that there is some minor variation between originals, mainly because the dies used to make them wear over time and different dies may have been used to make them.