The BRITISH WAR MEDAL - Medal naming to the recipient:
The recipient’s number, rank, name and unit is impressed in capitals around the rim, but not ship for naval personnel, except for the New Zealand Navy. The regiment is omitted in the case of officers, except for the Royal Artillery and Royal Navy. Civilians attached to the Navy and who served at sea had the words, 'SERVICE WITH THE ROYAL NAVY' impressed after their name, though this is not always the case.
Officially the regiment or corps impressed on the medal rim was that which the recipient was serving in on first embarkation to the theatre of war. Thus a man who served with the Army Service Corp in 1915, and later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, would have ASC on all subsequent campaign medals. The exception to this was where men transferred between the three services; hence a man could have ASC on his 1914 or 1914-15 Star and Royal Marines on his British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The rank inscribed is the highest the recipient attained during service overseas prior to the armistice. It is therefore common to find a trio of medals to the same man where the rank on the 1914-15 Star is to a Private and on the British War Medal and Victory Medal to an officer.
Note that the post of Lance Corporal is in fact an appointment and not a rank and if the holder were killed or taken prisoner he reverted to the rank of Private. It is therefore not uncommon to find a 1914 or 1914-15 Star inscribed with Lance Corporal, whereas the corresponding British War Medal and Victory Medal are engraved with Private.
Medals that just bear the recipient’s first and surname in full, or first name, initial(s) and surname in full are usually to members of the Mercantile Marine. Those that just bear an initial(s) and last name are usually to civilian volunteers in semi-official organisation or French or Belgian agents. However, though this rule is generally correct, I have seen a few British War Medal / Mercantile Marine War Medal pairs that just bear the initials and surname
(The above also applies to the VICTORY MEDAL which will be discussed in Part 3)