Initially this medal was to be restricted to those servicemen who had actually been engaged in the fighting, however this was eventually dropped due to the difficulty in accurately defining this criteria in modern warfare. The qualification criteria were almost identical to those for the British War Medal, but conditional upon the following:
service must have been in a designated theatre of war and
between the dates the 5th August 1914 to the 11th November 1918 inclusive.
It was never issued without the corresponding British War Medal.
The South African government was permitted to award its own version to those serving in South African units. It is identical to the UK version, though has the reverse inscription in both English and Afrikaans, 'DE GROTE OORLOG VOOR DE BESCHAVING - 1914-1919'. South Africans who served in British regiments were awarded the UK version.
In 1920 a bronze oak leaf was authorised for sewing onto the ribbon of the Victory Medal, for those receiving a Mentioned-in-Despatches (MID) between August 1914 and August 1920. Only one MID oak leaf could be worn no matter how many times the recipient received a mentioned-in-despatches. A smaller version of the oak leaf was produced for wearing on the ribbon-strip.
No requirements were made for MID recipients who were only entitled to the British War Medal, except the unofficial wearing of an oak leaf on the wrong medal ribbon.
Impressed on the reverse with the recipient’s number, rank, name and unit on embarkation in France or Belgium, in two or three lines of impressed capitals. Unlike the other Great War service medals the battalion is usually indicated e.g. 1/G.GDS (1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards). Officers, off course, do not have service numbers, so only the rank, name and unit is shown.