Ernest Blown joined the Royal Navy in 1932 as a Sick Berth Assistant but after his first year he changed branches and became an officer's cook. As a Petty Officer Cook (O), he changes branches again, joining the Regulating Branch retiring in 1954 as a Master-at-Arms. After leaving the navy he worked for the Kenyan prison service as an Assistant Superintendent at a prison in Nairobi during the emergency.
- Naval General Service Medal 1915-1962 (Malaya 1948-60 and Palestine 1936 - 1939 Clasps) - Instituted to recognise service in minor naval operations for which no seperate medal was intended. The clasp 'Malaya' recognised service by Navy personnel in the Malayan Emergency of 1948 to 31 July 1960.
- 1939-1945 Star - Recognises service in the Second World War. It was usually awarded for six months service in special operational areas. Those whose service was shortened by death, injury or capture or who were awarded a decoration or mentioned in despatches also qualified for the medal. Those who served a day or more in specified battles or invasions also qualified for this award. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue (symbolising Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising Army) and light blue (representing Air Force).
- Atlantic Star - Awarded to personnel who served an additional 6 months in Home (United Kingdom), Atlantic or North Russian waters after first qualifying for the 1939-45 Star. The ribbon is water silk coloured blue, white and green. These colours symbolise service in the Atlantic Ocean, and in UK and North Russian waters.
- Africa Star - Awarded for service in North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The ribbon is pale buff in colour with a central vertical red stripe and narrower stripes, one dark blue and one light blue. The pale buff background symbolises the desert, the red stripe symbolises the Army, the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy, while the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force. New Zealand soldiers who were captured or killed in Greece or Crete in 1941 had qualified for this star before entering Greece. This was because they were based in Egypt on or after 10 June 1940, before being sent to Greece.
- Italy Star - Awarded for operational service in Italy and adjacent countries between 11 June 1943 and 8 May 1945. The ribbon has 5 equal stripes of green, white and red, the national colours of Italy.
- The Defence Medal - Awarded to British military and civilian personnel for a range of service in the United Kingdom, and to British, British Commonwealth and British Colonial personnel who served outside their home countries in a non-operational area or in an area subject to threat such as air attack. The centre of the ribbon is flame coloured, and the edges are green, symbols of the enemy attacks on Great Britain. Two black stripes represent the blackout in Great Britain.
- War Medal (with Mentioned in Despatches) - Awarded across the British Commonwealth to all fulltime members of the Armed Force for 28 days service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 irrespective of where they were serving. On one side is an effigy of King George VI. On the reverse is a lion trampling on a dragon symbolising the Axis powers. The ribbon is the red, white and blue of the (British) Union Flag. Attached to the ribbon is a bronze oak leaf which recognises being Mentioned in Despatches.
- Africa General Service Medal (Kenya 1952-56 Clasp) - Replaced East and West Africa Medal 1887-1900 and in turn remained in use for 54 years, the longest-running British service medal.
- The Coronation Medal 1953 - Issued to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and was awarded to both military and civilian citizens of the British Commonwealth.
- Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal 1937-1948 - Originally awarded for 21 years exemplary conduct, but the period was reduced to 10 years in 1874, then later increased to 15 years. In March 1981 commissioned officers became eligible after 15 years service, provided at least twelve of those were served in the ranks.
- Soviet 40th Anniversary Medal - Awarded in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War 1941 - 1945.