British Empire Medal

The British Empire Medal (formally British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service) is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.[1] The current honour was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.

British Empire Medal
Awarded by Elizabeth II
CountryUnited Kingdom
TypeMedal affiliated with an order
Awarded forMeritorious service
StatusCurrently awarded
MottoFor God and the Empire
Post-nominalsBEM
Statistics
Established1922–present
1993–2011 Commonwealth but not UK
Last awarded2019 New Year Honours
Precedence
Next (higher)Royal Victorian Medal[1]
Next (lower)Queen's Police Medal[1]
RelatedOrder of the British Empire
Ribbon - British Empire Medal (Civil)
Ribbon - British Empire Medal (Military)

Ribbon bars of the Civil and Military BEM

Award

The British Empire Medal is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "BEM".

The honour is divided into civil and military medals in a similar way to the Order of the British Empire itself. Like the ribbons used for other classes of the Order of the British Empire, the ribbon of the British Empire Medal is rose-pink with pearl-grey edges, with the addition of a pearl-grey central stripe for the military division. While recipients are not technically counted as members of the Order, these medals are nevertheless affiliated with it.

Between 1993 and 2012, the British Empire Medal was not awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom, although it continued to be awarded in some Commonwealth realms during that time. The practice of awarding the British Empire Medal to subjects of the United Kingdom was resumed in June 2012, to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee,[2] although only in the civil division.[3]

History

1917–22

The Medal of the Order of the British Empire was first established in 1917, along with the Order of the British Empire. The medal was part of the Order and could be awarded for either meritorious service or for gallantry. It was awarded to 2,015 people, 800 of whom were from foreign countries.[1]

1922–40

In 1922, the original medal was discontinued and split into two separate honours, which still formed part of the Order of the British Empire. These two honours were known as the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service (usually referred to as British Empire Medal, BEM) and the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry (usually referred to as Empire Gallantry Medal, EGM). Of these medals, the EGM was awarded for acts of bravery, until it was replaced by the George Cross in 1940. The BEM was awarded in similar circumstances as the lower classes of the Order of the British Empire, but usually to people below management or professional level. In the uniformed services, it was awarded to non-commissioned officers of the armed forces, officers below superintendent rank in the police, and personnel below divisional officer level in the fire services.

1940–92

On 24 September 1940, the George Cross was established and the EGM was revoked by Royal Warrant from the same day. All living recipients, other than honorary recipients, and the next-of-kin of recipients who had been posthumously awarded the EGM after 3 September 1939, the start of the Second World War, were to exchange their insignia for the George Cross. Recipients of the BEM were not affected by these changes.

The BEM was instituted in 1917 was for meritorious service but from the beginning some awards were for acts of gallantry. There were an increased number of cases in the Second World War for service personnel and civilians including the merchant marine, police and emergency services and civil defence. From 1940, the BEM was awarded for acts of gallantry that did not reach the standard of the George Medal. Such awards often had citations, some detailed and graphic while awards for meritorious service usually appeared without a citation.[4]

From 14 January 1958, awards of the BEM made for acts of gallantry were formally designated the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and consisted of the BEM with a silver oak leaf emblem worn on the ribbon.[5] The first recipients of this newly designated award were two Board of Customs officers, George Elrick Thomson and John Rees Thomas - whom ventured into a dangerous steamship hold in an attempt to rescue a colleague.[6] Like the GM, the BEM for Gallantry could not be awarded posthumously and was eventually replaced in 1974 with the Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM). Again, recipients of the BEM for services other than acts of bravery were not affected by these changes.

1992–2012

The BEM continued to be awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom until 1992. Those awarded the honour did not receive it from the monarch in person, but from the Lord Lieutenant of their county, or from a local authority. After a 1993 review of the British honours system, the government decided that the distinction between the BEM and MBE had "become increasingly tenuous" and the Prime Minister, John Major, expressed a view that he wanted more local people to receive their awards from the Queen herself.[7]

While awards of the BEM therefore ceased to be made to subjects of the United Kingdom, the medal continued to be awarded in the Commonwealth realms, such as the Bahamas and the Cook Islands.[8]

From 2012

Following the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the BEM would once again be awarded in the United Kingdom, although only in the civil division; this would start beginning in 2012, to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[7] In the 2012 Birthday Honours, released on 16 June 2012, the BEM was awarded to 293 people.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "ORDERS OF WEAR" (PDF). direct.gov.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  2. ^ Second Report on Operation of the Reformed Honours System, The Cabinet Office, 12 December 2011, pp.3–4
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ P E Abbott; JMA Tamplin (1981). "chapters 35 to 38". British Gallantry Awards. London: Nimrod Dix & Co. ISBN 0-9026-3374-0.
  5. ^ "No. 41285". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 January 1958. p. 365.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 November 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b "British Empire Medal is to return". 29 October 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  8. ^ See the 2008 New Year ("No. 58558". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2007. p. 29.) and Queen's Birthday Honours ("No. 58731". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 31.)
  9. ^ "Birthday Honours: 'Working class' British Empire Medal revived". BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2012.

External links

1963 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1963 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were officially announced in the London Gazette of 22 October 1963 and marked the resignation of the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.

1964 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1964 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were officially announced in the London Gazette of 27 November 1964 and marked the October 1964 electoral defeat of the Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home.

1970 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1970 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were officially announced in the London Gazette of 7 August 1970 and marked the June 1970 electoral defeat of the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.

1976 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1976 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were announced on 27 May 1976 to mark the resignation of the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. The list of honours became known satirically as the "Lavender List".

1979 Dissolution Honours

The 1979 Dissolution Honours List was issued in June 1979 following the general election of that year.The recipients of honours are displayed as they were styled before their new honour.

1985 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1985 were appointments by most of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries, and honorary ones to citizens of other countries. They were announced on 31 December 1984 to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1985 in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Barbados, Mauritius, Fiji, the Bahamas, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Christopher and Nevis.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1987 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1987 were appointments by most of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries, and honorary ones to citizens of other countries. They were announced on 31 December 1986 to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1987 in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand,

Barbados, Mauritus, Fiji, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Belize, Antigua & Barbuda, and St Christopher & Nevis.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1990 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1990 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were officially announced in the London Gazette of 21 December 1990 and marked the resignation of the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who had stepped down from the role in November that year after more than 11 years in office and nearly 16 years as Leader of the Conservative Party.

1991 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1991 were appointments by Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by people of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. They were published on 28 December 1990 for the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Cook Islands, Mauritius, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Christopher and Nevis.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

2001 Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours 2001 was announced on 16 June 2001 for the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), New Zealand (4 June), Australia (11 June), Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Belize and Saint Christopher and Nevis on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday.

Recipients of honours are displayed as they were styled before their new honour. They are arranged by the country whose ministers advised The Queen on the appointments, honour, degree and where appropriate by division (i.e. Civil and Military). The Order of Precedence is determined by each individual realm

2003 New Year Honours

The 2003 New Year's Honours List is one of the annual New Year Honours, a part of the British monarch's honours system, where New Year's Day, 1 January, is marked by naming new members of orders of chivalry and recipients of other official honours. A number of other Commonwealth Realms also mark this day in this way. These awards are presented by or in the name of the reigning monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II or her vice-regal representative.

The list of honours for each year is announced on or around New Year's Day in The United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Belize and St. Christopher and Nevis. The exact dates vary, both from year to year and from country to country. All are published in supplements to the London Gazette or the nation's own gazette. All awards conferred by the monarch (or her representative) some time after the date of the announcement, particularly for those service people on active duty conferment is often considerably delayed.

The recipients of honours are displayed as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by the country (in order of their date of independence from the United Kingdom) whose ministers advised The Queen on the appointments, then by honour, with grades i.e. Knight/Dame Grand Cross, Knight/Dame Commander etc. and then divisions i.e. Civil, Diplomatic and Military as and where appropriate.

2014 Birthday Honours

The 2014 Birthday Honours were appointments by some of the 16 Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. The Birthday Honours are awarded as part of the Queen's Official Birthday celebrations during the month of June. The Queen's Birthday Honours were announced on 14 June 2014 in the United Kingdom, on 9 June 2014 in Australia, on 2 June 2014 in New Zealand, on 14 June 2014 in Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia and Belize.

The recipients of honours are displayed as they were styled before their new honour and arranged by the country (in order of precedence) whose ministers advised The Queen on the appointments, then by honour with grades i.e. Knight/Dame Grand Cross, Knight/Dame Commander etc. and then divisions i.e. Civil, Diplomatic and Military as appropriate.

2015 Dissolution Honours

The 2015 Dissolution Honours List was issued on 27 August 2015 upon the advice of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. The Life Peerages were announced separately from the other appointments, while it was gazetted as a single list on 22 September 2015.

2018 Birthday Honours

The 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours are appointments by some of the 16 Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries. The Birthday Honours are awarded as part of the Queen's Official Birthday celebrations during the month of June. The Queen's Birthday Honours for the United Kingdom were announced on 9 June; the honours for New Zealand were announced on 4 June and for Australia on 11 June.

The recipients of honours are displayed as they were styled before their new honour. They are arranged by the country (in order of precedence) whose ministers advised the Queen on the appointments, then by honour with grades, i.e. Knight/Dame Grand Cross, Knight/Dame Commander etc., and then by divisions, i.e. Civil, Diplomatic and Military as appropriate.

February 1974 Dissolution Honours

The February 1974 Dissolution Honours List was issued on 2 April 1974 following the dissolution of the United Kingdom parliament in preparation for a general election.

Henry Blogg

Henry George Blogg GC BEM (6 February 1876 – 13 June 1954) was a lifeboatman from Cromer on the north coast of Norfolk, England and the most decorated in RNLI history.

Blogg of the Cromer Lifeboat Station is referred to as "the greatest of the lifeboatmen". From the rescue of the crew of the Pyrin and then of half of the crew of the Fernebo in 1917, through to his near drowning in the service to the SS English Trader in 1941, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution three times and the silver medal four times, the George Cross, the British Empire Medal, and a series of other awards.

Jimmy Montgomery

Jimmy Montgomery BEM (born 9 October 1943) is an English retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He made a record 627 appearances for his hometown club Sunderland with 537 of these appearances being in the league, after joining the club as a youngster in 1960.In June 2015, Montgomery was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to football in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Megan Boyd

Rosina Megan Boyd (29 January 1915 – 15 November 2001) was a British fly tyer most noted for her Atlantic salmon flies. She lived most of her adult life in a small cottage in Kintradwell, near Brora, Scotland. She was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1971.

Vicki Cardwell

Vicki Cardwell BEM (née Hoffmann, born 21 April 1955, in Adelaide, South Australia) is a former World No. 1 squash player from Australia. She was one of the leading players on the international squash circuit from the late-1970s through to the mid-1990s. During her career, she won the World Open in 1983, and captured the British Open title four consecutive times in 1980-83.

Since retiring from the top-level game, Cardwell has enjoyed continued success in seniors events. She won four World Masters Championships titles between 1987 and 1995.

Cardwell has been inducted into the Australian Sport Hall of Fame and the Squash Australia Hall of Fame. The Australian government has also acknowledged her contribution and services to Australian sport by awarding her the British Empire Medal.

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