Military Medal

The Military Medal (MM) was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other arms of the armed forces, and to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The award was established in 1916, with retrospective application to 1914, and was awarded to other ranks for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire". The award was discontinued in 1993 when it was replaced by the Military Cross, which was extended to all ranks, while other Commonwealth nations instituted their own award systems in the post war period.

Military Medal
Military Medal, George V version (Obverse)
Military Medal, George V version (Reverse)
Obverse and reverse of medal
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
TypeMilitary decoration
EligibilityBritish and Commonwealth forces
Awarded forActs of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire
StatusDiscontinued in 1993
Established25 March 1916
(backdated to 1914)
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Distinguished Service Medal[1]
Next (lower)Distinguished Flying Medal[1]
RelatedMilitary Cross
UK Military Medal ribbon

Ribbon bar
UK MM w Bar ribbon

Ribbon bar with rosette to indicate second award
Military Medal, ribbon bar

Second award bar


The Military Medal was established on 25 March 1916.[2] It was awarded to other ranks including non-commissioned officers and warrant officers, and ranked below the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).[3] Awards to British and Commonwealth forces were announced in the London Gazette,[2] but not honorary awards to allied forces.[4] (Lists of awards to allied forces were published by The National Archives in 2018 and are kept in country specific files within WO 388/6.)[5]

When the medal was first introduced, it was unpopular among regular soldiers wrote MM and DCM recipient Frank Richards who stated "the Military Medal, which without a shadow of a doubt had been introduced to save awarding too many DCMs. The old regular soldiers thought very little of the new decoration".[6] Both the DCM and the MM attracted a gratuity and the decoration allowance of an extra sixpence a day to veterans with a disability pension. However, the allowance was only awarded once even if the recipient was awarded more than one gallantry award. The ratio in the First World War was approximately five MMs awarded for every DCM.[7]

From September 1916 members of the Royal Naval Division, serving on Western Front alongside the Army, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Medal, for the war's duration.[4] It could also be awarded to members of the Royal Air Force for gallant service on the ground.[8]

Eligibility for the MM was extended, by a Royal Warrant dated 21 June 1916, to women whether British subjects or foreign, with the first awards gazetted on 1 September 1916. Although nurses of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) and other women serving with the British Army often had the social status of officers, they did not hold an officer's commission and were therefore ineligible for the Military Cross, but could and were awarded the MM.[9] Louisa Nolan, a civilian during the Easter Rising in Dublin, was awarded the Military Medal for her courage under fire in providing humanitarian aid to the wounded.[10]

Since 1918 recipients of the Military Medal have been entitled to the post-nominal letters "MM".[11][12]

Eligibility was extended to soldiers of the Indian Army in 1944.[13]

The Military Medal was discontinued in 1993, as part of the review of the British honours system, which recommended removing distinctions of rank in respect of awards for bravery. Since then the Military Cross, previously only open to Commissioned and Warrant Officers, has been awarded to all ranks.[14] The MM had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by the 1990s most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were establishing their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours.


The medal and ribbon had the following features:[3][4]

  • A circular silver medal of 36 mm diameter.
  • The obverse bears the effigy of the reigning monarch and an appropriate inscription.
  • The reverse has the inscription "FOR BRAVERY IN THE FIELD" in four lines, surrounded by a laurel wreath, surmounted by the Royal Cypher and Imperial Crown.
  • The suspender is of an ornate scroll type.
  • The ribbon is dark blue, 1.25 inches wide with five equal centre stripes of white, red, white, red, and white, each 0.125 inches wide.
  • The name and service details of the recipient were impressed on the rim of the medal, although honorary awards to foreign recipients were issued unnamed.
  • Silver, laurelled bars were authorised for subsequent awards, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon bar to indicate the award of each bar.

Obverse variations

The medal was awarded with one of six obverse designs:[4]

Military Medal, close up of disc

George V (1st type) in Field Marshall's uniform (1916–1930)

1. Military Medal Obverse 1930-37

George V (2nd type) in crown and robes (1930–1937)

Distinguished Service Medal (UK) George VI obverse

George VI (1st type); inscribed 'INDIAE IMP' (1938–1948)

NGSM 1915 GVI obv 1949-52

George VI (2nd type); omits 'INDIAE IMP' (1949–1952)

Naval General Service Medal 1915 (Obverse) First Elizabeth version

Elizabeth II (1st type); inscription has 'BR OMN' (1952–1958)

NGSM 1915 EBII obv

Elizabeth II (2nd type); inscription has 'DEI GRATIA' (1958–1993)

Numbers of awards

Between 1916 and 1993 approximately 138,517 medals and 6,167 bars were awarded.[4] The dates below reflect the relevant London Gazette entries:

Period Medals 1st bar 2nd bar 3rd bar Honorary
World War I 1916–20 115,589 5,796 180 1 5,688[15]
Inter–War 1920–39 311 4
World War II 1939–46 15,225 177 1 660
Post–War 1947–93 1,044[16] 8
Total 1916–1993 132,169 5,985 181 1 6,348

The above figures include awards to the Dominions:

In all, 13,654 Military Medals were awarded to those serving with Canadian forces, including 848 first bars and 38 second bars.[17]

Australian Army member received 11,038 and 14 were to awarded Air Force personnel; 478 first bars were awarded, 15 second bars and one third bar.[14]

Over 2,500 were awarded to New Zealanders, the last being for the Vietnam War.[18]

The honorary MM awards were made to servicemen from eleven allied countries in the First World War, and nine in the Second World War.[4]

During the First World War, 127 Military Medals were awarded to women, plus about a dozen honorary awards to foreign women.[19]

There was one instance of a third bar being awarded,[12] to Private Ernest Albert Corey, who served on the Western Front as a stretcher bearer in the 55th Australian Infantry Battalion.[14]

The only recipient to receive two bars during the Second World War was Sergeant Fred Kite, Royal Tank Regiment.[20]

Selected recipients of the Military Medal

The Battle of the Somme, July-november 1916 Q4530
French soldiers, after having been awarded the Military Medal, Battle of the Somme 1916
111-SC-19157 - NARA - 55198336-cropped
King George decorating U.S. Army soldier James E. Krum with the Military Medal in 1918

Nearly 140,000 people have been awarded the Military Medal. Among the more notable recipients are:

World War I

World War II

Post 1945

Popular culture

In the BBC series Peaky Blinders, the principal protagonist/antihero Thomas Michael Shelby is a recipient of the Military Medal.

In Soldier Soldier, broadcast on ITV, at the 50th D Day Anniversary, Robson Green's character, Fusilier Dave Tucker, gets a veteran called Jack Knight talking, who subsequently turns out to be a recipient of the Military Medal.

In the Dad's Army episode "Branded", the platoon discover that the character Private Godfrey was a Conscientious Objector. He is then ostracized by the platoon, until they find that he won the Military Medal in the First World War whilst serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, for rescuing wounded men under enemy fire. The medal itself is central to the storyline in that it is higher than all the medals held by the rest of the platoon and is seen as a mark of true heroism which earns him great respect from them all.[22]

In ANZAC Girls episode 6, "Courage", Sister Ross-King and three other nurses are awarded the Military Medal for bravery under fire.

In the video game Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege, the SAS character named Mike "Thatcher" Baker is seen wearing the Military Medal. The reason why it has been awarded to him is not mentioned.

See also


  1. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b "No. 29535". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 4 April 1916. p. 3647.
  3. ^ a b "The British (Imperial) Military Medal". Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Abbott, Peter Edward; Tamplin, John Michael Alan (1981). British Gallantry Awards (2nd ed.). London, UK: Nimrod Dix and Co. ISBN 9780902633742, Chapter 33, The Military Medal
  5. ^ Williamson, Howard J. (2018). The Military Medal Awarded to The Allied Armies by The British Government. privately published by Anne Williamson. ISBN 978-1-9996727-1-3.
  6. ^ Richards, Frank. Old Soldiers Never Die. (Library of Wales) (Kindle Locations 1742-1745). Parthian Books. Kindle Edition.
  7. ^ Including bars: 25,101 awards of DCM and 121,566 of MM. See pages 82 and 226, British Gallantry Awards, (2nd ed), Abbott & Tamplin.
  8. ^ Captain H. Taprell Dorling. Ribbons and Medals. p. 49. Published A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. 1956.
  9. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition. Page 224, note 4.
  10. ^ BBC "The Military Medal for bravery" 23 March 2016
  11. ^ British Army Order No. 13 of January 1918
  12. ^ a b Duffy, Michael. "Encyclopaedia: Military Medal". Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  13. ^ Peter Duckers. British Gallantry Awards 1855 – 2000. pp. 44–46.
  14. ^ a b c d "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  15. ^ The World War I records are incomplete, see note 34, page 228, British Gallantry Awards, (2nd ed), Abbott & Tamplin.
  16. ^ Abbott & Tamplin, British Gallantry Awards, 2nd edition, page 228 confirms 932 medals and 8 bars for 1947-79. A further 112 MMs awarded 1980-93: 65 for Northern Ireland; 34 for Falklands War, (Supplement to London Gazette 8 October 1982); and 13 for Gulf War, (Supplement to London Gazette, 29 June 1991).
  17. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada – Military Medal (MM) (Retrieved 1 November 2018)
  18. ^ New Zealand Defence Force: British Commenwealth Gallantry Awards - The Military Medal (Retrieved 1 November 2018)
  19. ^ "The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, Military Medal". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  20. ^ See note 34, page 228, British Gallantry Awards, (2nd ed), Abbott & Tamplin.
  21. ^ a b "No. 54393". The London Gazette. 9 May 1996. p. 6549.
  22. ^ BBC website: Dad's Army episodes

External links

Awards and decorations of the Pakistan Armed Forces

The awards and decorations of the Pakistan Armed Forces recognize a service member's service and personal accomplishments while a member of the Pakistan armed forces. Together with military badges, such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career.

Bill Jones (footballer, born 1921)

William Henry "Bill" Jones MM (13 May 1921 – 26 December 2010) was an English international footballer who played for Liverpool.

Bob Young (footballer, born 1894)

Robert Thornton Young (18 February 1894 – 8 September 1960) was an English footballer and manager. He played for Sunderland throughout his professional playing career, which was largely interrupted by World War I. He made 50 appearances in the Football League for the club. He later coached Norwich City. After the outbreak of the First World War, Young was sent to fight on the continent, where he won a Military Medal.

Charlie Buchan

Charles Murray Buchan (22 September 1891 – 25 June 1960) was an English footballer, sporting journalist and commentator.Buchan's playing career started with Woolwich Arsenal before he moved to Leyton. He then went on to join up with Sunderland. With the Black Cats he was the leading scorer for seven of his nine seasons there and remains the club's all-time record League goalscorer. He also won the First Division title in 1913 and got to the 1913 FA Cup Final with Sunderland. During this time Buchan served with the Sherwood Foresters after the outbreak of the First World War, being awarded the Military Medal.He re-joined Woolwich Arsenal now known as Arsenal in 1925 and helped see the club to their first FA Cup final in 1927. Buchan was responsible, along with Herbert Chapman for Arsenal's adoption of the WM formation which eventually brought significant success in the 1930s for the club. He was as well capped six times by the England national football team, scoring four goals.After retiring from football Buchan became a football journalist with the Daily News which was later renamed the News Chronicle. He also wrote one of the first coaching manuals and commentated for the BBC. In 1947, he co-founded the Football Writers' Association. From September 1951 he edited his own football magazine entitled Charles Buchan's Football Monthly, which was published for another 23 years altogether.

Distinguished Service Medal (United Kingdom)

The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was a military decoration awarded until 1993 to personnel of the Royal Navy and members of the other services, and formerly to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, up to and including the rank of Chief Petty Officer, for bravery and resourcefulness on active service at sea.

Ernest Corey

Ernest Albert Corey, MM & Three Bars (20 December 1891 – 25 August 1972) was a distinguished Australian soldier who served as a stretcher bearer during the First World War. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 13 January 1916, and was allocated to the 55th Battalion, where he was initially posted to a grenade section before volunteering for stretcher bearing duties. In 1917 he was twice awarded the Military Medal for his devotion to duty in aiding wounded soldiers, and twice again in 1918; becoming the only person to be awarded the Military Medal four times.Born in New South Wales, Corey was employed as a blacksmith's striker upon leaving school. In January 1916, he became a member of the "Men from Snowy River" recruiting march, enlisting in Goulburn. Returning to Australia after the Armistice, he was discharged on medical grounds in 1919 and was employed in a number of jobs before re-enlisting in a militia battalion for service in the Second World War. He died in 1972 and was buried with full military honours in the Ex-Servicemen's section of Woden Cemetery, Australian Capital Territory.

Francis Pegahmagabow

Francis Pegahmagabow MM & two bars (; March 9, 1891 – August 5, 1952) was the First Nations soldier most highly decorated for bravery in Canadian military history and the most effective sniper of World War I. Three times awarded the Military Medal and seriously wounded, he was an expert marksman and scout, credited with killing 378 Germans and capturing 300 more. Later in life, he served as chief and a councilor for the Wasauksing First Nation, and as an activist and leader in several First Nations organizations. He corresponded with and met other noted aboriginal figures including Fred Loft, Jules Sioui, Andrew Paull and John Tootoosis.

George Howell (soldier)

George Julian "Snowy" Howell, VC, MM (19 November 1893 – 23 December 1964) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Howell was decorated with the Victoria Cross following his actions during the Second Battle of Bullecourt, in which he ran along the parapet of a trench bombing the German forces attacking his position through the use of grenades, and thus driving them back.

Born in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Howell was employed as a builder before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in June 1915. Allotted to the force's 1st Battalion, he served at Gallipoli prior to transferring to the Western Front. Participating in the Somme offensive of 1916, Howell was wounded at Pozières and promoted to corporal in early 1917. During an attack on a German held village, he led a rifle bombing section and was awarded the Military Medal for his actions. Severely wounded in his Victoria Cross action, Howell underwent a prolonged hospitalisation period before returning to Australia and receiving his discharge on medical grounds. Settling in Coogee, he gained employment by working on the advertising staff of several newspapers. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Howell served with the Australian Eastern Command Headquarters but soon sought his discharge and enlisted with the United States Sea Transport Service. He died in 1964 at the age of 71.

George Ingram

George Morby Ingram, VC, MM (18 March 1889 – 30 June 1961) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Ingram became Australia's final recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War following his actions during an attack on the village of Montbrehain in France. Leading a platoon during the engagement, he instigated several charges against a number of German strong points that eventuated in the seizure of ten machine guns and sixty-two prisoners, as well as inflicting high casualties.

Born in the Victorian town of Bendigo, Ingram was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner upon leaving school. Joining the militia at the age of fourteen, he later settled in Melbourne where he worked as a building contractor. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Ingram enlisted in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force and served on New Guinea before receiving his discharge in early 1916. Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on the same day, he embarked for the Western Front. He was decorated with the Military Medal following his actions as a member of a bombing section during an attack on Bapaume. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in June 1918, Ingram returned to Australia in 1919 where he was discharged soon after. Re-settling in Melbourne, he was employed as a foreman for a building contractor company. Enlisting for service in the Second World War, he was allotted to the Royal Australian Engineers and achieved the rank of captain before being placed on the Retired List in 1944. Ingram died in 1961 at the age of 72.

Hugh McIver

Hugh McIver VC MM & Bar (21 June 1890 – 2 September 1918) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was 28 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Scots (The Lothian Regiment), British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 23 August 1918 east of Courcelle-le Compte, France, Private McIver was employed as a company-runner and under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire carried messages regardless of his own safety. Single-handed he pursued an enemy scout into a machine-gun post and having killed six of the garrison, captured 20 prisoners and two machine-guns. Later he succeeded, at great personal risk, in stopping the fire of a British tank which was directed in error against our own troops. He was killed in action 10 days later.He was killed in action, near Courcelles, France, on 2 September 1918.His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Scots Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

In 2015, Kier Homes named a street in their Hawkhead Village development in Paisley, Hugh McIver Avenue, in memory of him.

Jack Cock

John Gilbert Cock MM MID (14 November 1893 – 19 April 1966) was an English footballer who played for various English club sides as a centre forward. He also had the distinction of being the first Cornishman to play for the England national team, a decorated World War I soldier, and an actor. His younger brothers, Donald Cock and Herbert Cock, also played professional football.

John Meikle

John Meikle (11 September 1898 – 20 July 1918) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Medal "For Battle Merit"

The Medal "For Battle Merit" (Russian: Медаль «За боевые заслуги») was a Soviet military medal awarded for "combat action resulting in a military success", "courageous defense of the state borders", or "successful military and political training and preparation".

It was created on October 17, 1938 by the decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Like the Medal "For Courage", its status was revised to prevent the medal from being given for years of service (a practice that was rampant in the USSR) rather than actual bravery during a battle. More than 5,210,000 medals were awarded between 1938 and 1991.

Military Medal for Gallantry

The Military Medal For Gallantry (MMG) (Irish: An Bonn Míleata Calmachta) is a military decoration awarded by the Government of Ireland. It is the highest award of the military awards and decorations of Ireland.

Muriel Thompson

Muriel Thompson (10 June 1875 – 3 March 1939) was a decorated Scottish World War I ambulance driver, racing driver and suffragist.

Médaille militaire

The Médaille militaire (English: Military Medal) is a military decoration of the French Republic for other ranks for meritorious service and acts of bravery in action against an enemy force. It is the third highest award of the French Republic, after the Légion d'honneur, a civil and military order, and the ordre de la Libération, a Second World War-only order. The Médaille militaire is therefore the most senior entirely military active French decoration.

During World War One, 230 000 médailles were awarded, when 1 400 000 French Army soldiers were killed and 3 000 000 wounded. For comparison, the UK Military Medal was awarded on 115 000 occasions in World War One, when 673 375 British Army soldiers were killed and 1 643 469 wounded.

The award was first established in 1852 by the first President of the French Republic, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte who may have taken his inspiration from a medal established and awarded by his father, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland.

After the First World War, the Military Medal was also temporarily awarded for wounds received in combat.

Territorial Decoration

The Territorial Decoration (TD) was a military medal of the United Kingdom awarded for long service in the Territorial Force and its successor, the Territorial Army. This award superseded the Volunteer Officer's Decoration when the Territorial Force was formed on 1 April 1908, following the enactment of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, (7 Edw.7, c.9) which was a large reorganisation of the old Volunteer Army and the remaining units of militia and Yeomanry. However, the Militia were transferred to the Special Reserve rather than becoming part of the Territorial Force. A recipient of this award is entitled to the letters "TD" after their name (post-nominal).

Thomas Baker (aviator)

Thomas Charles Richmond Baker, (2 May 1897 – 4 November 1918) was an Australian soldier, aviator, and flying ace of the First World War. Born in Smithfield, South Australia, he was an active sportsman in his youth and developed a keen interest in aviation. He was employed as a clerk with the Bank of New South Wales, before he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915, for service in World War I. Posted to an artillery unit on the Western Front, he was awarded the Military Medal for carrying out numerous repairs on a communications line while subject to severe artillery fire. In June 1917, Baker was awarded a bar to his decoration for his part in quelling a fire in one of the artillery gun pits that was endangering approximately 300 rounds of shrapnel and high explosive.

In September 1917, Baker applied for a position as a mechanic in the Australian Flying Corps. He was instead selected for flight training, and was posted to courses in the United Kingdom. He graduated as a pilot and was commissioned a second lieutenant in March 1918. Posted for active duty in France that June, Baker joined the ranks of No. 4 Squadron AFC. Over the next four months, he rose to the rank of captain and was credited with bringing down 12 German aircraft. He was shot down and killed on 4 November 1918. In February 1919, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Transkei Defence Force Medal

The Transkei Defence Force Medal was instituted by the State President of the Republic of Transkei for award to all ranks as a military medal for merit.

Royal family
Orders of chivalry
Civil bravery
Nursing service
Meritorious service
South Africa
until 6 April 1952






we Sizwe

Azanian People's
Liberation Army
South Africa
From 1994


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