Sea Gallantry Medal

The Sea Gallantry Medal (SGM) (officially 'The Board of Trade Medal for Saving Life at Sea'), is an award for civil gallantry at sea in Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The Merchant Shipping Act 1854 permitted the issue of this award and SGMs were first struck in 1855.[3] They were first awarded either for 'humanity' (where there was little risk to the life of the recipient), or for gallantry (where there was significant risk to the recipient).[4]

Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal "SGM". There have been two awards of the Sea Gallantry Medal (Bronze) since 1974: one in 1981 and the other in 1989. No Sea Gallantry Medals (Silver) have been awarded since this time.

Sea Gallantry Medal
Ribbon of the SGM
Awarded by United Kingdom
TypeCivil decoration
EligibilityBritish subjects, or to foreigners serving in British ships, foreigners who have displayed gallantry in foreign ships in saving the lives of British subjects are eligible for Board of Trade Gold and Silver Medals ‘for Foreign Services’.
Awarded forSaving life at sea
Last awarded1989
Order of Wear
Next (higher)Constabulary Medal (Ireland)[1]
Next (lower)Indian Order of Merit (Civil)[1]
RelatedQueen's Gallantry Medal[2]

Notable recipients


  1. ^ a b "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3352.
  2. ^ This is arguable. The SGM predates all other UK official gallantry medals, and therefore, initially at least, covered gallantry in saving life at sea at all levels. These days it appears, but it is not officially confirmed, not to be awarded, and seems to have been replaced by the Queen's Gallantry Medal. QGM.
  3. ^ "Bernard de Neumann". Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Stephen Stratford". Retrieved 17 July 2009.

External links

1854 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1854 in the United Kingdom.

Christopher Cradock

Sir Christopher "Kit" George Francis Maurice Cradock (2 July 1862 – 1 November 1914) was a British Rear-Admiral of the Royal Navy. He earned a reputation for great gallantry. Appointed to the royal yacht, he was close to the British royal family. Prior to the First World War, his combat service during the Mahdist War and the Boxer Rebellion was all ashore. Appointed Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station before the war, his mission was to protect Allied merchant shipping by hunting down German commerce raiders. Late in 1914 he was tasked to search for and destroy the East Asia Squadron of the Imperial German Navy as it headed home around the tip of South America. Believing that he had no choice but to engage the squadron in accordance with his orders, despite his numerical and tactical inferiority, he was killed during the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile in November when the German ships sank his flagship.

Edward Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans

Admiral Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans, (28 October 1880 – 20 August 1957), known as "Teddy" Evans, was a British naval officer and Antarctic explorer.

Evans was seconded from the Navy to the Discovery Expedition of the Antarctic in 1901–04, when he served on the crew of the relief ship, and afterwards began planning his own Antarctic expedition. However, he suspended this plan when offered the post of second-in-command on Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in 1910–1913, as captain of the expedition ship Terra Nova. He accompanied Scott to within 150 miles of the Pole, but later became seriously ill with scurvy and only narrowly survived the return journey.

After the expedition he toured the country giving lectures, and returned to his naval duties as a commander in the summer of 1914. He spent the First World War as a destroyer captain, becoming famous as "Evans of the Broke" after the Battle of Dover Strait in 1917. He commanded a cruiser at Hong Kong in 1921–22, where he was awarded a medal for his role in rescuing passengers from the wrecked-vessel Hong Moh, and then spent several years commanding the Home Fisheries Protection Squadron before being given command of the modern battlecruiser HMS Repulse. He later commanded the Australian Squadron and the Africa Station before becoming Commander-in-Chief, The Nore, one of the Navy's senior Home Commands; during this time, unusually for a serving officer, he was also Rector of the University of Aberdeen.

After four years at the Nore he handed over command in early 1939 and was appointed Civil Defence Commissioner for London during the preparations for the Second World War; after the German invasion of Norway he travelled there to liaise with King Haakon VII, a personal acquaintance. He remained in a civil defence role throughout the War, though he had officially retired from the Navy in 1941, and was raised to the peerage in 1945, sitting in the House of Lords as a Labour member.

Edward Fegen

Captain Edward Stephen Fogarty Fegen, (8 October 1891 – 5 November 1940) was a Royal Navy officer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Edward Stephen Fogarty Fegen was born into a naval family, one of four children his father being Vice-Admiral F. F. Fegen MVO. He was born at 42 Nightingale Rd, Southsea, Hampshire, on 8th October 1891. At the age of 12, he entered Osborne Royal Naval College and in 1909, he was appointed Midshipman on HMS Dreadnought.

Ion Tower

Rear Admiral Ion Beauchamp Butler Tower, (14 March 1889 – 14 October 1940) was a British naval officer.

John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe

Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, (5 December 1859 – 20 November 1935) was a Royal Navy officer. He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic for Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory. Jellicoe later served as First Sea Lord, overseeing the expansion of the Naval Staff at the Admiralty and the introduction of convoys, but was relieved at the end of 1917. He also served as the Governor-General of New Zealand in the early 1920s.

John Nordlander

John Leonard Nordlander (1894-1961) was a Swedish Sea Captain and Commander commissioned by the shipping line Swedish American Line, crossing the Atlantic ocean 532 times.At the time of World War II, while serving as Commander of SS Drottningholm, Captain John Nordlander was responsible for rescuing thousands of victims of war uniquely through hostile waters in collaboration with the Red Cross and effectively with the Allied powers, with approval of the Swedish royal family.

Lifesaving Medal

The Gold Lifesaving Medal and Silver Lifesaving Medal are U.S. decorations issued by the United States Coast Guard. The awards were established by Act of Congress, 20 June 1874; later authorized by 14 U.S.C. § 500. These decorations are two of the oldest medals in the United States and were originally established at the Department of Treasury as Lifesaving Medals First and Second Class. The Department of the Treasury initially gave the award, but today the United States Coast Guard awards it through the Department of Homeland Security. They are not classified as military decorations, and may be awarded to any person.

Louis van Iersel

Ludovicus Maria Matheus Van Iersel (19 October 1893 – 9 June 1987) was a Sergeant in United States Army, Company M, 9th Infantry, 2d Division during World War I. He earned the highest military decoration for valor in combat—the Medal of Honor—for having distinguished himself at Mouzon, France.

Born in Dussen the Netherlands, Van Iersel served on several merchant ships following the outbreak of the war. Van Iersel arrived in New Jersey in early 1917, enlisting in the army shortly afterwards. He learned English in his first few months of military service.

He became a naturalised American citizen in September 1919, six months after receiving the Medal of Honor, and changed his name to Louis Van Iersel. After acquiring citizenship he returned to his birth country and married with Hendrika de Ronde (1899–1979) in August 1920. They returned to the United States later that month and settled in California a year later. In 1946 he and his wife settled in Sierra Madre, California.During World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Bougainville Campaign.

Max Horton

Admiral Sir Max Kennedy Horton, & Two Bars, SGM (29 November 1883 – 30 July 1951) was a British submariner during the First World War and commander-in-chief of the Western Approaches in the later half of the Second World War, responsible for British participation in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Max Horton was born in Anglesey to Robert Joseph Angel Horton and Esther/Hester Maude Goldsmid, of the famous Goldsmid/D'Avigdor Goldsmid Anglo Jewish family.

Merchant Shipping Act 1854

The Merchant Shipping Act 1854 (17 & 18 Vict c. 104) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was issued on 10 August 1854, together with the Merchant Shipping Repeal Act 1854 (17 & 18 Vict c. 120), which together repealed several centuries of preceding maritime legislation.

It introduced the keeping of official numbers for registered ships, and revised calculations of tonnage. It also changed the management of lighthouses in Scotland and neighbouring islands, vesting it in the Northern Lighthouse Board which was one of the General Lighthouse Authorities the act created. It also (indirectly) created the Sea Gallantry Medal, the only UK state honour created by Act of Parliament, rather than Royal Warrant.

As with many older Acts, it was repealed in its entirety by the subsequent Merchant Shipping Act 1894.In January 2007, after looting of the cargo of the container ship, the MSC Napoli, acting Receiver of Wreck Mark Rodaway said he would invoke powers of this Act for the first time in 100 years, although the extant powers to which he referred are actually held under the more recent, replacement, legislation.

Military awards and decorations of the United Kingdom

The British Armed Forces recognises service and personal accomplishments of individuals while a member of the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force with the awarding of various awards and decorations.

Together with rank and qualification badges, such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a serviceperson's career.

Order of Wearing of honours awarded prior to 6 October 1992

The Order of Wearing of Australian honours includes Imperial honours (those of the British Empire/United Kingdom) if they were awarded prior to 6 October 1992. Imperial honours awarded after 5 October 1992 are considered foreign.For the Order of Wearing of Australian honours excluding Imperial honours, see Australian Honours Order of Wearing.

Orders, decorations, and medals of Hong Kong

The existing Hong Kong honours system was created after transfer of government of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China as a special administrative region in 1997. Before that, Hong Kong was a British dependent territory and followed the British honours system. The HKSAR Government does not maintain any records of pre 1997 awards including gallantry awards.

SS Czar

SS Czar, or Царь in Russian, was an ocean liner for the Russian American Line before World War I. The ship was later known as Estonia for the Baltic American Line, Pułaski for the Gdynia America Line and as a British Ministry of War Transport troopship, and as Empire Penryn after World War II. The liner was built in Glasgow for the Russian American Line in 1912 and sailed on North Atlantic routes from Libau to New York. On one eastbound voyage in October 1913, Czar was one of ten ships that came to the aid of the burning Uranium Line steamer Volturno.

After the Russian Revolution, the ship came under the control of the British Shipping Controller and was managed by the Wilson Line and later, the Cunard Line. Under Cunard management in 1918 as HMT Czar, she was employed as a troopship carrying United States troops to France as part of the United States Navy's Cruiser and Transport Force. After the end of World War I, the ship was returned to the East Asiatic Company, the parent company of the Russian American Line, who placed her on their Baltic American Line sailing in roundtrip passenger service to New York under the name Estonia. She was sold to the Polish Gdynia America Line in 1930, and renamed SS Pułaski the following year for Polish passenger service to North and South America.

After the outbreak of World War II, Pułaski was initially used as a French and, after the Fall of France, a British troopship. Pułaski sailed variously in the North Atlantic, between African ports, and in the Indian Ocean. In 1946, the ship's name was changed to Empire Penryn and continued trooping duties under the management of Lamport & Holt. She was scrapped in 1949 at Blyth.

SS Florizel

SS Florizel, a passenger liner, was the flagship of the Bowring Brothers' Red Cross Line of steamships and one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters. During her last voyage, from St. John's to Halifax and on to New York City, she sank after striking a reef at Horn Head Point, near Cappahayden, Newfoundland, with the loss of 94 including Betty Munn, a three-year-old girl, in whose memory a statue of Peter Pan was erected at Bowring Park in St. John's.

SS Ina Mactavish

SS Ina Mactavish was a small coaster that was wrecked in 1907 with the loss of two lives.

Torbay Lifeboat Station

Torbay Lifeboat Station is the base for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) search and rescue operations at Brixham, Devon in England. Brixham Lifeboat Station was opened in 1866 but since 1924 it has been known as 'Torbay'. Since 2005 it has operated a Severn-class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) together with a D-class (IB1) inshore lifeboat (ILB).

Royal family
Orders of chivalry
Civil bravery
Nursing service
Meritorious service


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.