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17/01/2021 13:16pm

Meritorious Service Medal

The Meritorious Service Medal was originally instituted in 1845 for members of the British Army. The medal was awarded to non-commissioned Army personnel to recognise meritorious service. Recipients were subsequently granted an annuity, the amount of which was based on rank.
Between the years 1916-19, army non-commissioned officers could be awarded the medal immediately for meritorious service in the field. They could also be awarded the medal for acts of non-combat gallantry. Awards for gallantry to Army personnel ceased after September 1928, as they were subsequently honoured by the award of the Empire Gallantry Medal.
The medal for Royal Marines personnel was instituted in 1849 and was awarded for gallantry, or, for distinguished service. As a gallantry medal, it was superseded by the Naval Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
As with the Army, between the years 1916-19, non-commissioned officers of the Royal Marines could be awarded the medal in the field. Since 1977, the Royal Marines' medal has only been awarded for long service.
The Royal Air Force version of the medal was instituted in 1918 and was awarded for meritorious service that did not involve flight. It was superseded in 1928 by the Empire Gallantry Medal. Awards of the medal began again in 1977 using the same criteria as the Army.
The Royal Navy's medal was instituted in 1919 and was awarded for gallantry not in the face of the enemy and for meritorious service by petty officers and senior naval ratings.
As a gallantry award, it was superseded by the Empire Gallantry Medal in 1928, but resumed in 1977. It is now awarded to senior non-commissioned officers in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Women's Royal Naval Service and Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service.
The same medal is now issued for all of the services and, to gain the award, an individual must have ‘…good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service, with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout’, although since 2003 the allocation has been limited to 201 medals per annum.
Other ranks must have at least 20 years’ service and must already hold the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, and for the Army and the Royal Air Force must have reached the equivalent rank of sergeant.
Officers of any service can also be considered for the medal immediately after being commissioned, provided they meet the criteria detailed above.
During World War I, when the medal was awarded for an act of gallantry the recipient was entitled to use the post-nominal letters ‘MSM’.
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in silver. The obverse of this medal bears the effigy of the reigning monarch at the time that the medal was issued and a corresponding inscription. This is summarised in the table below:-
Issue & Type
Obverse Style & Inscription
V:R 1
An effigy of the young Victoria facing left
1845 - 1901
Edward VII
An effigy of the King in Field Marshal's uniform, facing left
1901 - 1910
George V
GV 1
An effigy of the King in Field Marshal's uniform, facing left
1911 - 1930
George V
GV 2
An un-crowned coinage effigy of the King, facing left
1931 - 1936
George VI
A crowned effigy of the King, facing left
1937 - 1948
George VI
Un-crowned coinage effigy of the King, facing left
1937 - 1948
George VI
Un-crowned coinage effigy of the King, facing left
1949 - 1952
Elizabeth II
E:R 1
Un-crowned coinage effigy of the Queen, facing right
1953 - 1954
Elizabeth II
E:R 2
Un-crowned coinage effigy of the Queen, facing right
1954 -
If a sovereign is shown in naval uniform, then the medal was awarded for service at sea or with a Naval or Royal Marines unit on land.
The reverse depicts a small crown and a wreath surrounding the inscription; ‘FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE’.
The ribbon suspender is of the swivelling ornate scroll style, attached to the medal by a claw mount.
The recipient's details can be found impressed on the medal's rim.
Army, Navy and Marines Issue.
R.A.F. Issue
The ribbon is 32mm wide and those issued to the Army, Navy and Royal Marines are crimson in colour with a central white stripe and a white stripe along either edge.
Those issued to the RAF, are half blue and half crimson with a white central stripe and a white stripe along either edge.
Throughout the history of the medal, the ribbon has had various colour combinations. For the Army. between the years 1845 - 1916, the ribbon was crimson.
Between the years 1916-17 the ribbon was crimson with white edges and after 1917, the ribbon for the Army, along with those issued to the Royal Navy, was crimson with a white central stripe and a white stripe along either edge - as shown above.
For the Royal Marines, the ribbon was dark blue and when awarded in the field, between the years 1916-19, the ribbon was crimson with a white central stripe and a white stripe along either edge - as shown above.
None were authorised for this medal.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
Dealer Retail Value */**
Victoria Royal Marine (1948) issue
Victoria Royal Marine issue
Victoria Army (Pre 1948) issue
Victoria Army issue
Edward VII Royal Marine issue
Edward VII Army issue
George V Royal Navy issue
George V Royal Marine issue
George V Army issue - swivel suspender issue
George V Army issue - non-swivel issue
George V Army 1st issue - Gallantry issue
George V Army 1st issue - Meritorious issue
George V Army 2nd issue
George V Army R.A.F issue
George VI Royal Marines issue
George VI Army issue 1st issue
George VI Army issue
Elizabeth II Royal Navy issue
Elizabeth II Army 1st issue
Elizabeth II Army issue
Elizabeth II R.A.F issue
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
** The individual medal value will vary considerably based on the recipient’s details.
Further Historical Context
- British Armed Forces.
- The British Empire.
British Armed Forces - The British Armed Forces form the military of the United Kingdom, tasked with defence of the country, its overseas territories and the Crown dependencies; as well as promoting the UK's wider interests, supporting international peacekeeping efforts, and providing humanitarian aid.
They consist of: the Royal Navy, a blue-water navy with a fleet of 77 commissioned ships; the Royal Marines, a highly specialised amphibious light infantry force; the British Army, the UK's principal land warfare branch; and the Royal Air Force, a technologically sophisticated air force with a diverse operational fleet consisting of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
The Commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, to whom members of the forces swear allegiance. However the British parliament maintains the armed forces during times of peace with the passing of quinquennial armed forces acts. The armed forces are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence, headed by the Secretary of State for Defence.
The UK is an active and regular participant in NATO and other coalition operations. The country is also party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Recent operations have included wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2000 intervention in Sierra Leone, peacekeeping responsibilities in the Balkans and Cyprus, and participation in the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained at Ascension Island, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Diego Garcia, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Kenya, Qatar and Cyprus.
The United Kingdom tested its first nuclear weapon under Operation Hurricane in 1952, becoming the third nation in the world to achieve the status of a nuclear power. As of 2012, Britain remains one of five recognised nuclear powers, with a total of 225 nuclear warheads. Of those, no more than 160 are deployed and active. Its nuclear deterrence system is based on Trident missiles on board ballistic missile submarines.
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
The British Empire - The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries.
At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time.
The empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase ‘the empire on which the sun never sets’ was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, and in the process established large overseas empires. Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England, France, and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia.
A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England (and then, following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain) the dominant colonial power in North America and India.
The independence of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after the American War of Independence caused Britain to lose some of its oldest and most populous colonies. British attention soon turned towards Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Following the defeat of Napoleonic France in 1815, Britain enjoyed a century of almost unchallenged dominance and expanded its imperial holdings around the globe. Increasing degrees of autonomy were granted to its white settler colonies, some of which were reclassified as dominions.
By the start of the twentieth century, Germany and the United States had eroded some of Britain's economic lead. Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany were major causes of the First World War, during which Britain relied heavily upon its empire. The conflict placed enormous strain on the military, financial and manpower resources of Britain.
Although the empire achieved its largest territorial extent immediately after World War I, Britain was no longer the world's pre-eminent industrial or military power. In the Second World War, Britain's colonies in South-East Asia were occupied by Japan. Despite the final victory of Britain and its allies, the damage to British prestige helped to accelerate the inevitable decline of the empire.
India, Britain's most valuable and populous possession, achieved independence as part of a larger decolonisation movement in which Britain granted independence to most of the territories of the Empire. The political transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997 marked for many the end of the British Empire.
Fourteen overseas territories remain under British sovereignty. After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states. Sixteen Commonwealth nations share their head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, as Commonwealth realms.
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
End of database.