Officer Of The Order Of St. John
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (Officer Of The Order).
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also referred to as the Order of St. John, is a royal order of chivalry established in 1831.
The original Order of St. John of Jerusalem was established after the First Crusade to maintain a hospital in Jerusalem to care for the sick and wounded crusaders. A Grand Priory of the Order was established in London in 1831 and was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1888, since then, the Monarch has been the Sovereign Head and Patron of the Order.
The Order was further granted the epithet ‘Venerable’ in 1926 and ‘Most’ in 1955 and operates today throughout the British Commonwealth with the world-wide mission, operating in more than 40 countries ‘…to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world’.
The Order has six classes: 1). Grand Prior, 2). Bailiff or Dame Grand Cross, 3). Knight or Dame of Justice or of Grace, 4). Chaplain or Commander, 5). Officer, 6). Serving Member (Formerly known as Serving Brother or Sister) and Esquire.
Members who enter the Order are usually admitted at the lowest grade and are later promoted through the grades after some standard period of time.
Members are generally those who have performed or are prepared to perform good services for the Order, mainly through its two foundations, the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem and the St. John Ambulance Association and Brigade.
Each class of the Order has a different style of insignia either worn from the neck, shoulder or on the breast, but all have the common theme of a true Maltese Cross either with or without embellishments in each of its principal angles - in the case of the United Kingdom these are lions and unicorns, a lion being in the top left and bottom right angles although other countries use different embellishments.
Only the insignia of the highest grade a person has been admitted to or promoted to is worn.
The insignia of a Bailiff or Dame Grand Cross consists of a breast star and a sash badge. The star is in the shape of the insignia of the Order, 92mm wide in gold and enamel but without embellishments (lions and unicorns in the angles).
It is worn on the left breast, below any medals and the sash badge, which consists of the insignia of the Order in gold and enamel with embellishments, 82mm wide and is worn on the left hip suspended from a 102mm wide sash (57mm for Dames) that passes over the right shoulder.
The insignia of a Knight or Dame of Justice or of Grace consists of a breast star and a neck badge. The breast star is 76mm wide, set in gold, without embellishments for Justice and in silver, with embellishments, for Grace, all enamelled white.
The neck badge is the cross of the Order, 45mm wide, with embellishments, set in gold for Justice and silver for Grace, enamelled white.
The insignia of a Commander is a neck badge, 45mm wide, set in silver and enamelled white. However, Dames and female Commanders usually wear the neck badge on a bow on the left shoulder.
The Officer insignia is silver and enamelled white and worn on the left breast like other full-size medals.
The insignia of a Serving Member is also worn on the left breast but is bright silver without enamel.
Members of The Order of St John can also be awarded the Service Medal of the Order of St John.
The Medal is of a Maltese cross design, an eight-pointed cross in white enamel set in silver-coloured metal. The cross is embellished in each of its principal angles with lions and unicorns, a lion being in the top left and bottom right angles.
The ribbon suspender is in the form of a ring attached to the top of the medal.
The medal was issued un-named.
The ribbon is 38mm wide and black in colour.
Since 1947, when ribbons only are worn, a small Maltese Cross in silver is worn on the ribbon of all Grades of the Order to distinguish the ribbon against a dark background.
None were authorised for this medal.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
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Further Historical Context
This section contains information on the following:-
- The British Honours System.
- The London Gazette.
- The Order Of The Hospital Of Saint John Of Jerusalem.
The British Honours System - The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories. The system consists of three types of award: honours, decorations and medals:
Honours are used to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service, decorations tend to be used to recognise specific deeds and medals are used to recognise bravery, long and or valuable service and or good conduct.
Although the Anglo-Saxon monarchs are known to have rewarded their loyal subjects with rings and other symbols of favour, it was the Normans who introduced knighthoods as part of their feudal government.
The first English order of chivalry, the Order of the Garter, was created in 1348 by Edward III. Since then the system has evolved to address the changing need to recognise other forms of service to the United Kingdom.
As the head of state, the Sovereign remains the 'fount of honour', but the system for identifying and recognising candidates to honour has changed considerably over time.
Various orders of knighthood have been created (see below) as well as awards for military service, bravery, merit, and achievement which take the form of decorations or medals.
Most medals are not graded. Each one recognises specific service and as such there are normally set criteria which must be met. These criteria may include a period of time and will often delimit a particular geographic region. Medals are not normally presented by the Sovereign.
A full list is printed in the 'order of wear', published infrequently by the London Gazette.
A complete list of approximately 1350 names is published twice a year, at New Year and on the date of the Sovereign's (official) birthday. Since their decisions are inevitably subjective, the twice-yearly honours lists often provoke criticism from those who feel strongly about particular cases.
Candidates are identified by public or private bodies, by government departments or are nominated by members of the public. Depending on their roles, those people selected by committee are submitted either to the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, or Secretary of State for Defence for their approval before being sent to the Sovereign for final approval.
Certain honours are awarded solely at the Sovereign's discretion, such as the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, the Royal Victorian Order, the Order of Merit and the Royal Family Order.
The awards are then presented by the Sovereign or her designated representative. The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal have deputised for the Queen at investiture ceremonies at Buckingham Palace.
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 London Gazette - The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published. The London Gazette claims to be the oldest surviving English newspaper and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the UK, having been first published on 7 November 1665 as The Oxford Gazette.
This title is also claimed by the Stamford Mercury and Berrow's Worcester Journal, because the Gazette is not a conventional newspaper offering general news coverage. It does not have a large circulation.
Other official newspapers of the UK government are the Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes, which, apart from reproducing certain materials of nationwide interest published in The London Gazette, also contain publications specific to Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.
In turn, The London Gazette not only carries notices of UK-wide interest, but those relating specifically to entities or people in England and Wales. However, certain notices that are only of specific interest to Scotland or Northern Ireland are also required to be published in The London Gazette.
The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes are published by TSO on behalf of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. They are subject to Crown Copyright.
In the British Armed Forces, the despatch is published in the London Gazette.
The Most Venerable Order Of The Hospital Of Saint John Of Jerusalem - The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of also referred to as the Order of St. John, is a royal order of chivalry established in 1831 and found today throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the United States of America, with the world-wide mission ‘to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world’.
The order's approximately 25,000 confrères, supported by 4,000 employees and 300,000 volunteers, are mostly of the Protestant faith, though those of other Christian denominations or other religions are accepted into the order, but usually honorary membership is awarded to deserving and distinguished adherents of other religions.
Except via appointment to certain government or ecclesiastical offices in some realms, membership of the order is by invitation only and individuals may not petition for admission. It is perhaps best known through its service organizations, St John Ambulance and St John Eye Hospital Group, the memberships and work of which are not constricted by denomination or religion. It is also a member of The Alliance of the Orders of St. John of Jerusalem.