Military Medal

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Military Medal
Military Medal, George V version (Obverse).jpgMilitary Medal, George V version (Reverse).jpg
Obverse and reverse of medal
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration
Eligibility British and Commonwealth forces
Awarded for Acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire
Status Discontinued in 1993
Statistics
Established 25 March 1916
(backdated to 1914)
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Distinguished Service Medal[1]
Next (lower) Distinguished Flying Medal[1]
Related Military Cross
UK Military Medal ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar
UK MM w Bar ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar with rosette to indicate second award
Military Medal, ribbon bar.png
Second award bar

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.

History

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 these awards to allied forces are kept in country specific files within the WO 388/6 series at Kew, and were published in 2018.)[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]

Since 1918 recipients of the Military Medal have been entitled to the post-nominal letters "MM".[10][11]

Eligibility was extended to soldiers of the Indian Army in 1944.[12]

In 1993, the Military Medal was discontinued. Since then the Military Cross, previously only open to Commissioned and Warrant Officers, has been awarded to all ranks.[13] The MM had been awarded by Commonwealth countries, but by 1993 most had established their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours.[13][14][15]

Description

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]

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
awards
World War I 1916–20 115,589 5,796 180 1 5,688[16]
Inter–War 1920–39 311 4
World War II 1939–46 15,225 177 1 660
Post–War 1947–93 1,044[17] 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.[18]
11,038 were awarded to Australian Army and 14 to Air Force personnel. 478 first bars were awarded, 15 second bars and one third bar.[13]
Over 2,500 were awarded to New Zealanders, the last being for the Vietnam War.[15]

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,[11] to Private Ernest Albert Corey, who served on the Western Front as a stretcher bearer in the 55th Australian Infantry Battalion.[13]

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

French soldiers, after having been awarded the Military Medal, Battle of the Somme 1916
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/ anti-hero 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

References

  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. ^ British Army Order No. 13 of January 1918
  11. ^ a b Duffy, Michael. "Encyclopaedia: Military Medal". Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  12. ^ Peter Duckers. British Gallantry Awards 1855 – 2000. pp. 44-46.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Military Valour Decorations". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  15. ^ a b New Zealand Defence Force: British Commenwealth Gallantry Awards - The Military Medal (Retrieved 1 November 2018)
  16. ^ The World War I records are incomplete, see note 34, page 228, British Gallantry Awards, (2nd ed), Abbott & Tamplin.
  17. ^ 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).
  18. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada – Military Medal (MM) (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

  • "The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, (Lancaster), Military Medal". www.kingsownmuseum.plus.com.
  • "Further information and tools to identify British medals". www.military-medal.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 August 2008.
  • "International Medallists to the Royal British Legion". www.awardmedals.com.
  • Search over 5 million campaign medal cards on The UK National Archives' website.
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