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British Empire Medal
British Empire Medal (Mil. div.).jpg
Military division medal
Awarded by Elizabeth II
Country United Kingdom
Type Medal affiliated with an order
Awarded for Meritorious service
Status Currently awarded
Motto For God and the Empire
Post-nominals BEM
Established 1922-1993
Last awarded 16 June 2012[1]
Next (higher) Royal Victorian Medal[1]
Next (lower) Queen's Police Medal[1]
Related Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png
Ribbon for the Civil BEM
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png
Ribbon for the Military BEM

The British Empire Medal (formally British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service) is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.[1] It was established in 1922 to replace the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "BEM" and it is divided into civil and military medals in a similar way to the Order of the British Empire itself. While recipients are not technically counted as members of the Order, these medals are nevertheless affiliated with it. The BEM was awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom until 1993, after which time it lay in abeyance in the United Kingdom, although was still awarded in some Commonwealth realms. It was brought out of abeyance in June 2012, for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[2]


Medal on ladies ribbon

Medal of the Order of the British Empire[edit]

The Medal of the Order of the British Empire was first established in 1917. The medal was part of the Order of the British Empire and awarded for either Meritorious Service or for 'Gallantry. It was awarded to 2,015 people, 800 of whom were from foreign countries.[1]


In 1922 the original medal was discontinued and split into two new honours. The Empire Gallantry Medal (usually known as the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry) was awarded for acts of bravery until it was replaced by the George Cross in 1940. The British Empire Medal (usually known as the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service) was awarded in similar circumstances as the lower classes of the Order of the British Empire, but usually to people below management or professional level. In the uniformed services, it was awarded to non-commissioned officers of the armed forces, officers below superintendent[citation needed] rank in the police, and personnel below divisional officer level in the fire services.[citation needed]

British Empire Medal[edit]

From 1940, the British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service could again be awarded for gallantry, but now for acts of bravery (not in the face of the enemy) which were below the level required for the George Medal and to the same classes of people awarded the BEM for other services (with more senior recipients receiving the Order of the British Empire). From 14 January 1958 these awards were instead designated as the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and consisted of the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service with a silver oak leaf emblem worn on the ribbon.[3] It could not be awarded posthumously and was eventually replaced in 1974 with the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

The BEM was awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom until 1992. Those awarded the honour did not receive it from the monarch but from the Lord Lieutenant of their county or a local authority. Then prime minister, Sir John Major decided that the distinction between the BEM and MBE had "become increasingly tenuous" and he wanted more local people to receive their awards from the Queen herself.[4] The medal continued to be awarded in the Commonwealth realms, such as the Bahamas and Cook Islands.[5]

Following the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the medal would once again be issued in the United Kingdom, beginning in 2012, to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[4] On 16 June 2012 the honour was awarded to 293 people.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Empire_Medal — Please support Wikipedia.
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British Empire Medal Ceremony April 2014

Three Edinburgh ladies were honoured with the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List. They received the medals from the Lord Lieutenant and Lord P...



Grounds Manager receives British Empire Medal

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BBC Radio Humberside - Interview about British Empire Medal

BBC Radio Humberside - 13/03/2014: This is an interview on the Lizzie and Carl show about us receiving the British Empire Medal.

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This video shows the British Empire Medal Ceremony for Tony and Ruth for the Emma-Jayne Memorial Fund on the 18th March 2014.

Bert Elson Receives British Empire Medal from British Ambassador

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14th April 2014 - Presented my B.E.M by the Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Margaret Dean. Awarded for my services to volunteering and the arts. I am one of (if not...

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113 news items

Bradford Telegraph and Argus

Bradford Telegraph and Argus
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

WELL-KNOWN Bradford business figure Alan Wintersgill, was awarded a BEM in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours list. Currently president of the Bradford Society of Chartered Accountants for the second time Alan founded Bradford chartered accountancy ...


Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:30:00 -0700

For a boy who left school 'without much of an education', it was a proud moment when his name appeared in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Handbridge-born Fred Pritchard won the British Empire Medal for work in the Arab state of Qatar. The Qatar ...

Sunderland Echo

Sunderland Echo
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

A WASHINGTON businesswoman has been honoured by the Queen for her work in the community. Elizabeth Screen, who has helped run the family firm for more than 20 years, was presented with the British Empire Medal at a special ceremony in the North ...

Tavistock Times Gazette

Tavistock Times Gazette
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

Mr Cann was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to folk music, which included founding the festival. It was the traditional music, dance, song and crafts of the area that formed the basis for the first festival and they still remain for ...

Newmarket Journal

Newmarket Journal
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 08:45:00 -0700

A postmistress who has run her village post office for more than 20 years, without ever taking a day off, has been presented with the British Empire Medal. Sixty-four-year-old Sally Mann, from Carlton, was one of only two Cambridgeshire residents to ...
Frome Times
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 06:18:45 -0700

A WOMAN from Nunney has said she is “very humbled” after being awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to the community by the Queen in her recent birthday honours list. Dr. Mary Lynch-Staunton who worked as a doctor at Frome Medical ...

Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Post
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 21:41:15 -0700

It is a legacy which has in fact earned her the Imperial Award for Dance in 1999, and in this, her 91st year, a British Empire Medal. Margaret's story within the world of dance began in the war years. Whilst working for the Northern Command Voluntary ...

Bridgwater Mercury

Bridgwater Mercury
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:09:55 -0700

He was awarded a long service medal in 1909, what appears to be a King George V Coronation Medal in 1911, commended for saving six lives from a partially collapsed building in 1916 and received a British Empire Medal in 1920 for his work with London ...

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