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British Empire Medal
British Empire Medal (Mil. div.).jpg
British Empire Medal with military division ribbon
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
Statistics
Established 1922-1993
2012-present
Last awarded 12 June 2015[1]
Precedence
Next (higher) Royal Victorian Medal[2]
Next (lower) Queen's Police Medal[2]
Related Order of the British Empire
Ribbon - British Empire Medal (Civil).png Ribbon - British Empire Medal (Military).png
Ribbon bars of the Civil and 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.[2] The current honour was created in 1922 to replace the original medal which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.

Award[edit]

The British Empire Medal, which may be awarded posthumously, is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "BEM".

The honour is divided into civil and military medals in a similar way to the Order of the British Empire itself. Like the ribbons used for other classes of the Order of the British Empire, the ribbon of the British Empire Medal is rose-pink with pearl-grey edges, with the addition of a pearl-grey central stripe for the military division. While recipients are not technically counted as members of the Order, these medals are nevertheless affiliated with it.

Between 1993 and 2012, the British Empire Medal was not awarded to subjects of the United Kingdom, although it continued to be awarded in some Commonwealth realms during that time. The practice of awarding the British Empire Medal to subjects of the United Kingdom was resumed in June 2012 to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee,[3] although only in the civil division.[4]

History[edit]

British Empire Medal on civilian division ladies' ribbon

1917–22[edit]

The Medal of the Order of the British Empire was first established in 1917 along with the Order of the British Empire. The medal was part of the Order and could be awarded for either meritorious service or for gallantry. It was awarded to 2,015 people, 800 of whom were from foreign countries.[2]

1922–40[edit]

In 1922 the original medal was discontinued and split into two separate honours, which still formed part of the Order of the British Empire. These two honours were known as the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service (usually referred to as British Empire Medal, BEM) and the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Gallantry (usually referred to as Empire Gallantry Medal, EGM). Of these medals, the EGM was awarded for acts of bravery until it was replaced by the George Cross in 1940. The BEM 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]

1940–92[edit]

On 24 September 1940, the George Cross was established and the EGM was revoked by Royal Warrant the same day. All living recipients and the next-of-kin of recipients who had been posthumously awarded the EGM after 3 September 1939 (the start of World War II) were obliged to exchange it for the George Cross. Recipients of the BEM were not affected by these changes.

However, also starting in 1940, the statutes of the BEM were amended so that it could again be awarded for acts of gallantry, but now for such acts of bravery not in the face of the enemy which were below the level required for the George Medal. This was done so that the BEM for bravery would honour the same classes of people that were awarded the BEM for other services. More senior recipients would generally receive an appointment to the Order of the British Empire itself.

From 14 January 1958, awards of the BEM made for acts of bravery were formally designated the British Empire Medal for Gallantry and consisted of the BEM with a silver oak leaf emblem worn on the ribbon.[5] Unlike the GC and GM, the BEM for Gallantry could not be awarded posthumously and was eventually replaced in 1974 with the Queen's Gallantry Medal. Again, recipients of the BEM for services other than acts of bravery were not affected by these changes.

1992–2012[edit]

The BEM continued to be 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. After the 1993 review of the British honours system, the government decided that the distinction between the BEM and MBE had "become increasingly tenuous" and Prime Minister John Major expressed a view that he wanted more local people to receive their awards from the Queen herself.[6]

While awards of the BEM therefore ceased to be made to subjects of the United Kingdom, the medal continued to be awarded in the Commonwealth realms, such as the Bahamas and Cook Islands.[7]

From 2012[edit]

Following the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the BEM would once again be issued in the United Kingdom, although only in the civil division. This would start beginning in 2012, to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[6] In the 2012 Birthday Honours, released on 16 June 2012, the BEM was awarded to 293 people.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Empire_Medal — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

2863 news items

Yahoo News UK

Yahoo News UK
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 05:04:44 -0700

Reuters/Reuters - TV presenter Cilla Black poses for photographers with her Order of the British Empire medal which she received form the Queen during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, July 16. LONDON (Reuters) - British television ...

Kent Online

Kent Online
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 09:06:14 -0700

British Empire Medal recipient and former town magistrate, Victoria Pryor, has died at the age of 91. She was born on September 14, 1923, in Bordeaux, France, to Louis-Jean and Ethel Boutaric. Mrs Pryor was the eldest of two children, with her brother ...

Caerphilly Observer

Caerphilly Observer
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 01:48:45 -0700

A Caerphilly town boxing legend who received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in The Queen's Birthday Honours has selflessly dedicated his award to those who trained him. Don Braithwaite, 79, still trains youngsters at All Saints Amateur Boxing Club ...
 
Barrhead News
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 02:22:30 -0700

It is granted in recognition of people who have demonstrated dedicated service at the highest possible level, making a real impact on their local community. The medal was reintroduced into the UK in 2012 to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Kent Online

Kent Online
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 04:45:48 -0700

... a Sittingbourne resident nominated him for his charity work and non-stop cheery whistle - which gave him his nickname - as he did his rounds. The 81-year-old was 55 at the time and had recently been awarded a British Empire Medal for his worthy ...

The Voice Online

The Voice Online
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 07:27:02 -0700

In 1943, Roberts was made a section leader and the following year he was awarded a British Empire Medal for “general duties at New Cross Fire Station and for his part as a founder and pioneer of the Discussion and Education groups of the Fire Service ...

Edinburgh Evening News

Edinburgh Evening News
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:26:15 -0700

They were joined by Edinburgh British Empire Medal recipients and nominees and winners of the Evening News' Local Hero Awards in the grounds of Lauriston Castle as a thank you for their contribution to community life. More than 400 people attended the ...

Portsmouth News

Portsmouth News
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 23:00:14 -0700

Mr Welsh became head groundsman in 1961, and was later awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to cricket. After retiring Mr Welsh and his wife Elsie moved to Warren Avenue in Southsea. He was married for nearly 67 years to Elsie, who died 17 ...
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