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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.
18867 videos foundNext > 

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 ...

Grounds Manager receives British Empire Medal

Friends, family and colleagues of Harper Adams University's Grounds Manager, Mark Hall, gathered at the university campus to witness Mark receiving his ...

Queens British Empire Medal Honour: Kamal El-Hajji

Kamal El-Hajji receives a BEM from Lord Petre on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen for services to the UK Ministry of Justice.

WARTIME STORIES,(THE BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL) BY WALTER NOTTAGE, WW 2.

WALTER NOTTAGE TELLS OF THE STORY LEADING UP TO RECEIVING THE BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL FROM KING GEORGE V1,

Church organist awarded British Empire Medal

Church organist Edward Kilpin been awarded a British Emprie Medal for his services to the community. He has played the organ at St Mary The Virgin Church in ...

Stuart Russell (22) Awarded British Empire Medal

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 the) ...

Natasha Lambert's Dad Gary comment on her British Empire Medal

Natasha Lambert, the young sailor who's completed four major challenges in the last four years, has received the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday ...

1958 Milkha Singh winning gold medal 440y The British Empire Games Cardiff Commonwealth Games

1958 Milkha Singh winning gold medal 440y The British Empire Games Cardiff Commonwealth Games.

Author Eileen Younghusband Receives British Empire Medal (BEM)

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.

18867 videos foundNext > 

3294 news items

Romford Recorder

Romford Recorder
Sat, 27 Jun 2015 03:52:30 -0700

Shirley Ward, from Cranham, is going to be awarded a British Empire Medal as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours for organising trips which raises money for Hall Mead School, James Oglethorpe Primary School, a church and the 1st Cranham Scout Group ...

Birmingham Mail

Birmingham Mail
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:33:16 -0700

Mohammed Zafran, from Small Heath, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM), after being nominated by Prime Minister David Cameron for setting up All 4 Youth And Community and other initiatives. The father-of-two was spurned into action after ...

ChronicleLive

ChronicleLive
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:32:35 -0700

Now the 22-year-old has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM). She said: “It was horrible, what happened to Alan. I think it touched and affected everyone and I just wanted to help him. But receiving an award is surreal. “It is such a lovely surprise.

Gazette Live

Gazette Live
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 09:36:56 -0700

The former police officer and pastor and has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) by The Queen for services to children of the world through football, for his work with Lionsraw. The BEM is granted in recognition of military or civil service to ...

The Courier

The Courier
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:35:26 -0700

Gordon Aikman, 30, who is from Fife, is being awarded the British Empire Medal for his efforts to raise awareness of the disease, which he was diagnosed with last year. Scots from all walks of life are celebrated in the awards, with Aileen Paterson ...

Shields Gazette

Shields Gazette
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:30:59 -0700

A selfless South Tynesider who has raised thousands for charity has been awarded a British Empire Medal. A selfless South Tynesider who has raised thousands for charity has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

ChesterChronicle.co.uk

ChesterChronicle.co.uk
Sun, 14 Jun 2015 04:01:22 -0700

A pensioner who credits volunteering with making her retirement 'lovely' has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Patricia Brian, 77, is being recognised for her service to the Frodsham and Helsby communities, but ...

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

Northampton Chronicle & Echo
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:41:28 -0700

A pensioner from Northampton who is the daughter of an army officer, wife of a lieutenant colonel and mum to a squadron leader has been awarded the British Empire Medal after 58 years of helping soldiers and their families. Shirley Napier, aged 80 ...
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