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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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324 news items

Milford Mercury
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 02:43:32 -0700

John Evans, the third recipient of the British Empire Medal, is honoured for his services to the preservation of Pembroke Dock and its military past. Born at The Rhos, Haverfordwest, and a former journalist on The Western Telegraph, John, 63, is the ...
South Wales Argus
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:33:41 -0700

A FORMER Olympic torch bearer from Torfaen who has spent the last 15 years trying to improve disability sport has received a British Empire Medal on Monday. Graeme Knowles, 59, was recognised for voluntary service to disabled adults and children ...


Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:15:00 -0700

A Pontllanfraith lady who has dedicated five decades of service to St John Ambulance has been presented with a British Empire Medal. Marion Hook has volunteered for St John for more than 50 years, holding a string of roles since first starting as a ...
Swindon Advertiser
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:25:49 -0700

THE children of Mike and Nikki Sly, stalwarts of the Swindon drama scene, are proving to be chips off the old block as they tread the boards alongside their parents. Max and Annie Sly are taking part in the autumn production of Oh! What A Lovely War by ...
ADDitude (registration)
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:03:45 -0700

... state of "overwhelm-ness," but that didn't stop her from founding the United Kingdom's first and largest ADHD support organization, for which she was recently awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal by the Queen of ...
South Wales Argus
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 02:31:27 -0700

A PONTLLANFRAITH woman has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to St John Ambulance. Marion Hook, has volunteered for St John for more than 50 years, since joining as a cadet in the Risca division in 1963, followed by a divisional ...
The Westmorland Gazette
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 07:09:14 -0700

“I've had some very nice letters and emails since receiving the British Empire Medal which has made me realise just how many people I've got to know over the years. You don't do the work for awards but it's nice to get recognition for what you've achieved.

Staffordshire Newsletter

Staffordshire Newsletter
Sun, 14 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Truck driver Joe Reece became known affectionately as “Sir Joe” to his pals around Tittensor and work colleagues at Bassetts Haulage after he was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1988 for his charity fund-raising efforts. Joe, the eldest of five ...

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