The Royal Navy Meritorious Service Medal MSM was introduced on 14 January 1919 and originally intended to reward either specific acts of gallantry not in the presence of the enemy or for meritorious service performed by petty officers and ratings. The gallantry awards were superseded by the introduction of the British Empire Gallantry Medal in 1928. However, the award was discontinued in 1928 and re-instituted after a gap of nearly fifty years in December 1977.
The Royal Marine Meritorious Service Medal MSM was introduced on 15 January 1849. The silver, 36 millimetre diameter medal has the profile of the sovereign on the obverse and the reverse side has a crown and wreath around the words "For Meritorious Service". The recipient's details are shown on the medal's rim. The ribbon for this medal is dark blue with no edge or stripes.
This medal was originally intended to recognise either specific acts of gallantry or distinguished service. The gallantry aspects of this medal were replaced by the Naval Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM). Sergeants who had a minimum of 24 years, the last 14 years as Sergeant, could be eligible for the medal if their character was deemed to have been sufficiently meritorious.
During the period 1916-19 Royal Marine NCOs could be awarded this medal immediately if they had performed especially meritorious service in difficult circumstances. The ribbon's colours for this immediate-award of the MSM were crimson with white stripes down both edge and the centre. The sovereign, King George V, was shown in the uniform of an Admiral or Field Marshal, signifying that the service was afloat or on land with a Naval Brigade. Since 1977 the Royal Marines' medal is only awarded for long and meritorious service.
The Meritorious Service Medal Today
The Royal Warrant for the Meritorious Service Medal was revised following the resumption of the medal in 1977. Senior non-commissioned ratings and their equivalent in the Royal Marines and Queen Alexandria's Royal Naval Nursing Service who have completed a minimum of 20 years service and who hold the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal may be considered for the award of the Medal. A maximum of 52 awards are made annually. To be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal an individual must have "good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service, with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout".
The silver, 36 millimetre diameter medal has the profile of the sovereign on the obverse and the reverse side has a crown and wreath around the words "For Meritorious Service". The recipient's details are shown on the medal's rim. The medal is suspended on a crimson ribbon with white edges and central stripe. Since its resumption in 1977 the design of the medal has been identical across the Naval Service.
Author’s Note: The following list of recipients was provided courtesy of the Naval Secretary in 2013 although it is by no means seen as a comprehensive list. Some names have been added but years unknown. It is also of significance that the nomenclature of the warrant rank has changed and far more Warrant ranks have been awarded the medal as opposed to CPO rank. Also, with the amalgamation of the RNMS with the QARNNS (ie now all Royal Navy), there are now nursing personnel being awarded the medal.
Article by Les YEOMAN, National Vice Chairman of the Royal Naval Medical Branch Ratings & Sick Berth Staff Association (RNMBR & SBS) and an ex CPOMA.
|YEAR||MONTH||SURNAME & INITIALS||RANK||PRESENTED BY|
|1919||HOWE A.D.G.||Res Wardmaster|
|1919||NEWNS J.E.||Res Wardmaster|
|1919||FLEMING A.E.||Res SBR|
|1919||LAMB S.H.||Res Wardmaster|
|1919||MAYNARD H.E.||Res SBR|
|1919||SPEAK W.E.||Res SBR|
|1923||RICHARD G.S.||A/SBPO||Awarded for services at RNSQ Yokohama- destroyed by fire & earthquake in Sep 1923|
|1923||BILTON W.||SBS||Served in HMHS Oxforshire - North African, Sicilian & Italian campaigns.|
|Award discontinued in 1928 and re-instituted in December 1977|
|1981||December||LAKE R.||FCMA||Surgeon Captain COX|
|1984||June||LINZEY M.||FCMA||Adm Sir John FIELDHOUSE|
|1990||July||BISCOE F.||WO1(MA)||Adm Sir Jeremy BLACK|
|1991||July||BIRBECK E.||CPOMA||Presented by Rear Admiral Robert Woodard Flag Officer Royal Yachts.|
|1996||December||YEOMAN L.P.||CPOMA||VAdm Sir M. BOYCE 2nd Sea Lord|