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Military Medal

The effigy of the reigning sovereign surrounded by an inscription.  The design for the original issue is an un-crowned, uniformed bust of King George V with the inscription ‘GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP:’  There are six types, all differing in detail:  GVR, GVR (crowned head), GVIR (first type), GVIR (second type), EIIR (first type), EIIR (second type).

The words ‘FOR BRAVERY IN THE FIELD’ with the relevant Crowned Royal Cypher (GVR, GVIR, of EIIR) above; all within a laurel wreath.

Approx. 36 mm diameter.

Medals and bars are of silver.

Approx. 32 mm wide.  Navy blue with three central white stripes separated by two red stripes all of equal width.

The ribbon passes through an ornamental, scroll-pattern, swivelling suspender.

Usually officially impressed on the edge in block capitals with the recipients Number, Rank, Name and Unit, although some were issued to Indian troops with engraved naming.  Un-named military medals are also known to exist.

A straight bar bearing a laurel spray pattern is awarded for each subsequent act of bravery for which the Military Medal would have been awarded.

The most common British gallantry award, it was instituted in March 1916 in recognition of individual or combined acts of bravery in the field by Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the army.  Some of the early awards were for acts of bravery in actions in the early part of the war.  In June 1916 it was extended to women, in exceptional circumstances, for specific acts of bravery and devotion under fire.

Around 120,000 Military Medals were awarded for World War One, 1914-18, and about 5,800 first bars, 180 second bars and one third bar.  Awards to women numbered 127, plus about a dozen honorary awards made to foreign women. 

In World War Two, 1939-45, nearly 16,000 Military Medals were awarded, with 164 first bars, and two second bars.  For lesser campaigns between the wars about 260 awards were made.  Since World War Two about 700 awards have been made and a few first bars awarded for operations in such places as Palestine, Malaya, Korea, Aden, Borneo, Northern Ireland and the Falklands.

Some Military Medals have been awarded to Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel for operations on land.

The award of the medal to women was most commonly to nurses, auxiliaries and ambulance drivers serving in the various aid organisations immediately in the rear of the front lines in France and Flanders and in Italy during World War One.

All awards of the Military Medal are notified in the London Gazette, but relatively few have the citation published.  World War One citations are not usually available.

The King’s Own
During World War One close on 350 Military Medals were awarded to men of the Regiment, several with one bar, and two, to Sergeants R. Snape and J. J. Wright of the 8th Battalion, with two bars.  One Military Medal was awarded to The King’s Own for service in Palestine in 1938-39 whilst World War Two saw over fifty further Military Medals awarded to men of the various battalions and the King’s Own units which had been converted to Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Artillery wartime units.

Medals issued prior to 1920 are recognised by ‘R. LANC. R.’ the shortened version of the title: The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment).  After 1920, when the title changed to its final form, the shortened title ‘KINGS OWN R.’ appeared on the medals, although those to men of the ‘converted’ units did not conform to this pattern.

Military Medals in the museum's collection

The citations for Second World War MM Awards to the King’s Own can be found in the book ‘Heroic Deeds’ published by the Museum.

The Military Medal

© 2006 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum