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The Military Medal (MM) was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The award was established in 1916, with retrospective application to 1914, and was awarded to other ranks for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire". The award was discontinued in 1993 when it was replaced by the Military Cross, which was extended to all ranks in the British honours system, while other Commonwealth nations instituted their own awards systems in the post war period.

Military Medal
Military Medal, George V version (Obverse).jpgMilitary Medal, George V version (Reverse).jpg
Obverse and reverse of medal and ribbon
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration
Eligibility British and (formerly) Commonwealth forces
Awarded for Acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire
Status Discontinued in 1993
Established 25 March 1916
(backdated to 1914)
Order of Wear
Next (higher) Distinguished Service Medal[1]
Next (lower) Distinguished Flying Medal[1]
Related Military Cross
UK Military Medal ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar
UK MM w Bar ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar with rosette to indicate second award



The medal was established on 25 March 1916.[2] The MM was awarded to other ranks including non-commissioned officers and warrant officers. It ranked below the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), which was also awarded to other ranks including non-commissioned officers and warrant officers.[3]

When the medal was first introduced, it was unpopular among regular soldiers wrote MM and DCM recipient Frank Richards who stated "the Military Medal, which without a shadow of a doubt had been introduced to save awarding too many DCMs. … The old regular soldiers thought very little of the new decoration".[4] Both the DCM and the MM attracted a gratuity and the decoration allowance of an extra sixpence a day to veterans with a disability pension. However, decoration allowance was only awarded once even if the recipient like Frank Richards DCM MM was awarded more than one gallantry award. The ratio in the First World War was approximately five MMs awarded for every DCM.[5]

Recipients of the DCM from its creation in 1854 and the MM from its creation in 1916 were not entitled to the post-nominal letters "DCM" or "MM" until 1918.[6][7] Over 115,000 awards of the MM were made for actions during the First World War. Additionally, over 5,700 bars were awarded, as well as 180 second bars. There was one instance of a third bar being awarded;[7] this was made to Private Ernest Albert Corey, who served as a stretcher bearer in the 55th Australian Infantry Battalion, which served on the Western Front.[8] During the Second World War, over 15,000 awards of the MM were made.[7]

Eligibility for the MM was extended, by a Royal Warrant dated 21 June 1916, to women whether British subjects or foreign with the first awards gazetted on 1 September 1916. Although nurses of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) and other women serving with the British Army were treated as officers, they were not officers and ineligible for the Military Cross but could and were awarded the MM. Honorary MM awards to foreigners were not gazetted but at least 5,688 to recipients of 11 allied countries in the First World War and 660 to recipients of ten allied countries in the Second World War have been identified.[9]

In 1993, the Military Medal was discontinued. Since then, the Military Cross has been awarded to personnel of all ranks within the British honours system.[8] The MM had been awarded by Commonwealth countries, but by 1993 most had established their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours.[8][10][11]


The medal and ribbon had the following features:[3][7]

  • A circular silver medal of 36 mm diameter. The obverse bears the effigy of the reigning monarch and an appropriate inscription.
  • The reverse has the inscription "FOR BRAVERY IN THE FIELD" in four lines, surrounded by a laurel wreath, surmounted by the Royal Cypher and Imperial Crown.
  • The suspender is of an ornate scroll type.
  • The ribbon is dark blue, 1.25 inches wide, with five equal centre stripes of white, red, white, red, and white (0.125 inches each).
  • Silver, laurelled bars were authorised for subsequent awards, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon bar to indicate the award of each bar.

Obverse variationsEdit

The medal was awarded with one of six obverse designs:[9]

Notable recipients of the Military MedalEdit

French soldiers, after having been awarded the Military Medal, Battle of the Somme 1916
King George decorating U.S. Army soldier James E. Krum with the Military Medal in 1918

Over 135,000 people have been awarded the Military Medal. Among the more notable recipients are:

Popular cultureEdit

In the BBC series, Peaky Blinders, the principal protagonist/ anti- hero Thomas Michael Shelby is a recipient of the Military Medal.

In Soldier Soldier, broadcast on ITV, at the 50th D Day Anniversary, Robson Green's character, Fusilier Dave Tucker, gets a veteran called Jack Knight talking, who subsequently turns out to be a recipient of the Military Medal.

In the Dad's Army episode Branded, the platoon discover that the character Private Godfrey was a Conscientious Objector. He is then ostracized by the platoon, until they find that he won the Military Medal in the First World War whilst serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, for rescuing wounded men under enemy fire. The medal itself is central to the storyline in that it is higher than all the medals held by the rest of the platoon and is seen as a mark of true heroism which earns him great respect from them all.

In ANZAC Girls episode 6, "Courage", Sister Ross-King and three other nurses are awarded the Military Medal for bravery under fire.

In the video game Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege , the SAS character named Mike "Thatcher" Baker is seen wearing the Military Medal. The reason why it has been awarded to him is not mentioned

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "JSP 761 Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces" (PDF). p. 12A-1. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  2. ^ "No. 29535". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 4 April 1916. p. 3647.
  3. ^ a b "The British (Imperial) Military Medal". Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  4. ^ Richards, Frank. Old Soldiers Never Die. (Library of Wales) (Kindle Locations 1742-1745). Parthian Books. Kindle Edition.
  5. ^
  6. ^ British Army Order No. 13 of January 1918
  7. ^ a b c d Duffy, Michael. "Encyclopedia: Military Medal". Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "Imperial Awards". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  9. ^ a b Abbott, Peter Edward; Tamplin, John Michael Alan (1981). British Gallantry Awards (2nd ed.). London, UK: Nimrod Dix and Co. ISBN 9780902633742, Chapter 33, The Military Medal
  10. ^ "Military Valour Decorations". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Gallantry and Bravery Awards". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b "No. 54393". The London Gazette. 9 May 1996. p. 6549.

External linksEdit