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Military Medal

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Type  Military decoration
Status  Discontinued in 1993
Military Medal

Eligibility  British and (formerly) Commonwealth forces
Awarded for  acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire
Established  25 March 1916 (back dated to 1914)
Next (higher)  Distinguished Service Medal

Until 1993, 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.

Contents

The medal was established on 25 March 1916. It was the other ranks' equivalent to the Military Cross (MC), which was awarded to commissioned officers and, rarely, to warrant officers, although WOs could also be awarded the MM. The MM ranked below the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), which was also awarded to non-commissioned members of the Army.

According to Frank Richards when the medal was first introduced, it was unpopular among regular soldiers. Richards writes: "There were no grants or allowances with the Military Medal, which without a shadow of a doubt had been introduced to save awarding too many DCMs. With the DCM went a money-grant of twenty pounds, and a man in receipt of a life pension who had won the DCM was entitled to an extra sixpence a day on to his pension. After the new decoration was introduced, for every DCM awarded there were fifty Military Medals. The old regular soldiers thought very little of the new decoration".

Recipients of the Military Medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "MM". Over 115,000 awards 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; this was made to Private Ernest Albert Corey, who served as a stretcher bearer in the Australian 55th Infantry Battalion, which served on the Western Front.

During the Second World War, over 15,000 awards of the MM were made. The decoration has occasionally been bestowed upon non-British or Commonwealth subjects, and has also been awarded to some civilians, with the first such awards being made to two female civilians for actions during the Easter Rising in 1916.

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. Several Commonwealth nations, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have established their own honours systems in the post Second World War era and now award their own gallantry decorations.

Description

The medal and ribbon had the following features:

  • A circular silver medal of 36 mm diameter. The obverse bears the effigy of the reigning monarch.
  • 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 are authorised for subsequent awards.
  • Over 135,000 people have been awarded the Military Medal. Among the more notable recipients are:

  • Walter Bingham, Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who served in Normandy and subsequently in Counter Intelligence.
  • Ian Bailey, who was awarded the medal as a Corporal in The Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War, and went on to become a Captain.
  • Billy Bennett, British comedian.
  • Geoffrey Bingham, Australian theologian and author.
  • Joe Cassidy, Scottish footballer.
  • Mairi Chisholm, British volunteer ambulance driver.
  • Douglas Clark, British rugby league footballer and wrestler.
  • Jack Clough, British footballer.
  • Jack Cock, British footballer.
  • William Coltman, who was also awarded the Victoria Cross, and was the most highly decorated NCO of the First World War.
  • Robert Gaspare Consiglio, Special Air Service member killed during Bravo Two Zero patrol, Iraq 1991.
  • Ernest Albert Corey, the only person to be awarded the MM four times.
  • Dorothie Feilding, first woman to be awarded the MM.
  • Barney F. Hajiro, Japanese American soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, awarded for his actions in the Second World War.
  • Billy Hanna, Northern Irish loyalist and commander of the Ulster Volunteer Force's Mid-Ulster Brigade, for gallantry in the Korean War.
  • William Hutt, Canadian actor.
  • Fred 'Buck' Kite, the only British soldier to be awarded the MM and two Bars in the Second World War.
  • Elsie Knocker, British volunteer nurse and ambulance driver.
  • Steven John Lane, Special Air Service member killed during Bravo Two Zero patrol, Iraq 1991.
  • Bob Lilley, founding member of the British Special Air Service, one of the "Tobruk Four".
  • Norman Washington Manley, former First Minister of Jamaica, sergeant in the British Army during the First World War.
  • John McAleese, former British Special Air Service soldier who helped end the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.
  • James McCudden, the most highly decorated British pilot of the First World War.
  • Richard McFadden, professional footballer with Clapton Orient, who was killed on the Somme on 23 October 1916.
  • Andy McNab (pseudonym), former Special Air Service soldier and author.
  • Francis Pegahmagabow, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadian Aboriginal Veteran, Canada's most highly decorated aboriginal soldier of the First World War, who was awarded 2 additional bars to his Military Medal.
  • Tommy Prince, Devil's Brigade, Canadian Aboriginal Veteran, Canada's most decorated aboriginal soldier of the Second World War, who also received the US Silver Star.
  • Bob Quinn, leading Australian rules footballer.
  • Charles Rutherford, awarded the Military Cross, Military Medal and Victoria Cross.
  • Chris Ryan (pseudonym), British Special Air Service sergeant and author.
  • Wilfred Sénéchal, New Brunswick, Canada lawyer, politician.
  • Karam Singh, Indian soldier later awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration
  • Al Slater, Special Air Service soldier killed in action. Appeared on British documentary The Paras.
  • Randall Swingler, British poet.
  • Willie Thornton, Rangers and Scotland footballer.
  • Violetta Thurstan, nurse in World War One, evacuated wounded soldiers while under fire.
  • Karl Vernon, Olympic medallist oarsman and coach.
  • Arthur Wesley Wheen, translator of All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • Arch Whitehouse, World War I RAF Officer.
  • Major-General F. F. Worthington was awarded the Military Medal for actions near Vimy Ridge.
  • Langford Wellman Colley-Priest, Australian stretcher-bearer
  • 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. 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 Thatcher is seen wearing the Military Medal. The reason why it has been awarded to him is not mentioned

    References

    Military Medal Wikipedia