- Meritorious Service Medal (United Kingdom)
The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a silver medal for distinguished service, or for gallantry, principally by non-commissioned officers of all of the British armed forces and of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service.
Following historic variations between the medals awarded in each of the armed forces, including slight differences in design and in the criteria for the award, the same medal is now issued for all of the services.
To be awarded the MSM, an individual must have "good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service, with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout". Other ranks must have at least twenty years service, must already hold Long Service and Good Conduct Medals, and for the Army and the Royal Air Force must have reached the equivalent rank of sergeant. Officers of any service can also be considered for the medal immediately after being commissioned, provided they meet the other criteria, but not later.
The number of MSMs awarded is limited: no more than forty-nine a year may be awarded in the Royal Navy, three in the Royal Marines, eighty-nine in the Army and sixty in the Royal Air Force, and in practice these numbers are not reached.
The medal has the sovereign's profile on one side, on the other a small crown and a wreath surrounding the inscription For Meritorious Service. The recipient's name, rank and unit is inscribed on the rim. If a sovereign is shown in naval uniform, then the medal was awarded for service at sea or with a Naval or Royal Marines unit on land.
The medal's ribbon has had various colours:
- Army, 1845-1916: crimson
- Army, 1916-1917: crimson with white edges
- Army, 1917-: crimson with white edges and a white centre stripe
- Royal Navy: crimson with white edges and a white centre stripe
- Royal Marines: dark blue
- Royal Marines (award in the field, 1916-1919): crimson with white edges and a white centre stripe
- Royal Air Force: crimson and light blue, with white edges and a white centre stripe
The British Army's medal was instituted in 1845, to recognise meritorious service by non-commissioned officers, and recipients were also granted an annuity. During 1916-1919, army NCOs could be awarded the medal immediately for meritorious service in the field.
The medal for Royal Marines was instituted in 1849, for gallantry or for distinguished service. As a gallantry medal, it was superseded by the Naval Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. As with the Army, during 1916-1919 NCOs of the Royal Marines could be awarded the medal in the field. Since 1977, the Royal Marines' medal is only awarded for long service and is identical to the Royal Navy's.
The Royal Navy's medal was instituted in 1919, for gallantry not in the face of the enemy and for meritorious service by petty officers and senior naval ratings. As a gallantry award, it was superseded by the Empire Gallantry Medal in 1928, but resumed in 1977. It is now awarded to senior NCOs in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Women's Royal Naval Service and Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service.
Royal Air Force
- British and Commonwealth orders and decorations
- Meritorious Service Medal at mod.uk]
-  RFA & MSM
- Search over 5 million campaign medal cards on The UK National Archives' website.
- UK Medals - MSM at stephen-stratford.co.uk
- Queen's Regulations: Paragraphs 5.392 and 10.006-007
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