My Maternal Grandfather
The Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service
The British Empire Medal was created by Royal Warrant on December 29th 1922 and replaced the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (1907-1922). The medal was awarded for meritorious service in the British Empire. In 1922, the medal was divided into ‘The Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Gallantry (known as the Empire Gallantry Medal - EGM)’ and ’The Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service – BEM)’. After the EGM was superseded by the George Cross on September 24th, 1940, the BEM continued to be awarded for gallantry, but a degree less than that required to earn the George Medal. A bar was awarded for additional acts of gallantry and from 1957 on a silver oak leaf emblem was worn on the ribbon to signify that the award was for gallantry and not for service. The award is a circular silver medal with a diameter of 1.42 inches. On the obverse is the picture of ‘Britannia’ seated, with the sun to her right. Legends around the edge reads FOR GOD AND THE EMPIRE and on the below of the award is the inscription FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE. The EGM had the inscription FOR GALLANTRY on the bottom. On the reverse of the award is the Royal Cypher surmounted by a crown with the words : INSTITUTED BY KING GEORGE V within a border of four heraldic lions. Until 1938 the civil ribbon was purple (1.25 inches wide) and the military ribbon had a narrow central stripe added. From 1938 the civil ribbon is pink with pearl-grey edges and the military ribbon has a narrow, pearl-grey central stripe added. Military awards have the service number, full name and unit or service engraved and civil awards have the names in full engraved. During World War 2 a total of 1236 medals were awarded. For merit 1202 medals and for gallantry 34 medals. To put it into perspective of the total Empire and Commonwealth population of over 500 million nominally eligible for the award this represents just 0.00025% or 2 ½ in a million.
To Return to my Home Page To Return to my Home Page Albert Simpson B.E.M.
As head foreman for Worthington and Simpson Ltd., he was instrumental in switching to vital war production particularly with regard to the development of the 17 ponder anti-tank gun. This was  arguably the best anti-tank weapon of the war and of vital importance in defeating the overwhelming superiority of the enemy armoured elements.
           ALBERT SIMPSON B.E.M. Awarded for meritorious service to the country during the second world war. By order of His Majesty, King George the 5th,on 31st December 1943. Recorded in the 4th Supplement to the London Gazette, 4th January 1944, page 74.