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Member of the British Empire medal awarded to T W Ellis of the merchant navy for bravery during WWII

Date: 1939-1945
Overall: 95 x 48 x 9 mm
Medium: Metal, ribbon
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Victoria Barracks Army Museum
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00047677

User Terms

    Part of a group of medals and certificates associated with John Fisher, G Graham, F W Joliff, J Hall and T W Fisher.

    SignificanceThis diverse collection of merchant navy medals and certificates records several significant military achievements and the wartime service of Australian merchant mariners.
    HistoryAccording to a newspaper clipping which accompanied the medal [held in the object file], Chief Officer Ellis assisted the captain of his ship to save it after it was torpedoed and bombed by long range aircraft hundreds of miles from land.

    Order of the British Empire - This Order was formed in 1917 by King George V to reward service to the British Empire in the United Kingdom and abroad. Originally having only a Civil Division, a Military Division was added in 1918 to acknowledge distinguished military service of a non-combative nature.

    The Order has five classes of appointment in each division and a medal of the Order. In descending order, the classes are:
    Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
    Knight/Dame Commander (KBE, DBE)
    Commander (CBE)
    Officer (OBE)
    Member (MBE)
    Medal (BEM)

    Originally the ribbon for the Civil Division was purple with Military Division awards identified with a central scarlet stripe. However in 1937, this was altered to a rose pink ribbon with light grey edges with an additional central light grey stripe for the Military Division awards. Awards in the Order (including the Medal) could be used as a gallantry award but it was not until 1957 that awards for gallantry were more easily identified with the introduction of a silver oak leaf device to be worn on the ribbon and the words ‘For Gallantry’ were added to the citation. Use of the Order to acknowledge gallantry ceased in 1974 with the establishment of the Queen's Gallantry Medal. Australians figure prominently at all levels in the awards made with some 16,900 recipients.

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