The Meritorious Service Medal, also known as the MSM, was first awarded to non-commissioned officers in the British Army from 1845, but in 1919 it was decided it could also be awarded to those serving in the Royal Navy and its reserve forces.
It was awarded for ‘gallantry not in the face of the enemy’ and for meritorious service. The colours of its ribbon vary depending on the branch of the services the recipient was in and when. Up to 1916, when it was only awarded to the army, it was crimson. In 1916-17, the army ribbon was crimson with white edges, and from 1917 it had a white centre stripe added. Royal Navy ribbons were like the later army ones, as were Royal Air Force ones. Royal Marines ribbons are dark blue, except those awarded in the field from 1916-19, which again were the same as the later army ones.
The circular, silver medal shows an image of the monarch. If the monarch is in a naval uniform, the medal was awarded for service at sea, or for service on land by naval and Royal Marine personnel.
Picture © IWM (OMD 6211)