The Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service was instituted by George V in 1917. It was intended to reward large numbers of workers, especially those employed in the munitions industries.
The award of the British Empire Medal entitles the recipients to place the letters “BEM” after their names.
Although a military version of the medal was instituted in 1918, it was little used by War Office. The medal was intended for 'acts of courage and self-sacrifice or specially distinguished service' rendered during war.
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.). The EGM was superceded by the George Cross in September 1940.
In 1957 it was decreed that appointments to and promotions in the Order of the British Empire and awards of the British Empire Medal, when granted for gallantry, should be distinguished by the wearing of an Emblem on the riband in crossed oak leaves, and in the announcement by an additional description “for gallantry”. Gallantry awards in the Order continued until 19 June 1974, when The Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM) was instituted.
The British Empire Medal ceased being awarded in the United Kingdom in 1992, but is still awarded by some Commonwealth Countries.
Worcestershire Regiment men who were awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal)
The rank show in the table below is that which was held at the time the Order was awarded.