The Royal Air Force (RAF) Meritorious Service Medal was introduced in June 1918, this was due to the creation of the Royal Air Force in 1918 by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service and the need to create new awards for the new service.
The medal was awarded for valuable services in the field, as opposed to actual flying service and 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 Royal Air Force must have reached the equivalent rank of sergeant.
It was superseded in 1928 by the Empire Gallantry Medal, but revived in December 1977 under the same conditions as the Military (Army) MSM, differing only in the naming which includes RAF after the service number.
Materials: The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants. The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.
Ribbons: Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed. Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.
Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.
Ribbon – Half crimson, half light blue, with white stripes at the centre and edges, or Crimson with centre
Suspender - Ornate
Type – Military medal
Awarded for – Valuable services in the field, as opposed to actual flying service
Established – 1918
Post nominals - MSM (only if awarded for gallantry or meritorious service during the First World War)
Naming – Recipient's details are shown on the medal's rim
Description – silver medal 36mm diameter. The obverse shows the effigy of the monarch and the reverse shows the inscription 'FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE' on three lines, encircled by two laurel leaves that are tied at the bottom with a bow and separated at the top by an Imperial Crown.
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