Introduced on 20th November 1830 and ratified by King William IV, the "Sailor King", on 24th August 1831 the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1830), also known as the "anchor type" was awarded to selected Navy ratings after altogether 21 years of service and good conduct. The medal remained in use until 1847, ten years into the reign of Queen Victoria when it was replaced by the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1848).
The qualifying period was reduced to ten years in 1874, and then increased again to eighteen years. The time served requirement was finally reduced to fifteen years with effect from 1 December 1977.
The medal was awarded according to a quota system to only a few selected and qualified ratings of a ship's company, with the number of awards based on the total complement of the ship, and only when the ship was decommissioned and its ratings paid off at the end of a period of time, usually a minimum of three years. Along with the medal, a recipient was paid a gratuity of £15 for petty officers or sergeants Royal Marines, and £5 for seamen and marines
The Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1848) that replaced the anchor type medal was of a completely new design, 36 millimetres in diameter, with the effigy of Queen Victoria on the obverse, the image of a three-masted man-of-war on the reverse and a new Navy blue ribbon with white edges.
Regular Force officers were not eligible for any long service awards since, as they held a commission, they were expected to serve honourably and for a long period of time. From March 1981 officers also became eligible for the award of the medal, but only if at least twelve of the fifteen years of his or her service had been in the ranks and provided that the conduct requirements for the award of the medal had been met. Also from that date, an officer became eligible for the award of the clasp if at least twenty-two of the thirty years of his or her service had been in the ranks and provided that the conduct requirements had been met.
In March 2015 the intention to introduce a single new long service medal for all three Arms of the Service was announced, to replace the Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military), the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1848) and the Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. The proposed medal will be awarded after fifteen years of service, regardless of rank, and while the good conduct element of the award criteria will remain, it will only apply to the last five years of the fifteen-year aggregate time served requirement. With this medal Officers, who have had no medallic recognition for long service unless they were commissioned after serving at least twelve years in the ranks, will also be rewarded for their dedication. Subject to agreement from Her Majesty The Queen, a new medal design will be commissioned and a presentation will take place.
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 – Plain dark blue (1831); Dark blue with white edges (1848)
Suspender - Ring ‘Anchor type’ (1831); Straight (1848)
Type – Military long service medal
Eligibility – Naval Other Ranks, Officers from 1981
Awarded for – 21, 10, 18 or 15 years’ service, as prescribed from time to time
Established – introduced in 1830 remained in use until 1847, when it was replaced by the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1848)
Post nominals - None
Naming – Between 1875 and 1877 a number of medals had the years of service added to the recipients’ details, either engraved or impressed on the edge. Engraved naming was used from 1875 to 1877, but then until 1901 impressed naming was used.
Clasps / Bar – The clasp can be awarded for an additional fifteen years of service, subject to the same requirements as those for the award of the medal. When the ribbon bar alone is worn, a silver rosette on the ribbon denotes the award of a clasp.
Description – Silver medal 34mm diameter (1831); 36mm diameter (1848) The issue known as the "anchor type" on the obverse depicted a anchor surmounted by a crown and enclosed in an oak wreath. The reverse shows the recipients details and has a plain ring suspender.
The second type, adopted in 1848 depicts on the obverse the sovereigns’ effigy and the reverse shows the image of a three-masted man-of-war surrounded by a rope tied at the foot with a reef knot and having the legend ‘FOR LONG SERVICE AND GOOD CONDUCT’ round the circumference. This medal originally had a wide suspender bar of 38mm, but a narrow suspender was substituted in 1874.
Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’. They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle. The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned. Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order.
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