Three Services as one force, being the best in everything we do  

British Commonwealth State Orders - The British Empire Medal

Obverse View

The British Empire Medal obverse view

Reverse View

The British Empire Medal reverse view

About the British Empire Medal

Instituted in 1922 as a lower level award connected with the Order of the British Empire, the British Empire Medal (BEM) was originally awarded to non commissioned officers and civilians for meritorious service. Between 1957 and 1974 the medal and various grades of the Order of the British Empire were also awarded for gallantry, and this was denoted by crossed oak leaves on the ribbon. This policy was discontinued in 1974 on the introduction of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. The British Empire Medal was awarded to New Zealand military personnel until December 1995.

Awards of the British Empire Medal were normally announced in the New Year or Sovereign's Birthday Honours Lists.

Royal Warrant

British State Honours are instituted under Royal Warrants signed by the reigning Sovereign at the time the Order or Honour was created. More information on British State Honours can be viewed on the Buckingham Palace website.


Most State Honours do not have separate Regulations. Instructions for the administration of the Order or Honour are usually included in the Royal Warrant. The composite document containing the Royal Warrant and Instructions is usually referred to as the Statutes of the Order.

Clasps and Bars

There are no clasps or bars for this award.

Order of Wear

The position of this award in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.

Lists of Awards of the British Empire Medal

The last two New Zealand lists of awards of the British Empire Medal are published on the New Zealand Honours Unit website:

30 December 1995 - The New Year Honours List 1996

5 June 1995 - The Queen's Birthday Honours List 1995

Earlier lists of Awards of the British Empire Medal are available online on:

1) The Gazette: . Search the London Gazette using the date of announcement and/or publication of the Honours List in the London Gazette.

For example, the New Zealand New Year Honours List 1959 is viewable (in three separate pdf files) at: (p.41) (p.42) (p,43)

For more information on awards and accreditations in The Gazette see: - 'A Personal and National Record of Achievement: awards and accreditations in The Gazette' (includes the London Gazette, the Edinburgh Gazette and the Belfast Gazette)

Image used for separation of Breaking News articles

2) Most of the New Zealand Honours Lists since 1952 are also available as text on Wikipedia.

For example, see for the text of the New Zealand New Year Honours List 1959.

Each Wikipedia entry also provides a link to the first page of the relevant London Gazette announcement, from which the other pages can be accessed.

It is not known who added this large amount of information about New Zealand Honours Lists to Wikipedia.

Please note that the Wikipedia lists are not authoritative and any data should be checked against the original source: the New Zealand Gazette (available online for awards since 1993) or the London Gazette.

Notes on The London Gazette announcements:

1, For civilians these include a brief description of the meritorious service being recognised. For example, 'for services to the community', or 'for services to drama'.

2. For military personnel the London Gazette announcement does not describe the service being recognised.

3. Service numbers for military personnel were normally included in the London Gazette announcement. The exception is for older honours lists, for example from the 1950s, where service numbers were not included for officers of the Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force, but were included for other ranks (tri-Service) and for New Zealand Army officers.