British Commonwealth State Orders - The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Note: The Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire pictured (above left) is shown with the Military Division ribbon 2nd type (1936 onwards). The Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire pictured (above right) is shown with the Military Division ribbon 1st type (1918 to 1936).
About this Order
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was established by King George V in June 1917 for services to the British Empire. The Order has five classes and a medal. The five classes are Knight and Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight and Dame Commander (KBE / DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE).
In December 1918 the Order was split into two divisions: a Civil Division for civilian recipients; and a Military Division to the Order for awards to be conferred on commissioned officers and warrant officers for distinguished service in action. The Military Division of the Order has a different coloured ribbon to that of the Civil Division. The insignia of the Civil and Military Divisions is identical, distinguished only by the respective ribbons.
Prior to the creation of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996, the Order of the British Empire was the most common honour awarded to New Zealand military personnel.
About the ribbon
1st type - 1917 to 1936. A purple 38mm ribbon was used for all awards from June 1917 to December 1918, and for Civil Division awards between December 1918 and 1936. Awards under the Military Division of the Order between December 1918 and 1936 were distinguished with a narrow central scarlet stripe on the purple ribbon.
2nd type - 1936 onwards. Awards under the Civil Division of the Order since 1936 have had a 38mm ribbon of rose-gray, edged with narrow stripes of pearl grey. Awards under the Military Division of the Order are distinguished with a narrow central stripe of pearl-grey.
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 here.
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
Between 1957 and 1974, an emblem of silver crossed oak leaves was added to the ribbon of the Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE), when the award was made in recognition of an act or acts of gallantry.
Order of Wear
The position of these honours in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed through the following links: Knight and Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight and Dame Commander (KBE / DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE).
Knights and Dames Rolls
The New Zealand Honours Secretariat maintains Knights and Dames Rolls for New Zealanders appointed to these classes of various British and New Zealand Orders.