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British Commonwealth Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards - The Polar Medal

Obverse View

The Polar Medal obverse view

Reverse View

The Polar Medal reverse view

About this medal

The Polar Medal was instituted in 1904 to recognise outstanding service in the Arctic and the Antarctic. Over 1000 Polar Medals have been awarded many of them to New Zealanders who served in various Antarctic expeditions and at Scott Base. The medal has only been awarded eight times to the same recipient for service in both Polar Regions. Three women are among the recipients one of whom is Mary Bradshaw a New Zealand scientist.

In 2006 the Polar Medal was replaced in New Zealand by the New Zealand Antarctic Medal.

Royal Warrant

Many of these Decorations and Awards are very old and the Royal Warrants which instituted them have been subject to significant amendment during their currency. More information on the Royal Warrant and criteria for the British Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards can be found in the publications listed in the Bibliography . A publication titled ‘British Gallantry Awards' by P.E. Abbott and J.M.E. Tamplin is particularly recommended.

Medal Regulations

Most Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards do not have separate Regulations. Instructions for their administration are usually included in the Royal Warrant.

Clasps and Bars

Clasps for subsequent Polar expeditions are awarded.

Order of Wear

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