Distinguished Service Medal (1937-1949)
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The Distinguished Service Medal was established through a memorial from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty on October 14, 1914. It was considered a lesser companion of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal and was awarded until 1993 when it was replaced by the Distinguished Service Cross.
The Silver Medal was originally awarded to Chief Petty Officers, Petty Officers, and enlisted men of the Royal Navy, and Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted men of the Royal Marines in recognition of acts of bravery where the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was not suitable. In 1940, it was extended to Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted men of the Royal Air Force who served alongside the Fleet, and in 1942 it was extended to Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted men of the British Army who served on Merchant Navy ships. In 1943, it was also extended to Merchant Navy personnel equivalent to the rank of Petty Officer or Seaman.
The Medal could also be awarded multiple times to the same recipient after 1916, in which case a clasp was worn on the ribbon to denote each additional award.
There are multiple versions of the award that differ in the obverse engraving and inscription. All medals were issued named, although both the typeface and style of the inscription have changed over time. The bar clasps awarded during the First World War were inscribed with the date of the recognized action on the reverse, but no bars awarded after this time appear with official inscriptions.
There may be additional versions that differ in size.
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