Sea Gallantry Medal, Type II, Silver Medal (1940-1948)
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The Sea Gallantry Medal was not established by Royal Warrant, but rather by an Act of Parliament in 1854 as part of the Merchant Shipping Act. It was officially enacted by the Board of Trade the following year as the Board of Trade Medal for Saving Life. It was suspended for a short period after the establishment of the Albert Medal in 1867 but was awarded again in 1875. The award was later altered by King Edward VII in 1903 and it has since been known as the Sea Gallantry Medal. It has never been officially discontinued, but no awards have been made since 1989.
The Medal was originally awarded in two categories to British citizens in recognition of acts of life-saving performed during shipwrecks on the coast of the United Kingdom, as well acts of life-saving aboard British vessels. The Medal for Gallantry was awarded to those who performed life-saving rescues at the risk of their own life, while the Medal for Humanity was awarded to those who performed life-saving rescues absent of personal risk. The Medal for Humanity was seldom awarded and was permanently discontinued in 1893. However, the Medal for Gallantry continues to be awarded for acts of life-saving in the face of extreme danger.
The Medal is classified into two Types based on design alterations made in 1904. Type I medals are large, unwearable medals which feature distinct inscriptions based on the nature of the recognized action. Type II medals are smaller, wearable medals that feature the updated name of the medal, the "SEA GALLANTRY MEDAL", on the obverse inscription. All medals are issued named, although both the style of the typeface and the inscription have changed over time.
The Medal may be awarded multiple times to the same recipient, in which case a clasp is worn on the ribbon to denote each additional award, although the
instance of an award of a clasp is only known to have occurred once in 1921.
Recipients have been entitled to use the post-nominal letters SGM since 1937. The Medal may also be awarded posthumously.
There are multiple versions of the Medal which vary by inscription according to the date, and corresponding monarch, of issue.
There may be additional versions of the Medal that differ in size.
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