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The Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service 


The original Merchant Navy Medal, recognising the valuable contribution of those serving in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets, was a private medal awarded through a charitable initiative by the Merchant Navy Medal Fund. The Rev. Dr Mike Keulemans established it. 

The first ceremony occurred in Liverpool in 2005, where the Lord Mayor of Liverpool awarded nine medals. As the Medal evolved, the ceremony moved from Liverpool to the Mission to Seafarers church in London and Trinity House. At this time, the Merchant Navy Welfare Board then took over the administration of the Medal. In the eleven years it existed, 161 medals were awarded. This medal, unlike the new 2015 medal, has Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson on the front. 

The Merchant Navy Medal

Following a public campaign to see this private medal be granted a place in the Order of Wear, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, signed the Royal Warrant for a new state award in 2015 for 'The Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service'. The powers to award this medal were delegated from the Crown to the Secretary of State for Transport. 

The Department manages the nominations process for the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service for Transport. A maximum of twenty medals can be awarded annually. Nominations are assessed by a Board chaired by the DfT Maritime Director, Petra Wilkinson CBE, and comprises of industry representatives. 


Eligibility for the Medal is limited to those who have served in the Merchant Navy or Fishing Fleets of the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and the British Overseas Territories. Candidates must have shown devotion to duty and exemplary service, which has been of particular value and had constituted an outstanding example to others.