Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Medals, metal discs, stamped with some device, struck to commemorate some event or given for distinction gained in the naval or military service, for heroism or for other merit. In the navy and army medals were, until the 19th century, seldom given to any save officers; but after the accession of Queen Victoria medals were awarded to men of all ranks who had been engaged in certain previous campaigns and actions. These were of silver. For over two hundred actions the same medal was granted, with a distinctive variation in the form of a bar or clasp to be worn upon the ribbon above the decoration. Since the first general introduction of the practice of giving medals to all ranks, the system has been continued in the British services. The term medal also includes any sort of metal disc struck to commemorate a special event or individual. Medals for life-saving are given by the Royal Humane Society, the Royal National Institution, the Board of Trade, the Tayleur Fund, Lloyd's, the Marine Society, etc. After the battle of the Nile Mr. Davison, Lord Nelson's prize-agent, gave, at his own expense, medals in gold, silver, bronze-gilt, or bronze to those who had been engaged. Mr. Boulton acted similarly after Trafalgar, and 'after St. Vincent Lord St. Vincent gave medals to the people of his flagship. Before the 16th century medals were generally cast or engraved. Among the great medallists may be mentioned Thomas Simon in the time of Cromwell and Charles II.; Pistrucci, who designed the coins of George IV.; D. F. Loos, who died in 1819; G. B. Loos, who died in 1843; and W. Wyon, who died in 1851. Queen Victoria's Jubilee medal (1887), which was given to her Majesty's Household, to the police, etc., was designed by Sir E. Boehm and Sir F. Leighton. The Albert Medal, granted by her Majesty for saving life, was instituted in 1866, divided into two classes in 1867, and made to include gallantry ashore as well as at sea in 1877.