Service Medal of the Order of St John

Service Medal of the Order of St John

Medal obverse
Awarded by Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
Type Medal
Eligibility Those who have been affiliated with the Order of St John and its subsidiary institutions
Awarded for Continuous service
Status Currently awarded
Clasps Varies by Priory
Established 1895
First awarded 1899
Next (higher) Depends on region
Next (lower) Depends on Region


The Service Medal of the Order of St John is an award given to those that have provided a requisite number or years service to the Order of St John.[1] The award was announced in the St John Ambulance Brigade General Regulations for 1895 and minted in 1899, though the first honorees had been selected the previous year.[1][2]


The cupro-nickel, rhodium-plated medal features the head of Queen Victoria and the legend VICTORIA + D + G + BRITT + REG + F + D + IND + IMP on one side, while the other displays the legend MAGNUS · PRIORATUS · ORDINIS · HOSPITALIS · SANCTI · JOHANNIS · JERUSALEM · IN · ANGLIA (Grand Priory of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England) along with five equally sized circles in a cross holding individual heraldic icons supported by sprawling St John's Wort.[2] These are the St Edward’s Crown, the shield of Great Britain, two icons of the Order of St John in England, and the cipher bearing the feathers of the Price of Wales. The "only British medal to retain the head of Queen Victoria on a current issue", the image utilized is based on a bust of the queen created by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll.[2] The medal's design has been largely unaltered since creation, though the script has changed from gothic to seriffed capital letters and the original practice of naming the recipient on the medal gradually ceased except in New Zealand, but the metal composition has evolved from its original silver to various silver-plated base metals before reaching its current composition in 1966.

The Medal is suspended from a ribbon that is 1.5 inches wide with five equally spaced stripes, of black and white. Where additional services beyond those required for the award have been performed, the ribbon may display bars and laurel leaves.[1][3] In most countries (Including New Zealand and Canada) a recipient is awarded a silver bar for every five years up to three silver bars, beyond which all silver bars are removed and a gilt bar is put on the medal for each five years. At the fifty two year mark, the recipient is awarded a laurel leaf and all bars are removed. All bars are represented on the undress ribbon by appropriately coloured Maltese crosses, while the laurel leaf is also used on the undress ribbon.[4]


The medal is typically rewarded to recognise efficient service of appropriate duration.[2] The length varies by location, with current terms for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa set for 12 years, while other territories require 10.[2] Other forms of conspicuous service have also been recognized with the medal.

In the United Kingdom, the Service Medal is after the Solomon Islands Independence Medal and before the Badge of the Order of the League of Mercy in the order precedence.[5] In Canada, the medal is after the Ontario Provincial Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and before the Commissionaire Long Service Medal.[6]

In 2010, the Order of St John England and the Islands decided that time spent as a Cadet would not count towards the Service Medal.

See also


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