The Badge of the Order of Merit

The Order of Merit

Sir Robert Baden-Powell, O.M

Order of Merit. British honorary institution founded by Edward VII in 1902 to reward those who provided especially eminent service in the armed forces or particularly distinguished themselves in science, art, literature, or the promotion of culture. The order is limited to only 24 members, although the British monarch can appoint foreigners as "honorary members." The order carries no title of knighthood, but a member is entitled to add "O.M." after his name. It has a civilian and a military division. Both men and women are admitted into the order; Florence Nightingale was the first woman awarded the honour (1907), and not another woman received the order until the induction of Dorothy Hodgkin in 1965. The badge of the order portrays a crown with the motto "For Merit." An Indian Order of Merit (no longer in existence) was established in 1837.

From Britannica Online

"Order of Merit." Britannica Online.
[May 18, 1997]

The Order of Merit is the gift of the Sovereign and is awarded only on rare occasions. From the reign of Edward VII through the reign of George VI, Spink’s Catalog of British Orders, Decorations and Medals lists a total of 96 awards: 22 in the Military Division, 67 Civil and 7 Honorary. These included Sir Winston Churchill, General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower (later President of the USA), Field Marshal Alexander and Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten.

The badge of the Order of Merit is worn suspended by a ribbon at the collar. (After: E. C. Joslin, Spink’s Catalog of British Orders, Decorations and Medals, 1983). The ribbon on the left displays the colors of the Order. The blue represents the Order of the Garter and the Red, the Order of the Bath.

Sir Robert Baden-Powell
Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell
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