The Mercantile Marine War Medal
1914 - 1918
 

    Instituted by the Board of Trade to commemorate the war service of the officers and men of the Mercantile Marine. Qualification was one or more voyages through a danger zone. Recipients also received the British War Medal and these two medals are the typical issue for the Mercantile Marine. Men who transferred in or out of the Mercantile Marine to/from the fighting services would frequently gain entitlement to the Victory Medal and occasionally the 1914 or 1914-15 Star if appropriate, and still retain eligibility for the the Mercantile Marine War Medal. Service solely in the Mercantile Marine does not count for the Victory Medal or the WW1 campaign stars.  Service in coastal trades - fishermen, lightships, pilots etc also qualified for this medal.

  Description: 36mm in bronze, obverse has the 'coinage' Mackennal portrait of King George V with the usual legend. Reverse depicts a merchant steamer ploughing through heavy seas, to port is a sinking submarine and in the distance a sailing ship. In exergue the inscription: For War Service Mercantile Marine 1914 - 1918. Suspension is by means of non-swivelling straight bar.

  Naming:  Impressed in small or large sans-serif capitals. The recipient's first given name is often in full.

  Ribbon: Green and red, divided by a narrower central white stripe, representing the merchant ship's starboard, port and steaming lights respectively.   

 

 
Issue Packet for The Mercantile Marine War Medal

Mercantile Marine War Medal.
This Medal should be worn on the left breast with the King’s head showing. The red stripe of the riband should be nearest the left arm. Board of Trade.
 

 
 
 
Medal designers:
Obverse: Bertram Mackennal Reverse: Harold Stabler
   
   
 

Memorial Scrolls, Plaques and Condolence Slips for the Mercantile Marine:

...click to enlarge...
Mercantile Marine Memorial
Scroll (Scarce)
Narrow 'H' type Memorial Plaque is
usual for the Mercantile Marine.
Mercantile Marine Condolence
 Slip. (Scarce)
Scroll text:
This scroll is written to honour that great company of our men who though trained only to the peaceful traffic of the sea yet in the hour of national danger gave themselves with the ancient skill and endurance of their breed to face new perils and new cruelties of war and in right cause served fearlessly to the end. And this is written further to ensure that among the rest shall be ever freshly remembered the name and service of …[name]
Condolence Slip text:
Buckingham Palace.   I send you this Memorial on behalf of my people and myself. We all desire that the brave and loyal service of the Mercantile Marine in war-time shall be gratefully recorded, and that the names of those who gave their lives for us shall be handed down with honour from one generation to another. George RI.
 

The loss of a British Merchant Ship, WW1.

 
 

 

Mercantile Marine War Medal

 
 
 

Above: the two naming styles normally encountered for British recipients; impressed large or small sans-serif capitals.

 
 

 

Number and gross tonnage of British merchant vessels and fishing vessels
lost through enemy action during each month of the war ; and number of lives lost.

 
Year and Month British Merchant Vessels  British Fishing Vessels
No. Gross
Tonnage
 Lives
 lost
No. Gross
Tonnage
 Lives
 lost
 
1914.  
August . . . 9 40,254 - 26 4,438 5
September . . 21 88,219 29 6 1,032 25
October . . . 19 77,805 42 2 283 5
November. . . 5 8,888 - 6 460 42
December. . . 10 26,035 16 5 780 18
Total. . . 64 241,201 69 45 6,993 95
 
1915  
January . . . 11 32,054 21 2 222 -
February . . . 14 36,372 30 - - -
March . . . 23 71,479 161 1 289 1
April . . . 11 22,453 38 11 1,930 22
May . . . 19 84,025 1,208 32 5,648 32
June . . . 31 83,198 81 60 8,117 26
July . . . 20 52,847 28 39 4,427 26
August . . . 49 148,464 248 38 2,890 9
September . . 30 101,690 77  8 445 12
October . . . 17 54,156 42 - - -
November . . 32 94,493 118 1 162 2
December. . . 21 74,490 419 - - -
Total. . . 278 855,721 2,471 192 24,130 130
 
1916.  
January . . . 16 62,288 64 7 357  -
February . . . 26 75,860 291 2 68 -
March  . . . 26 99,089 73 7 607 9
April . . . 43 141,193 131 3 216 -
May. . . 20 64,521 14 5 201 1
June. . . 16 36,976 64 - - -
July . . 28 82,432 69 36 2,796 2
August . . . 23 43,354 8 13 1,672 9
September . . . 42 104,572 20 38 4,811 -
October . . . 49 176,248 197 9 1,138 -
November . . . 49 168,809 100 15 1,600 8
December . . . 58 182,292 186 6 436 9
Total . . .  396 1,237,634 1,217 141 13,902 38
 
1917.  
January . . . 49 153,666 276 16 2,020 2
February . . . 105 313,486 402 30 3,478 23
March . . . 127 353,478 699 43  3,586 3
April . . . 169 545,282 1,125 41 5,920 14
May . . . 122 352,289 591 19 1,448 18
June . . . 122 417,925 416 21 1,342  -
July. . . 99 364,858 468 18 2,736 6
August 91 329,810 462 5 242 6
September . . . 78 196,212 356 7 245 5
October . . . 86 276,132 608 5 227 19
November . . . 64 173,560 420 3 87 -
December. . . 85 253,087 585 5 413 17
Total. . . 1,197 3,729,785 6,408 213 21,744 113
 
1918.  
January . . . 57 179,973 291 10 375 1
February . . . 69 226,896 697 12  686 20
March . . . 82 199,458 510 10 293 10
April . . . 72 215,543 489 3  241 -
May . . . 60 192,436 407 16 504 7
June . . . 51 162,990 469 6 639 17
July  . . . 37 165,449 202 12 555 3
August . . . 41 145,721 217 13 1,536 -
September. . . 48 136,859 521 1 142 -
October. . .  25 59,229 318 - - -
To November 11. . . 2 10,195 1 1 25 -
Total. . . 544 1,694,749 4,122 84 4,996 58
 
Grand Total to 11th November 1918 2,479 7,759,090 14,287 675 71,765 434
 

 
 
 

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