HISTORY – Unless someone can correct me it is understood that, in 1919, a retired Royal Navy Surgeon expressed his desire to donate a sum of £100 anonymously for the purpose of striking a medal. This was to be awarded to the member of the Sick Berth Staff who had shown the greatest zeal and efficiency during the previous year.

Although outwardly a simple request, their Lordships at the Admiralty, the Master of the Royal Mint, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum were all consulted. By August 1919 the announcement of the Sick Berth Stewards' Efficiency Medal has been published in Admiralty Monthly Orders and all aspects of the award resolved with the exception of the design. A further cheque for £100 was received later that year, and because of the loss of the original cheque, a third was forwarded in January 1920. In July of that year, working models of the medal were forwarded to the Mint.

In August, however, the title 'Sick Berth Steward' was changed to Sick Berth Petty Officer and new models took a further six months to obtain. Delays in production ensued and the first medal was eventually awarded more than two years after the benefactor first wrote to the Admiralty. Problems concerning the cost of the medal and investment of the balance of funds to provide an annual income dogged the Admiralty throughout and it was not until August 1922 that a solution was found.

The first recipient of the medal was Ernest W. LOWE (351127) on 1st Jan 1920.

I think it worthy to dedicate a page to listing the recipients of this medal (see below). Any recipient of the medal who has a story to tell relating to the year that they were awarded the medal should contact the Editor of the Doc RN, please.

APPEARANCE - The Sick Berth Petty Officers’ Efficiency Medal is a gold medal struck and gilded by the Royal Mint. Following the issue of a Defence Instructions & Notices (DIN), it is awarded annually to the Petty Officer Medical Assistant / Sergeant Royal Marine Medical Assistant who demonstrates exceptional zeal and efficiency in the discharge of his/her duties during the preceding year.

The older generation amongst our readers may have noticed the title of Sergeant Royal Marine Medical Assistant in the paragraph above and may wonder what is going on!! Loblolly Boy to SB Steward to SBA to MA and now RMMAs?? It is interesting to note the change in nomenclature used along the way.


Article by Les YEOMAN, National Vice Chairman of the Royal Naval Medical Branch Ratings & Sick Berth Staff Association (RNMBR & SBS) and an ex CPOMA (May 2015)


SICK BERTH PETTY OFFICERs’ EFFICIENCY MEDAL
Awarded 1920 to 2014

NAME YEAR NAME YEAR
Ernest LOWE 1920 Geoffrey MARSHALL 1971
Thomas JAMES 1921 K. NICHOLAS 1972
John FORREST 1922 K. BLACKSHAW 1973
Arthur MEGUYER 1923 No Award 1974
Bertie HOARE 1924 Brian KILLICK 1975
Frank MITCHENER 1925 No Award 1976
Harry KELLEWAY 1926 Malcolm SERGEANT 1977
George HEATH 1927 G. HARRIS 1978
James CROXFORD 1928 John COCHRANE 1979
Frank TONKIN 1929 Ian BROWN 1980
Warwick CRAMP 1930 Ian DOUGLAS 1981
Sidney PECK 1931 Fred GERRELL 1982
John ANDREWS 1932 Don CURRIE 1983
Albert GUNN 1933 Tom TOMINEY 1984
Albert EARNHAM 1934 Nigel WOODCOCK 1985
Cyril ISLAM 1935 George BONNER 1986
William HEWITT 1936 Tom McAUSLIN 1987 1
Baden WHITE 1937 Karl RICH 1987 1
Albert LANGFORD 1938 Rod CAIN  1988
Walter WARE 1939 A.M. FORBES 1989
Walter MORNEMONT 1940 Paul BARLETTA 1990
Thomas CORBETT 1941 Dave CLOKE 1991
Will BURRIDGE 1942 P. FITZPATRICK 1992
George CHINA 1943 Dave RUSSELL 1993
Reg ANDREWS 1944 A. DAVIES 1994
Robert WAINWRIGHT 1945 Alan WALLACE 1995
Tom RUTHERFORD 1946 Geoff TODD 1996
James DUNCAN 1947 Darren PARKER 1997
Harry GAY 1948 Mick BIRCH 1998
Edward GROVER 1949 Kev SHORE 1999
Basil ROWLEY 1950 Daz HEMMINGS 2000
Cliff ELWORTHY 1951 Ian RICHARDSON 2001
Doug VAUGHAN 1952 Linda FERGUS 2002
Tom BROWNE 1953 D. PATERSON 2003
George MORRELL 1954 N. HUGHES 2004
John BENNISON 1955 Dave ROPER 2005
Charles BELLINGER 1956 G. McGUIRE 2006
Joseph CONN 1957 T. SMITH 2007
John HAMMOND 1958 T. HAVERS 2008
No Award 1959 D. MORRISON 2009
Eric WIGG 1960 Tim JOHNSTON 2010
Roy ELLISON 1961 Mark STENT 2011
Don FRASER 1962 Nigel CORBETT 2012
John STOWE 1963 Shaun JENKINS  2013
K. ELLIOT 1964 Wendy FRADD 2014
G. MICHIE 1965 Nick ELLERY 2015
No Award 1966 Sarah HART 2016
J. SHERIDAN 1967 Matthew RODWAY 2017 
D. BUDDING 1968 Graham KIMBER 2018
M. STRETTON 1969   2019
C.J. COX 1970    

 1.  Two awards were made for 1987