Order of the British Empire and British Empire Medal
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire -BE- was instituted in 1917 by King George V for civilian and wartime service and gallantry in war, currently for meritorious service to government. In 1918 a military division was added.
There are five classes: Knight/Dame Grand Cross -GBE-; Knight/Dame Commander -KBE/DBE; Commander -CBE-; Officer -OBE- and Member -MBE. Conferment of the two highest classes entails admission into knighthood, non-British citizens who receive the Order are known as "honorary member".
The insignia bears the effigies of King George V and Queen Mary, along with the motto: "For God and the Empire. The ribbon is 1.25" wide and coloured red with three narrow vertical stripes of silver, one down the centre of the ribbon, the other two down each side.
Associated with the Order is the British Empire Medal -BEM-, also instituted by King George V which is awarded to persons not eligible for admission into any of the five classes of the Order.
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