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Meritorious Service Medal (New Zealand), awarded to Sgt. Frederick Carthy, 1903

Meritorious Service Medal (New Zealand), 1903

Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria in veils

Meritorious Service Medal (New Zealand), 1903

Reverse, inscription in centre, with a crown above and a laurel wreath around

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Meritorious Service Medal (New Zealand), 1903

Awards for Meritorious Service were instituted in the Royal Army in 1845, entitling the recipient to a medal and an annuity of 20. This was paid from a fixed fund, so that once it had been allocated no further awards could be made unless a recipient died or the fund was increased (it was doubled in 1853). One by one, similar arrangements were made by the various Colonial governments, and New Zealand's Meritorious Service Medal was instituted in 1898.
Although Queen Victoria died in 1901, the portrait on the New Zealand MSM had not yet been changed to that of the new king, Edward VII by 1903, when the inscription indicates that this medal was awarded, to Sergeant Frederick Carthy of the Royal New Zealand Artillery. Lester Watson purchased his medal at some point before 1928.