Awarded to those of the Merchant Navy who entered a war zone on at least one voyage. Struck in bronze, it was issued by the Board of Trade (Britain). All ranks qualified. Approximately 12,000 were issued to Australians. The colours of the ribbon signify the lights of a ship under way.
Members of the Merchant Navy or the Mercantile Marine as it was called during the First World War who served one or more voyages through a danger zone, were eligible for this medal.
The medal was awarded by the Board of Trade rather then the King, but it is an official Imperial medal and has the same status as the other First World War campaign medals. It was awarded without distinction of rank and members of the Royal Navy who manned weapons on defensively armed merchant ships were also entitled to recieve this medal as well as the Victory and War Medals. If they qualified for the 1914 or 1914-15 Star they could recieve one of these stars aswell. About 130,000 medals were issued to British and Empire merchant seamen.
It is estimated that 12,000 medals were awarded to Australians, mainly for service in the Merchant Navy in the Pacific area.