I developed an interest in these medals in the early 1990s, at a time when I had limited funds for expanding my medal collection. I recall seeing them advertised in dealers’ lists without even giving the recipient’s name, perhaps just his rank and division. This was because then the research potential was very limited. The criteria for their award was merely to be serving in the Metropolitan Police on the day of the Royal event. Now that has changed and the medals have become relatively easy to research. For some recipients it is even possible to identify criminal cases that they were involved in. As the medals were awarded for service in the UK additional information can be gleaned from the various censuses.

For supporting information on the actual Royal events and the series of medals the following books are recommended:

Coronation and Royal Commemorative Medals 1887-1977Lt Col Howard N Cole
Jubilee and Coronation Medals: Police Issues 1887-1911
OMRS Miscellany of Honours No 7 (1985)
John P Farmery

The medals are engraved on the rim with the recipient’s rank, initial and surname and the 1887, 1897 and 1902 Medals also show the division he was serving in. It is difficult to understand why the 1911 Medals do not including the recipient’s division as the Receiver’s Office papers relating to the naming of the 1911 Medals show they were engraved in batches which were grouped by divisions. Perhaps that would have increased the engraving price per medal from 5d to 6d!

The inclusion of the division information is really important as this helps to identify the recipient and can be critical if the man has a more common surname like Smith or Jones. I worked out there were at least 22 PC George Smith’s who received the 1911 Coronation (Met Police) Medal.

The naming of the medals does not give the most important information which is the officer’s Warrant Number. This is akin to the Service Number of a soldier or sailor and will uniquely identify the recipient. At the end of this virtual exhibit a database is included which will help identify the medal recipient’s Warrant Number and also give some basic information about his service in the Metropolitan Police. This database is not complete as it does not cover every officer who received these medals but with over 30,000 entries a significant proportion of the medals issued can be identified.

This exhibit also covers the various information sources that are available for research. For the majority of these sources I have used two officers as examples, PC Mark Butcher who served from May 1865 to Jan 1893 and PC (later Insp) Walter Cursons who served from Mar 1906 to Aug 1933. I selected these officers as I have their Police Medals in my collection. Once the Warrant Number has been established the research sources are much easier to use. In this virtual exhibit I have focused on the sources that I use most frequently.