The Albert Medal for Lifesaving was instituted by Royal Warrant on 7 March 1866 and discontinued in 1971. The medal was named in memory of the Prince Albert and was originally awarded to recognize saving life at sea. The original medal had a blue ribbon 5/8" (16 mm) wide with 2 white stripes. A further Royal Warrant in 1867 created two classes of Albert Medal, the first in gold and bronze and the second in bronze, both enamelled in blue, and the ribbon of the first class changed to 1 3/8" (35 mm) wide with 4 white stripes.
In 1877, the medal was extended to cover saving life on land and from this point there are two medals with different inscriptions to depict which they were awarded for. The land version was enamelled in red, with a red ribbon. The titles of the medals changed in 1917, the gold "Albert Medal, first class" becoming the "Albert Medal in gold" and the bronze "Albert Medal, second class" being known as just the "Albert Medal".
The Albert Medal in gold was abolished in 1949, being replaced by the George Cross, and the second class of Albert Medal (in bronze) was only awarded posthumously. In 1971, the Albert Medal was discontinued (along with the Edward Medal) and all living recipients were invited to exchange the award for the George Cross. From the total of 64 eligible to exchange, 49 took up the option.
The medal was made of gold (although early examples are gold and bronze), which was enamelled blue. Miniatures of all four types are known to exist, with the gold awards believed to be gilt.
|Gold award (sea)||25|
|Bronze award (sea)||216|
|Gold medal (land)||45|
|Bronze award (land)||282|